Creating a tar archive on a particular system that is meant to be
useful later on many other machines and with other versions of tar
is more challenging than you might think. tar archive formats
have been evolving since the first versions of Unix. Many such formats
are around, and are not always compatible with each other. This section
discusses a few problems, and gives some advice about making tar
archives more portable.
One golden rule is simplicity. For example, limit your tar
archives to contain only regular files and directories, avoiding
other kind of special files. Do not attempt to save sparse files or
contiguous files as such. Let's discuss a few more problems, in turn.