There are three styles for writing operations and options to the command
line invoking tar. The different styles were developed at
different times during the history of tar. These styles will be
presented below, from the most recent to the oldest.
Some options must take an argument. (For example, --file
(-f)) takes the name of an archive file as an argument. If
you do not supply an archive file name, tar will use a
default, but this can be confusing; thus, we recommend that you always
supply a specific archive file name.) Where you place the
arguments generally depends on which style of options you choose. We
will detail specific information relevant to each option style in the
sections on the different option styles, below. The differences are
subtle, yet can often be very important; incorrect option placement
can cause you to overwrite a number of important files. We urge you
to note these differences, and only use the option style(s) which
makes the most sense to you until you feel comfortable with the others.
Some options may take an argument (currently, there are
two such options: --backup and --occurrence). Such
options may have at most long and short forms, they do not have old style
equivalent. The rules for specifying an argument for such options
are stricter than those for specifying mandatory arguments. Please,
pay special attention to them.