To change the working directory in the middle of a list of file names,
either on the command line or in a file specified using
--files-from (-T), use --directory (-C).
This will change the working directory to the specified directory
after that point in the list.
Changes the working directory in the middle of a command line.
$ tar -c -f jams.tar grape prune -C food cherry
will place the files grape and prune from the current
directory into the archive jams.tar, followed by the file
cherry from the directory food. This option is especially
useful when you have several widely separated files that you want to
store in the same archive.
Note that the file cherry is recorded in the archive under the
precise name cherry, notfood/cherry. Thus, the
archive will contain three files that all appear to have come from the
same directory; if the archive is extracted with plain ‘tar
--extract’, all three files will be written in the current directory.
Contrast this with the command,
$ tar -c -f jams.tar grape prune -C food red/cherry
which records the third file in the archive under the name
red/cherry so that, if the archive is extracted using
‘tar --extract’, the third file will be written in a subdirectory
You can use the --directory option to make the archive
independent of the original name of the directory holding the files.
The following command places the files /etc/passwd,
/etc/hosts, and /lib/libc.a into the archive
However, the names of the archive members will be exactly what they were
on the command line: passwd, hosts, and libc.a.
They will not appear to be related by file name to the original
directories where those files were located.
Note that --directory options are interpreted consecutively. If
--directory specifies a relative file name, it is interpreted
relative to the then current directory, which might not be the same as
the original current working directory of tar, due to a previous
When using --files-from (see files), you can put various
tar options (including -C) in the file list. Notice,
however, that in this case the option and its argument may not be
separated by whitespace. If you use short option, its argument must
either follow the option letter immediately, without any intervening
whitespace, or occupy the next line. Otherwise, if you use long
option, separate its argument by an equal sign.
For instance, the file list for the above example will be:
To use it, you would invoke tar as follows:
$ tar -c -f foo.tar --files-from list
Notice also that you can only use the short option variant in the file
list, i.e., always use -C, not --directory.
The interpretation of --directory is disabled by
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