Subject: Re: ftp and tar annoyances
To: Todd Vierling <>
From: Jonathan Stone <jonathan@DSG.Stanford.EDU>
List: current-users
Date: 11/14/1997 05:45:48
Todd Vierling <> writes:

>On Fri, 14 Nov 1997 wrote:
>: Yes, I think it is sort of counter-intuitive that in the case of
>: "-xpzvf" order matters, while in "xpzvf" it doesn't.

>Well, it's actually very intuitive in the case of the dash:  see getopt(3);
>it's much more standard. In the case without the dash, you're working with
>_historic_ tar options.  On several tars on other platforms, this is also
>the case.

I thought we were talking about the tar we ship, not standards.

The problem is that GNU tar doesn't allow mixing of long -- options,
like unlink, and the historic usage.  And we need --unlink for
unpacking distirbution sets.  And there's no standard (short)option
for --unlink.  Hence, the problem for us traditionalists who've worked
tar commands into our motor-skill sets.

You invoked standards. What do the standards have to say about the
behavour of `tar --unlink'?  Hmmm?

Personally, I think it would be nice to fix tar so --unlink allowed
the old-style flags. Can we do that?

If not, why not add a `U` option (equivalent to --unlink) to both the
`historic' flags and the getopt(3) flag set?  Who *cares* if it's
nonstandard? You just said historic tar is nonstandard anyway, so
we're in undefined territory, just like --unlink.

Or are we headed for a standards-weenie-vs-good-engineering argument?

BTW, what does our pax do?  Wasn't there talk of subsituting that for
GNU tar sometime this year?