Subject: Re: tar file format
To: John Maier <>
From: J.T. Conklin <>
List: netbsd-ports
Date: 07/26/1995 09:05:56
> I've been working on a project where tar is involved.  I need to figure out 
> the format of tar files.  Can anyone tell me or point me to information 
> about the tar files format?

The specification of the tar file format can be found in IEEE 1003.1
(POSIX.1).  Most UN*X systems also have a tar(5) manpage that describe
the format.

Briefly, it's a sequence of 512 byte records.  Each file is archived
as a header record followed by 0 or more data records.  If you don't
have access to the POSIX spec, you should be able to figure out the
format of the header record fairly easily by looking at the tar.h
header files included with pax and GNU tar in the NetBSD source tree.

Another place to get a simple tar program is John Gilmore's pdtar,
which was posted to one of the comp.sources groups long, long ago.