Subject: Re: GNU tar goodbye?
To: NetBSD Userlevel Technical Discussion List <tech-userlevel@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 10/10/2002 16:53:25
[ On Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 18:15:43 (+1000), Luke Mewburn wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: GNU tar goodbye?
> On Wed, Oct 09, 2002 at 02:42:17PM -0400, Greg A. Woods wrote:
>   | There is no need to use an integrated GNU Tar in NetBSD any longer.
> As usual, "in your opinion", which is not (as usual), the policy of
> the NetBSD project.

No, it's not an "opinion" at all.  There is no _technical_ need or
reason for NetBSD to include GNU Tar in the base distribution at all any
more.  None whatsoever.

> We can then work on incorporating the last few gtar options into the
> "pax as tar" front-end, which includes (but is not limited to) the
> following gtar options: -C

NetBSD's "pax" already partially supports 'tar -C' and has done since
1999/10/22.  The remaining fixes have been available from several
different sources for almost as long.

For example I've had a version that works sufficiently for NetBSD's
needs for over a year now.  Here's the description from "my" manual
page (the manual actually comes from OpenBSD, as do most of the changes
I used to implement this functionality in my local version):

     -C directory  This is a positional argument which sets the working direc-
                   tory for the following files.  When extracting, files will
                   be extracted into the specified directory; when creating,
                   the specified files will be matched from the directory.
                   This argument and its parameter may also appear in a file
                   list specified by -T.

>, and --fast-read.

and that's simply a red herring -- it is not critical for any use of
"tar" in NetBSD.  Those who really think they need it can find gtar in

Are there any more red herrings you forgot to mention?  :-)

>  Once that's done, we
> can enable the "pax as tar" front-end and remove gtar.

Remember some of us have done without GNU Tar for well over a year now
and haven't missed it in the slightest.  It was eliminated in OpenBSD
back in 1996, for example, and OpenBSD's needs for a "tar" command are
not much different that NetBSD's.

Note too that from what I've seen of the effort expended to date to
upgrade and re-integrate the patched new GNU Tar it would be no more
effort to simply finish getting "pax as tar" working and do the switch
immediately (and that's without including any of the past six years of
work done on maintaining the old GNU Tar).

Every time "you" (i.e. core) choose to continue supporting GNU Tar
instead of getting rid of it you're wasting valuable resources and
perhaps even making it harder to justify dropping GNU Tar.

(and these last two paragraphs are all that's "opinion" in this post!).

								Greg A. Woods

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