Star vs. Gtar WAS: Re: BitKeeper licence critic

Joerg Schilling schilling at
Mon Mar 18 14:19:03 UTC 2002

>From: John Tapsell <tapselj0 at>
>  I'm working on replacements for all the gnu utilities, so I'd be grateful 
>if you fill in a few details, and give me some recomondations...

>> >AFAIK GNU tar makes POSIX compliant tars if you use the --posix
>> >option. I've done enough stuff with GNU tar, but GNU/Linux and
>> >GNU/Hurd are the only operating systems I use for real work.
>> Many GNU users have this wrong assumption, this is why I am more and more
>> angry with the people who wrote documentation tha makes users believe
>> untrue things about the GNU programs...

>  What would you say is wrong exactly?  Excuse me for my ignorance...
>And why is it not fully POSIX compliant?

First some pointers: for the latest star release for some test archives
						 and scripts.

Then please read the file STARvsGNUTAR from the latest star distribution.

-	GNUtar has some options that violate the POSIX tar command line definitions.

-	GNUtar is not even compatible to POSIX 1990 if it comes to
	medium sizefilenames ( > 100 and <= 255)

-	GNUtar violates the basic tar format if it archives sparse files 	
	with more tan 4 holes.

Star is POSIX 2001 compliant and implements extended tar headers and inside
those extended headers it even supports ACLs (access control lists)
and file flags.

>  The trouble is that we are 'stuck' with backwards compatibility, and 
>forwards compatibility.  If we add features to programs, we then are no 
>longer compatible with everyone else (everyone else being other NIX's, and 
>people who don't use the latest-and-greatest)

Well GNUtar although younger than star is definitely not backward compatible
to star.

What are you interested in?

>  This is good in some peoples books - after all everyone seems to be against 
>'bloat'.  But for example I patched tar to auto detect compression - but it 
>was of course a hated feature... ;)

This is an old feature of star.

 EMail:joerg at (home) Jörg Schilling D-13353 Berlin
       js at		(uni)  If you don't have iso-8859-1
       schilling at		(work) chars I am J"org Schilling
 FOKUS at CeBIT Hall 11, A14 - BerliOS at CeBIT Hall 11 D11 (Future Market)
 Meet me at CeBIT in Hall 11 D11 on the BerliOS booth -

More information about the Discussion mailing list