Re: tar -I incompatibility
On Mon, Jan 08, 2001 at 12:12:59AM +1100, Sam Couter wrote:
> Goswin Brederlow <email@example.com> wrote:
> > Just as linux-centric as the other way is solaris-centric.
> Not true. There's the way GNU tar works, then there's the way every other
> tar on the planet works (at least with respect to the -I option). GNU tar is
> (used to be) the odd one out. Now you're saying that not behaving like the
> odd man out is being Solaris-centric? I don't think so.
I have a lot of non-linux systems. Most of them don't have a -I operator
on tar--that's why this is such a ludicrous argument. (Specifically, I
checked Solaris, IRIX, AIX, HP/UX, and UNICOS. Only Solaris has a -I
with the meaning now used in gnu tar. So yes, IME solaris is the odd man
out and the change is solaris-centric.) Of the other flags I mentioned
in a previous email (-Fiklop), *several* are found with different
meanings on many tar implementations, yet no one seems interested in
changing them. If someone uses multiple tar implementations he needs to
read the man page; there is no other useful compatibility assumption.
Changing gnu tar to be compatible with one of many diverse proprietary
implementations, for only one of several incompatible flags, is a
rationalization rather than a justification.
> > <sarcasm>
> > I like systems that don't change on a day to day basis. I don't want
> > "ls *" to do "rm *" tomorrow just because some other unix does it and
> > the author feels like it.
> > </sarcasm>
> I'm sure this has been said before, but:
> Don't run unstable if you don't like stuff changing or breaking.
Bzzt. The stable version of tar is basically unusable because it
contains several known bugs and is unmaintained. Upstream maintainer
recommended following the so-called unstable tree to address those known
> Unstable breaks stuff from time to time. It changes stuff more often than
> If options or behaviour changes from one update to the next, stiff bikkies.
> Deal with it in your own quiet little way.
> If that behaviour or option was non-standard to begin with, then think
> yourself lucky that you had it working as long as you did.
Most of the options in gtar are non-standard. Are you saying that users
should rely on none of them?
> Ask someone who's actually used a non-Linux UNIX or UNIX-like system to
> explain it to you sometime.
See above, and lose the condescension. People who use multiple platforms
should know better than to assume behavior of tar flags across
I don't know whether any amount of discussion will convince the upstream
tar maintainers to undo this, but I certainly hope that the debian
version at least prevents serious silent breakage by either reverting
the change to -I and printing a message that the option is deprecated or
removing the -I flag entirely.