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Re: tar -I incompatibility

Michael Stone <mstone@debian.org> wrote:
> 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.

I agree, but it's at least as good (maybe better) a reason as the reason for
adding -I in the first place. Yet people complain about it. Loudly and

> 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
> bugs.

I've been corrected several times on this comment. GNU tar is unstable
because that's what the author says to use, and stable is broken and
unmaintained. Similarly, the "unstable" version of GNU tar is in Debian
stable, and will break systems when people upgrade to the next stable.

I take the comment back, as I was in error.

> Most of the options in gtar are non-standard. Are you saying that users
> should rely on none of them?

Pretty much. It's always useful to know exactly which options you're using
are not going to work on many other systems, and to not form habits that
involve the use of those options.

The same argument is usually applied to programming: Don't use
platform-specific features unless you need to.

> See above, and lose the condescension. People who use multiple platforms
> should know better than to assume behavior of tar flags across
> implementations.

Sorry about the condescending tone. What I meant to get across is that
people who regularly use other systems won't be in the habit of using -I or
-z for that matter, and aren't likely to miss it.

You can probably assume that -c, -x, -f and -v behave the same across
implementations (modern implementations, anyway). That's about all, and
isn't that enough for everything you'd every want to do with tar?
Sam Couter          |   Internet Engineer   |   http://www.topic.com.au/
sam@topic.com.au    |   tSA Consulting      |
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