Years I have been using the tar command now, and still, this xkcd comic holds true :


I don't know what's worse--the fact that after 15 years of using tar I still can't keep the flags straight, or that after 15 years of technological advancement I'm still mucking with tar flags that were 15 years old when I started.

While tar is not that complex, my brain refuses to learn these commands :

Create a archive (gzip compression)

tar cvfz archive.tar.gz dir/

c – create
v – verbose
f – archive name
z – use gzip

Untar (/extract) an archive

tar xvfz archive.tar.gz

x – extract
v – verbose
f – archive name
z – use gzip

Create a archive (using lz4 compression)
lz4 is super fast and so when size is not really a problem its easy to use lz4. (for example to store short-term backups I tend to use lz4)

tar cvf - dir/ | lz4 - archive.tar.lz4

Untar (/extract) an lz4 archive

lz4 -dc --no-sparse archive.tar.lz4 | tar xvf -

d – decompression
c – cat to stdout
x – extract
v – verbose
f – file name (in this case – = stdout)

My search history includes way to many variations on “how to use tar” hence this mini cheat sheet.