2.1 Assumptions this Tutorial Makes
This chapter is paced to allow beginners to learn about
slowly. At the same time, we will try to cover all the basic aspects of
these three operations. In order to accomplish both of these tasks, we
have made certain assumptions about your knowledge before reading this
manual, and the hardware you will be using:
Before you start to work through this tutorial, you should understand
what the terms “archive” and “archive member” mean
(see section Some Definitions). In addition, you should understand something
about how Unix-type operating systems work, and you should know how to
use some basic utilities. For example, you should know how to create,
list, copy, rename, edit, and delete files and directories; how to
change between directories; and how to figure out where you are in the
file system. You should have some basic understanding of directory
structure and how files are named according to which directory they are
in. You should understand concepts such as standard output and standard
input, what various definitions of the term ‘argument’ mean, and the
differences between relative and absolute file names.
This manual assumes that you are working from your own home directory
(unless we state otherwise). In this tutorial, you will create a
directory to practice
tar commands in. When we show file names,
we will assume that those names are relative to your home directory.
For example, my home directory is ‘/home/fsf/melissa’. All of
my examples are in a subdirectory of the directory named by that file
name; the subdirectory is called ‘practice’.
In general, we show examples of archives which exist on (or can be
written to, or worked with from) a directory on a hard disk. In most
cases, you could write those archives to, or work with them on any other
device, such as a tape drive. However, some of the later examples in
the tutorial and next chapter will not work on tape drives.
Additionally, working with tapes is much more complicated than working
with hard disks. For these reasons, the tutorial does not cover working
with tape drives. See section Tapes and Other Archive Media, for complete information on using
tar archives with tape drives.
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