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tar will recursively explore all directories (either
those given on the command line or through the ‘--files-from’
option) for the various files they contain. However, you may not always
tar to act this way.
The ‘--no-recursion’ option inhibits
tar's recursive descent
into specified directories. If you specify ‘--no-recursion’, you can
find (see (find)Top section `find' in GNU Find Manual)
utility for hunting through levels of directories to
construct a list of file names which you could then pass to
find allows you to be more selective when choosing which files to
archive; see Reading Names from a File, for more information on using
tar from recursively descending directories.
tar to recursively descend directories.
This is the default.
When you use ‘--no-recursion’, GNU
directory entries themselves, but does not descend on them
recursively. Many people use
find for locating files they
want to back up, and since
tar usually recursively
descends on directories, they have to use the ‘-not -type d’
test in their
find invocation (see Type: (find)Type section `Type test' in Finding Files), as they usually do not want all the files in a
directory. They then use the ‘--files-from’ option to archive
the files located via
The problem when restoring files archived in this manner is that the
directories themselves are not in the archive; so the
‘-p’) option does not affect them—while users might really
like it to. Specifying ‘--no-recursion’ is a way to tell
tar to grab only the directory entries given to it, adding
no new files on its own. To summarize, if you use
create a list of files to be stored in an archive, use it as follows:
$ find dir tests | \ tar -cf archive -T - --no-recursion
The ‘--no-recursion’ option also applies when extracting: it
tar to extract only the matched directory entries, not
the files under those directories.
The ‘--no-recursion’ option also affects how globbing patterns are interpreted (see section Controlling Pattern-Matching).
The ‘--no-recursion’ and ‘--recursion’ options apply to later options and operands, and can be overridden by later occurrences of ‘--no-recursion’ and ‘--recursion’. For example:
$ tar -cf jams.tar --no-recursion grape --recursion grape/concord
creates an archive with one entry for ‘grape’, and the recursive contents of ‘grape/concord’, but no entries under ‘grape’ other than ‘grape/concord’.
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