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tar has a total of eight operating modes which
allow you to perform a variety of tasks. You are required to choose
one operating mode each time you employ the
tar program by
specifying one, and only one operation as an argument to the
tar command (the corresponding options may be found
at The Three Most Frequently Used Operations and The Five Advanced
tar Operations). Depending on
circumstances, you may also wish to customize how the chosen operating
mode behaves. For example, you may wish to change the way the output
looks, or the format of the files that you wish to archive may require
you to do something special in order to make the archive look right.
You can customize and control
tar's performance by running
tar with one or more options (such as `--verbose'
(`-v'), which we used in the tutorial). As we said in the
tutorial, options are arguments to
tar which are (as
their name suggests) optional. Depending on the operating mode, you
may specify one or more options. Different options will have different
effects, but in general they all change details of the operation, such
as archive format, archive name, or level of user interaction. Some
options make sense with all operating modes, while others are
meaningful only with particular modes. You will likely use some
options frequently, while you will only use others infrequently, or
not at all. (A full list of options is available in see section All
TAR_OPTIONS environment variable specifies default options to
be placed in front of any explicit options. For example, if
TAR_OPTIONS is `-v --unlink-first',
tar behaves as
if the two options `-v' and `--unlink-first' had been
specified before any explicit options. Option specifications are
separated by whitespace. A backslash escapes the next character, so it
can be used to specify an option containing whitespace or a backslash.
tar options are case sensitive. For example, the
options `-T' and `-t' are different; the first requires an
argument for stating the name of a file providing a list of names,
while the second does not require an argument and is another way to
write `--list' (`-t').
In addition to the eight operations, there are many options to
tar, and three different styles for writing both: long (mnemonic)
form, short form, and old style. These styles are discussed below.
Both the options and the operations can be written in any of these three
See menu at end of this node. need to think of an actual outline for this chapter; probably do that after stuff from chapter 4 is incorporated.
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