pax/ustar not properly handling long pathnames

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at
Thu Dec 29 19:15:41 UTC 2005

On Thu, 2005-12-29 at 12:54, Matt Morgan wrote:

> Museums and Libraries are as pedantic about standards as anyone.
> They're trying to think on scales of hundreds of years. In one hundred
> years, when we no longer have pax, star, or gnutar, it'll be easier to
> re-engineer starting from documented standards than to reverse
> engineer a non-standard.

If you have a C compiler and the gnutar source, you don't have
to reverse-engineer anything to make a program that uses it's
format.  And by having the actual source you get the exact
specification, not what someone mistakenly thought it was
when they read the document a hundred years ago.

> I realize that in reality it's not this simple and that
> POSIX-compliance is not some be-all, end-all. Your point is really
> important--but ideally I should be able to get both
> standards-compliance and popularity, so I can work with the present
> and the future. Is there some archive format that gives me both?

I'd probably write ISO9660 CD's but you'll lose any OS-specific
attributes in the process.  If you expect it to be read by
some currently-unknown OS, I guess that wouldn't matter and
might be a good thing.  The more important issue is the format
of the data files.  Is this something that you'd expect some
random computer to be able to use?

  Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at

More information about the fedora-list mailing list