Call for Testers: bsdcpio

Tim Kientzle kientzle at
Sat Dec 29 22:40:12 PST 2007

The current portable distribution of libarchive, available from:

includes a new "bsdcpio" front-end that I would like
to include in FreeBSD 8 as a replacement for GNU cpio.
I would like to make it available as an option (but not
the default) starting in FreeBSD 7.1.

I'd appreciate any feedback on it.  The easiest way to
install it right now is to download the distribution above
    ./configure --enable-bsdcpio
    sudo make install

Why you might actually prefer bsdcpio to GNU cpio:
  * BSD license, of course
  * Built on the same robust libarchive that bsdtar uses
  * Full automatic format and compression support
  * Implements the SUSv2 standard command-line options
  * Implements the most popular GNU cpio options (based on
    a survey of ports Makefiles)
  * Better documentation than GNU cpio
  * More comprehensive test suite than GNU cpio

I'm dubbing this "bsdcpio 0.9" until it gets more thorough
testing, and until I can resolve the one outstanding bug
that I know of.[1]

After I get some feedback, I would like to go through the
same process I used to replace GNU tar:
   * Add "bsdcpio" to 7-STABLE and 8-CURRENT.
   * Rename GNU cpio to "gcpio" starting with 7.1.
   * Add a symlink "cpio" that points to "gcpio" by default in 7-STABLE 
and points to "bsdcpio" by default in 8-CURRENT.
   * Remove GNU cpio in FreeBSD 8.0 (still available in ports, of course).

Tim Kientzle

[1] The only bug I know of right now: bsdcpio handles hard links
in newc format differently than GNU cpio.  As a result, you may
lose hardlinked files when interchanging newc-format archives
between bsdcpio and GNU cpio.  I will resolve this before I
announce bsdcpio 1.0, of course.  In any case, this definitely
does not impact the default "odc" format, so is likely not
a problem for most users.

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