sysinstall creates PaxHeader directories

Tim Kientzle kientzle at
Sat Aug 21 10:40:34 PDT 2004

Michiel Boland wrote:
> Hi. Last week I did a rebuild from scratch by doing a make release and 
> using the resulting cdrom. I notice that sysinstall creates several 
> directories called 'PaxHeader'. This is probably because cpio does not 
> understand the bsdtar format?

The current FreeBSD cpio, pax, and gtar commands do
not understand the POSIX.1-2001 extensions being
used by bsdtar.  (star, gtar 1.14, and many newer "pax"
implementations do support them, however.)  These extensions
were designed so that older programs would extract the
extended attributes as regular files.  Clearly, that design
is succeeding.  ;-)

It might be reasonable for "make release" to specify
--format=ustar to suppress those extensions, or for
sysinstall to use libarchive rather than cpio so
it can take advantage of them.  Neither option seems
likely before 5.3, of course.

Could you please send me the output of the following:
    find / | grep 'PaxHeader'
so I can see exactly what files are triggering the

If there aren't too many, the result of
    find / | grep 'PaxHeader' | tar -cvz -I - -f attributes.tgz
would also be interesting.


Tim Kientzle

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