Extracting individual Files via tar

Rob listone at deathbeforedecaf.net
Thu Nov 6 14:23:24 PST 2003

You should always use the f option to specify the archive - for example

    tar -tzf archive.tgz

to list or

    tar -xzf archive.tgz

to extract. In your example below, you didn't specify an archive so it
defaulted to the device /dev/sa0, which it couldn't open.

Any extra arguments are treated as archive members - eg

    tar -xzf archive.tgz files/to/extract

In your example below, it was trying to find 2 files in a non-existent

----- Original Message -----
From: "Martin McCormick" <martin at dc.cis.okstate.edu>
Subject: Extracting individual Files via tar

> The command
> tar ztf  /usr/local/src/ports.tar.gz
> produces a table of contents just like the man page says it should.
> The man page also says that individual files can be recovered or
> listed but I haven't gotten that to work at all. if I try:
> $ tar zt ports/print/pstotext/ /usr/local/src/ports.tar.gz
> tar (child): /dev/sa0: Cannot open: Permission denied
> tar (child): Error is not recoverable: exiting now
> gzip: stdin: unexpected end of file
> tar: Child returned status 2
> tar: ports/print/pstotext: Not found in archive
> tar: /usr/local/src/ports.tar.gz: Not found in archive
> tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors
> In the successful test, tar obviously knew which specification
> was the archive and was able to uncompress it with the z flag.  The
> file specification I am attempting to recover from the archive throws
> tar completely off.  I looked in the handbook and all the examples I
> found were the more usual procedure of unpacking whole file systems
> as in
> tar zxf somedir/archive.tar.gz
> I'm not having trouble with that use of tar.
> Thank you.
> Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK
> OSU Information Technology Division Network Operations Group
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