Question in occasion of SCSI devices (the tape store)

Alex Zbyslaw xfb52 at
Thu Jun 8 16:05:45 UTC 2006

Nick wrote:

>The tape is new and empty and I don't know what way is more likely for
>me may be You can give me Your advice what way I should choose for
>copy my information daily?
(You should copy freebsd-questions at on your replies).

It depends.  If you are just writing some small subset of files from a 
filesystem (e.g. your home directory) then tar would do.

If you want to back up your machine, and the tape drive is big enough, 
then use dump.

Both have good manual pages.

Confusingly, FreeBSD has two versions of "tar" and which one is the 
default "tar" has changed recently.  For simple stuff, they will be 
compatible with each other.

bsdtar : bsd derived version of tar which in theory will know about 
filesystem flags, but if you don't use them then it won't matter.  Also 
seems to mess up if the archive you write is compressed but happens to 
be empty (might be fixed by now).

gtar or gnu tar : GNU GPL version of tar.  This is the tar you get on 
Linux, for example.  Won't know anything about specific FreeBSD 
filesystem things like flags.

Other options include cpio (a bit like tar) or specialist backup 
software like bacula which you'll find in the ports.  I can't comment 
either since I've never used them.

You're still very vague about what you want to do; with more specific 
information better advice might be possible.  E.g. "I want to backup up 
my home directory and email files every day"; or "I have four 80Gb disks 
which I need to back up to a 40Gb compressing tape drive, what should I 


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