tar is a widely used command-line-based utility for combining a bunch of files and/or directories into one archive file, commonly known as a tarball for backup or distribution purposes. The tar command is used to create, maintain, modify, or extract tar archives.
[ You might also like: 5 Best Command Line Archive Tools for Linux ]
Note that tar does not compress archive files by default, but, it can compress the resulting archive using (or filter it through) well-known data compression programs such as gzip, bzip2, or xz if you supply the
Installing tar in CentOS, RHEL, and Fedora
The tar package comes pre-installed in most if not all RHEL-based distributions by default. But if it is not installed on your system, run the following command to install it.
# yum install tar OR # dnf install tar
If you are on another Linux distribution, you can install it as shown.
$ sudo apt install tar [On Debian, Ubuntu and Mint] $ sudo emerge -a app-arch/tar [On Gentoo Linux] $ sudo apk add tar [On Alpine Linux] $ sudo pacman -S tar [On Arch Linux] $ sudo zypper install tar [On OpenSUSE]
Once you have tar installed on your system, you can use it as follows. This example shows how to create an uncompressed archive file of a directory called
test_app within the working directory.
# tar -cvf test_app.tar test_app/
In the above command, the tar flags used are
-c which creates a new
.tar archive file,
-v enables verbose mode to show the
.tar file creation progress, and
-f which specifies the file name type of the archive file (
test_app.tar in this case).
To compress the resulting archive file using gzip or bzip2, supply the
-j flag as follows. Note that a compressed tarball can also end with the
# tar -cvzf test_app.tar.gz test_app/ OR # tar -cvzf test_app.tgz test_app/ OR # tar -cvjf test_app.tar.bz2 test_app/
To list the contents of a tarball (archived file), use the
-t flag as follows.
# tar -ztf test_app.tar.gz OR # tar -ztvf test_app.tar.gz #shows more details
To extract (or untar) an archive file, use the
-x switch as shown.
# tar -xvf test_app.tar OR # tar -xvf test_app.tar.gz
For more usage examples, see our following articles:
- 21 Tar Command Examples in Linux
- How to Split Large ‘tar’ Archive into Multiple Files of Certain Size
- How to Compress Files Faster with Pigz Tool in Linux
- How to Compress and Decompress a .bz2 File in Linux
- 10 7zip (File Archive) Command Examples in Linux
That’s all for now! In this article, we have shown how to install tar in CentOS, RHEL & Fedora and also showed some basic tar usage commands. If you have any queries, share them with us via the feedback form below.