Dan Nelson wrote:

> > The latest version on ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/tar/ is 1.13.  The ones on
> > ftp://alpha.gnu.org/gnu/tar/ (and everything else on that site) are
> > considered unstable.  I suppose it's too late to suggest tar 1.13 as a
> > starting point, but maybe this could be kept in mind when importing other
> > GNU products.

The point I was trying to make is perhaps better conveyed by
ftp://alpha.gnu.org/README .

> Tar 1.13 is 3 years old, and has many bugs (incremental backups are
> unusable, for example).

I don't know why the GNU tar programmers decide that certain versions are
stable and others are unstable.  I do know that the former are found on
ftp.gnu.org, and the latter on alpha.gnu.org.  Now you know too, in case
you didn't already. :-)

I just discovered Jorg Schilling's "star"
.  He says that it supports POSIX.1-2001, which I assume dates from last
year.  It's available in the ports collection and it's under the GNU GPL.

The documentation for GNU tar 1.13.25 says that it complies with POSIX
1003.1b, which was drafted in 1987 and completed in 1990.  The GNU tar in
FreeBSD-STABLE is from 1993 and it still works most of the time!

According to Mr. Schilling's testing, GNU tar 1.13.25 has a bug:
ftp://ftp.fokus.gmd.de/pub/unix/star/testscripts/README.gtarfail . I guess
it qualifies as a "non-trivial program". :-)

On my friend's BSD/OS system, there is no tar--or rather, it's just a hard
link to pax:

        % ls -li `which tar` `which pax`
        1819 -r-xr-xr-x  2 bin  bin  58288 Jun 12  1998 /bin/pax
        1819 -r-xr-xr-x  2 bin  bin  58288 Jun 12  1998 /bin/tar

Their tar/pax hybrid must check its argv[0].  Isn't that evil?
Trevor Johnson

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