I want to create a tar.gz file of a directory which will be owned by a certain user and group (and not by root, who is creating the archive).

Basically, I want to combine the following to one single step:

tar -cvz -f temp-backup.tar.gz temp/
chown absonegative:absonegative temp-backup.tar.gz

Is that possible in one single pass? I want to avoid that there is a (albeit very small) period in which the file exists as root:root, as my current backup solution has problems with that (I am trying to fix that as well).

Note that I want to retain the ownership of the files inside the archive, as is already covered if you execute tar as root. I only want to alter the ownership of the result.

  • @Rinzwind they don't have a duplication problem, they just want to combine the two commands into one :P
    – Thomas Ward
    Feb 5, 2019 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


To combine into one step you can do something along the lines of

tar -cvzf - temp/ | su absonegative -c "dd of=temp-backup.tar.gz"

This assumes that the default group of the absonegative account is also absonegative

  • I did not know about dd. That's what I need here. I will try it out and let you know. Thank you Doug! Feb 5, 2019 at 17:48
  • What does su: must be run from a terminal mean in this context? I get that when doing the above. Feb 5, 2019 at 17:52
  • There are quite a few hits on this error message if you'll put a little research into it. In the meantime, you can try changing everything to the right of the | to read sudo -u absonegative dd of=temp-backup.tar.gz
    – doneal24
    Feb 5, 2019 at 18:01

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