With this question am asking "old rabbits" of Ubuntu resp. of Debian.

Am puzzled by the "newer" use of command tar - I know that 10 years ago it was possible to tar a file to 1/3 of size or even less ! simply by this :

tar -zcf filename.tgz filename.extension .

( important is point at end after space ! - this was compressing very strong.)

Now point has no effect any more - instead it has effect of compressing all given files in the current directory together to one bundle ?

Today I only can use tar like this :

tar -zcf filename.tgz filename.extension

( without space and without point ) - this way the file is only compressed slightly to 2/3 of size ?!

Am I doing something wrong - or has the old feature with tar-command been forgotten about this feature with point after space ?!

  • 1
    Can you provide some evidence this was true ? That would have been a serious bug not to process . to mean the current directory. – jlliagre Aug 2 '13 at 1:17
  • @jlliagre - the point operator had around 2000 to 2002 at least 3 different options as operator - not only to mean the current directory - it makes invisible and some more ... have to dig some old CD to find the code of point operator. In Linux handbook of 1995 was an explanation about point for different purposes. Need some time to dig here ... – dschinn1001 Aug 2 '13 at 1:57
  • I found no reference about this operator in GNU tar changelog from 1990 to 2004. cvs.savannah.gnu.org/viewvc/tar/tar/… – jlliagre Aug 2 '13 at 5:56
  • @jlliagre - please give me some time until Wednesday. – dschinn1001 Aug 2 '13 at 8:30
  • While you cannot give tar an option for gzip compression level, you can set an environment variable GZIP=-9 or similar to force tar and friends to use higher than default (-6) compression. If this was set in your environment this would explain (some) difference in output size. – chronitis Aug 2 '13 at 11:37
  1. Such a syntax has never been documented with GNU tar.

  2. It would have break compatibility with the established de facto tar standard.

Given both of these points, my best guess is either you are confusing this with something else or you were using a customized tar version / wrapper.

  • you are right. Have probably to clean my eyes. – dschinn1001 Aug 5 '13 at 22:21

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