Extremely new to the command line (read: no clue what I'm doing), so I have been trying to teach myself some basic commands by doing some run of the mill stuff. Currently trying to install Marathon on my computer by following the instructions on: https://github.com/Aleph-One-Marathon/alephone/wiki/Linux%20Install%20Instructions

I am trying to run,

tar xjvf AlephOne-20150619.tar.bz2

But I get the error,

bzip2: (stdin) is not a bzip2 file.
tar: Child returned status 2.
tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now.

Can anyone tell me what's going on or offer some suggestions as to what I should do? Any help would be much appreciated.

  • 1
    Read the error: "bzip2: (stdin) is not a bzip2 file." so either it is not a bzip2 file or it is corrupt. run file AlephOne-20150619.tar.bz2 and post the output
    – Panther
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 14:59
  • 1
    @bodhi.zazen, well, now I feel silly. It was an HTML document. I specified the URL wrong in my cURL command. Thanks for the help! Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


tar: Child returned status 2

Simple : You got a corrupt package. Please delete, and download a new one: http://ufpr.dl.sourceforge.net/project/marathon/Aleph%20One/2015-06-19/AlephOne-20150619.tar.bz2

About tar :

From /usr/doc/tar-1.15.1/NEWS , slackware 10.2 , tar version 1.15 - Sergey Poznyakoff, 2004-12-20

  • Compressed archives are recognised automatically, it is no longer necessary to specify -Z, -z, or -j options to read them. ( Thus, you can now run `tar tf archive.tar.gz'.)

So with an OS from year 2005 or later you can just do: tar xvf [archive] with tar.gz and tar.bz2. And around 2009, suffix .xz was also added, for lzma compressed archives.


try (no j option). -j is for filter the archive through bzip2

tar -xvf AlephOne-20150619.tar.bz2

to know file format:

file AlephOne-20150619.tar.bz2

source: tar manual

  • 3
    Please do not post guesses as answers, edit your answer with some evidence why this should work.
    – Melebius
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 13:08

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