Re: [hackers] [PATCH] tar: if first argument doesn't have a leading dash, prepend one

From: Michael Forney <>
Date: Mon, 18 May 2020 12:18:33 -0700

On 2020-05-18, Laslo Hunhold <> wrote:
> I have objections for this patch. I don't like the old style and it's
> horribly annoying with tools like unrar and 7z as well. I don't know
> why the compression tools all ignore years of established command line
> syntax, but I think we shouldn't chime in to this mad play.

Whether you like it or not, it's the most common usage of tar by far,
and as far as I know, the only one that was ever standardized. You are
not forced to use this syntax, the usage following the Utility Syntax
Guidelines still works after this patch.

> At least, I would print a warning if the old style syntax is seen so
> people start fixing their scripts.

On what basis are scripts written to the SUSv2 specification broken?
Because we said so? Ethan looked at a bunch of tar implementations,
and some did not support the hyphenated options. Therefore, the most
portable way to call tar is with the old-style options.

Personally, I think tar is a hopeless interface and we should
implement pax in sbase. I started on an implementation a while ago,
but it is unfinished. After this, we can remove this tar
implementation, which has some known bugs and deficiencies, and
possibly replace it with a tar compatibility interface to pax. This
tar compatibility interface should probably support the hyphen-less
option key, since its whole purpose is legacy compatibility.
Received on Mon May 18 2020 - 21:18:33 CEST

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