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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Harrow, UK

    Why are there two forms of tar?

    I've noticed that package managers tend to use bsdtar to unpack their loads. Why is this? What's wrong with good old GNU tar?
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

  2. #2
    Blackfooted Penguin daark.child's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    West Yorks
    I'm not sure why a Linux distro would choose bsdtar over gnu tar, but in the UNIX world there tends to be several versions of the same tool. In recent times the BSD guys have been trying to replace most of the GNU tools because of the move to GPLv3 licence, which I think (I am not 100% certain) is not always compatible with BSD licenses (BSD licences are more permissive in what you can do with the source code than GPL licences).

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Nottingham, England
    Apart from the licensing issues mentioned by daark.child, I believe there are performance issues that are addressed by the BSD version, and my understanding was that there were a few posix-compliance issues a while back with gnu-tar, although they may have been resolved now.
    Linux user #126863 - see

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