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commit 02bfc818596e53ffa60716021f9ba728ca51d0be
parent 729ddd3b576fa0a6f6d64f346bdf78aea6dd9f09
Author: d-s <ds@voyager.local>
Date:   Wed, 12 Apr 2023 17:19:48 +0200

feat: article for 2023-04-12

Acontent/2023/tar-is-for-tape-drive.md | 30++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 30 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)

diff --git a/content/2023/tar-is-for-tape-drive.md b/content/2023/tar-is-for-tape-drive.md @@ -0,0 +1,30 @@ +--- +title: "Tar Is for Tape Drive" +category: "software" +abstract: Exploring IT history to understand current quirks +date: 2023-04-12T17:17:07+02:00 +year: 2023 +draft: false +tags: +- tar +- tarball +- Unix +- POSIX +- computer-history +--- +One of the things I never knew I wanted to know: + +> tar creates and manipulates streaming archive files. +> (source: man tar(1)) + +Tarball is a file standing for the drive: + +> A tar archive consists of a series of file objects, hence the popular term tarball, referencing how a tarball collects objects of all kinds that stick to its surface. +> (source: [Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarball_(computing))) + +This explains two things I never got about tar: +- It's slow. The tarball represents a physical tape, so to get a file from it, tar must virtually forward it to the needed position. +- It's not compressed, as otherwise, the computer would need to read the entire tape into memory, extract it and work on that. + +Tar is one of the things where computer archeology makes things clearer. Nowadays, we often forget that computers have a history and a lot of things we take for granted need to be invented. Many quirks can be understood if we explore the past a bit. +