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Re: support for translators in tar

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: support for translators in tar
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 22:51:56 -0700 (PDT)

> From: Marcus Brinkmann <Marcus.Brinkmann@ruhr-uni-bochum.de>
> Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2001 22:57:47 +0200

> We have GNU extensions in the C library to detect them, though (but
> we need _GNU_SOURCE).

No problem; tar turns on _GNU_SOURCE already.

> The default for symlinks is to store them, dereferencing is possible with -h
> (--dereference).  For translators, I think the opposite should be true. 
> Users expect translators to be transparent to normal applications.

What does 'ls -l' do?  Users will probably want 'tar' to do something similar.

What 'ls' switch is used to see a translator rather than to invoke it?
What does the 'ls' output look like in that case?

This is all relevant to tar, since 'tar -t' output resembles 'ls' output.

> I write all this to make sure the above is what everybody wants, and in the
> hope to get some pointers into the relevant parts of the tar code.

Please look at the latest experimental release, which you can find at

> The reason I am not just diving into the source is that the details
> of tar are quite complicated (format versioning etc), and I am sure
> that I would spent a lot of time just figuring out where to put the
> code.

The tar code, to put it politely, is a mess that nobody has had time
to clean up.  Feel free to dive in, but bring a wetsuit....

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