RE: Is "untar" an acceptable verb?

Subject: RE: Is "untar" an acceptable verb?
From: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
To: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2012 19:46:21 +0000

If you are writing to an audience that might include Spanish speakers, the dictionary tells me that among other things "untar" means "Ofrecer dinero o bienes a una persona a cambio de un favor que no es justo o legal," which, if I am not mistaken, means, "To offer money or other goods to someone in exchange for a favor that is not strictly legal."

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Peter Neilson
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 12:34 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Is "untar" an acceptable verb?

On Tue, 13 Mar 2012 15:07:10 -0400, Jeff Scattini <jeff -dot- scattini -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> I started a new contract a little while ago, and the software in
> question can be delivered by TAR (.tgz) files.
>
> Is the term "untar" acceptable the same way you can "unzip" a
> collection of files? A quick search in Google seems to suggest that it
> is acceptable, but I wanted to throw the question to a TARgeted
> (sorry) audience of techwr-lrs.

I normally use
gunzip and
tar -xf
separately, but I believe you can also use tar -zxf

There is no "untar" command.

The history of tar is in making and restoring tape archives. In the early days of Unix the only feasible backup or transport medium was magnetic tape, but tape is a very poor medium upon which to build a random-access file system. With the exception of DECtape, tape is really a sequential-access medium. Seeking a particular block of data on a tape generally required rewinding to the beginning and counting forwards.

Tar provided a means for creating a representation of a Unix file system on tape, and the default output (or input) was the tape drive. The "-f"
option in tar allows the specification of a file instead of the tape.
Since "tar" was an action on tapes, there was no concept of tarring and untarring. Instead the fundamental actions were to create (-c), to append (-r), and to extract (-x) file images on the tape.

On the other hand, if you say "untar" any Dilbert is likely to understand precisely what you mean. He may sort of laugh up his sleeve at your choice of words.

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Is "untar" an acceptable verb?: From: Jeff Scattini
Re: Is "untar" an acceptable verb?: From: Peter Neilson

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