Tarring /

Mon Jul 18 15:21:01 EDT 2005

Tar Pitfall

It took hours to figure out what was going on here.

I was attempting to make a tarball of an entire Linux server for backup
purposes.  That is, I wanted to copy EVERYTHING but /proc /mnt /tmp to a
tarball.  I was attempting to do this with:

tar -cf mytarball.tar --anchored -X /$HOME/X-files /

Tar seemed to run OK, but entire test restores would end with a message
like:

tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors

If I specified the root directories it would run OK.  Only extracting
the entire archive would fail.

I finally had the sense to do an extract with 

tar -xvvf mytarball.tar &>tar.log.  

The log file started with these lines:

drwxr-xr-x root/root         0 2005-06-21 18:08:17
tar: : Cannot mkdir: No such file or directory

My guess is that tar is stripping the leading / off of /, leaving a
directory with no name.  My solution is to specify the TLD's when I tar
rather than using /.

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