I regret what I wrote below. It turns out that tar has gotten easier over the years, it now supports the origional unix style arguments and some easier to understand "GNU" style arguments. All I had to do to extract my tar file was:
tar --extract --file=$filename
I need to be less grumpy. Tarball creation is easier now too:
tar --create --file=$newtarball --$options $files
compression options; pick one: --[bzip2,xz,lzip,lzma,lzop,gzip,compress,zstd]
Handling of file attributes - (there are a lot of confusing options here, I'm only listing a few that I can see might be useful to me:)
--sort=[none,name,inode] (inode is a performance tweak)
(there are some archaic (?) formats supported, the important thing to know is that tar itself has two formats tar<=1.12.x and tar=>1.13.x - hopefully I never have to care about this; but it seems like something that could bite the llamas ass.)
Device blocking options - (these are options that you don't need until you really need then, and then you find out that good-ol-tar is [hypothetically] the only archive format that can handle your input...)
Device selection and switching - (these options seem to have everything to do with tape backups. I have three Tandberg tape libraries. I want to learn how to use amanda. I don't want to use tar to make multi-volume tape backups. But it's good to know I could; but I'd never be able to find anything without some sort of very complicated index.)
Extended File Attributes - ACL's, SELinux, and xattrs options.
I still think we need a revolution in open source usability. But; we're not going to be there by spreading grumpiness. - Perhaps I should limit the number of blog posts I write at 2:45AM. :-)
I've come to dread every tar ball download. Because I know I'm going to sit there for at least 10 minutes desperately scrolling through the contents of 'man tar' trying to figure our how to extract the files. I still remember how to use pkzip and pkunzip, version 2.04g - their help files were SOOOOO easy to read and understand. Why does tar have to be so horrible? I can't even imagine how much more difficult it would be if I wasn't a native english speaker. -- Although I suspect the man pages are probably smart enough to display help text in your language of choice; if such help exists. Manual page tar(1) is 965 lines long. At ~60 lines per page that's 16 pages. There are about 4 million websites out there that have been written to answer the question "how to untar"
Open source software is CONSTANTLY shooting itself in the foot. Because the philosophy is so attractive, so GOOD, uncountable human hours have been spent developing amazing open source tools, which any sane person would/should avoid like the plague, because they are just too complicated to use.
We need a revolution in open source, a usability revolution.
[Snort] check this out... "failed-read
Suppresses warnings about unreadable files or directories. This keyword applies only if used together with the --ignore-failed-read option."
So to suppress an unreadable file warning you have to use the --ignore-failed-read option and the --failed-read option? I'm so confused and flabbergasted.... The madness just doesn't end! These 16 pages are the BRIEF version! Apparently I'm supposed to read the 'info' pages for the full version.