<file format> ("Tape ARchive", following ar) Unix's general purpose archive utility and the file format it uses. Tar was originally intended for use with magnetic tape but, though it has several command line options related to tape, it is now used more often for packaging files together on other media, e.g. for distribution via the Internet.
The resulting archive, a "tar file" (humourously, "tarball") is often compressed, using gzip or some other form of compression (see tar and feather).
There is a GNU version of tar called gnutar with several improvements over the standard versions.
Filename extension: .tar
MIME type: unregistered, but commonly application/x-tar
Unix manual page: tar(1).
Compare shar, zip.
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Nearby terms: tape head « Tape Operating System « TAPI « tar » tar and feather » tarball » targa