Subject: Star-1.5 source has been released
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Star is the fastest tar archiver for UNIX
Star has many improvements compared to other tar
implementations (including gnu tar). See below for a short description
of the highlight of star.
Star is located on:
Changes since star-1.5.a05:
The first mid level step towards incremental backups was 1.5a02.
1.5a07 or 1.5a08 will have the needed features to do incremental dumps.
Later versions will include support for incremental restore.
- A 20 year old extension has been removed from format.c
This caused printf() to interpret %X as %lX. This caused noticable
problems on IA-64. It should have created problems on True64
and on 64 bit Sparc programs too but was not directly visible
due to a different stack content.
- #elif removed to avoid GCC-3.x warnings
- several new autoconf tests for 'struct mtget' members
- remote tape client code now uses a new abstract 'struct rmtget'
to avoid that 'mt status' for a remote tape drive depends on
the least common denominator from both (local and remote) systems.
- -wready option now also looks for EBUSY which allows
to use star and mt to wait for remote tape drive to become
ready again. This option should be used if you like to do a series
of backups as it may be that writing the EOF mark blocks
the tape for a while.
- -wready now waits up to 120 seconds for the tape drive to
- star manpage enhanced to reflect the new sense for -wready
- With FIFO enabled (default since 1994) star is now able to
exit() with a correct exit code != 0 if a write error occurs
on the tape. Due to a missing feature, star did exit(0) if the
fifo was active.
- star man page enhanced to mention the new diff properties that
are present when using the -dump option.
- Remote tape client code has been made a bit faster (5-10%)
- Remote tape client code now includes a new interface for an
abstract 'struct mtget'. This allows the mt program to work
more smoothly when issuing a remote status command.
Before the result was caused by the least common denominator
of both, the local and the remote system. With the enhancements,
the outout of the mt program with the 'status' opcode only depends
on the properties of the remote system where the tape is connected
- mt program now also supports -wready option
- mt program has new opcode 'nop' to allow mt to be used
as stand alone program to wait for a tape to become ready
by calling "mt -wready nop"
- mt program now supports the new abstract remote tape interface
for struct mtget.
Revision history (short)
1982 First version on UNOS (extract only)
1985 Port to UNIX (fully functional version)
1985 Added pre Posix method of handling special files/devices
1986 First experiments with fifo as external process.
1993 Remote tape access
1993 diff option
1994 Fifo with shared memory integrated into star
1994 Very long filenames and sparse files
1994 Gnutar and Ustar(Posix.1-1988) handling added
1994 Xstar format (extended Posix.1-1988) defined and introduced
1995 Ported to many platforms
1999 Support for Win32 (Cygwin)
1999 base 256 support to overcome limitation with octal fields
2001 Large file support
2001 Support for POSIX.1-2001 extended headers
2001 Support for ACLs in POSIX.1-2001 extended headers
2002 Support for extended file flags in POSIX.1-2001 extended headers
2002 Support for extended inode meta data and meta files
Virtually any! Known to work:
SunOS 4.x, Solaris (SunOS 5.x), Linux,
HP-UX, DG/UX, IRIX, AIX, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD,
OSF-1, True-64, QNX, BeOS, Apollo Domain/OS, Next-STep,
OS/2, SCO-openserver, SCO-unixware, Caldera OpenUnix,
Cygwin (Win32), Sony NewsOS, BSDi (BSD/OS), QNX,
Apple Rhapsody, MacOS X, AmigaOS, GNU Hurd
Star is the fastest known implementation of a tar archiver.
Star is able to make backups with far more than 10MB/s if the
disk and tape drive support such a speed. This is more than
double the speed that ufsdump will get.
In 1996, Ampex got 13.5 MB/s with their DLT tape drive which is a
modified professional digital video tape drive and not related
to Quantum's DLT type drives.
Ufsdump got a maximum speed of about 6MB/s with the same hardware.
Star development started 1982, the first complete implementation has
been done in 1985. I never did my backups with other tools than star.
Its main advantages over other tar implementations are:
fifo - keeps the tape streaming.
This gives you faster backups than
you can achieve with ufsdump, if the
size of the filesystem is > 1 GByte.
remote tape support - a fast RMT implementation that has no
probems to saturate a 100 Mb/s network.
accurate sparse files - star is able to reproduce holes in sparse
files accurately if the OS includes
the needed support functions. This is
currently true for Solaris-2.3 to
pattern matcher - for a convenient user interface
(see manual page for more details).
To archive/extract a subset of files.
sophisticated diff - user tailorable interface for comparing
tar archives against file trees
This is one of the most interesting parts
of the star implementation.
no namelen limitation - Pathnames up to 1024 Bytes may be archived.
(The same limitation applies to linknames)
This limit may be expanded in future
without changing the method to record
deals with all 3 times - stores/restores all 3 times of a file
(even creation time)
With POSIX.1-2001 the times are in nanosecond
Star may reset access time after doing
backup. On Solaris this can be done without
changing the ctime.
does not clobber files - more recent copies on disk will not be
clobbered from tape
This may be the main advantage over other
tar implementations. This allows
automatically repairing of corruptions
after a crash & fsck (Check for differences
after doing this with the diff option).
automatic byte swap - star automatically detects swapped archives
and transparently reads them the right way
automatic format detect - star automatically detects several common
archive formats and adopts to them.
Supported archive types are:
Old tar, gnu tar, ansi tar, star,
POSIX.1-2001 PAX, Sun's Solaris tar.
automatic compression detect - star automatically detects whether the
archive is compressed. If it has been
compressed with a compression program that
is compatible to decompression with "gzip"
or "bzip2", star automatically activates
fully ansi compatible - Star is fully ANSI/Posix 1003.1 compatible.
See README.otherbugs for a complete
description of bugs found in other tar
implementations. Star is the first tar
implementation that supports POSIX.1-2001.
support for ACLs and file flags - star supports Access Control Lists
and extended file flags (as found on FreeBSD
and Linux). Support to archive and restore
other file properties may be easily added.
support for all inode metadata - star supports to put all inode
metadata on the archive. This allows future
versions of star to perform true
Have a look at the manual page, it is included in the distribution.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Please mail bugs and suggestions to me.