Subject: Star-1.5 source has been released
Please have a look at the German open Source Center BerliOS at www.berlios.de
BerliOS will continue to support free hosting of cryptography projects even
when US laws change and don't allow to host cryptography projects in the USA.
Also look at sourcewell.berlios.de, the first Open Source announcement service
that itself is implemented as Open Source project.
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.a29:
The main topic for this release is to introduce a reliable multi-volume mode.
The reliability comes from new volume header tags that allow to verify
the correct volume in read back mode.
star tsize=xxx -c .... does multi-volume without splitting files across
volumes. The resultant archives are independant
and cannot be read back by a single star run.
This feature is in star since the last 10 years.
star -multivol does multi volume triggered by EOT condidions.
Files may be split across volumes. The resultant
archives should be read back by a single star run.
This is new
star -multivol tsize=xxx -c ... does multi volume with a limited medium size.
Files may be split across volumes. The resultant
archives should be read back by a single star run.
This is new
The reliable multi volume mode only works if the tape record size (usually 10 kB)
is not smaller than the volume header; so reading the first tape record allows
to verify a volume.
A future star version will add Multi volume continuation headers that allow to
start a multi volume extract past volume #1. This may be needed if a tape has
become unreadable and allows to continue extraction past the bad medium.
To do this with the current star release you would need to call "star -i ..."
to skip over "bad" archive headers as the archive (if starting with the end of a
split file) does yet contain a pointer the the next valid archive header.
The fact that the multi volume continuation headers have not yet been implemented
is not considered to be a real problem as GNU tar for the last 10 years only has
a broken implementation of multi volume continuation headers. GNU tar rejects
to accept 1-5% of the continuation volumes due to a conceptional bug.
The current star release however, is able to read back those archives as star
does not try to verify GNU tar multi volume continuation headers but only skips
- Better syntax checks for POSIX.1-2001 extended headers.
Now that there is a second POSIX.1-2001 aware tar implementation
(from AT&T research), we need to take more care when reading POSIX.1-2001
archives as other worse implementations may occur in the future.
- The decimal number output routine for POSIX.1-2001 headers is now able to
convert negative numbers.
- A new routine for outputting unsigned decimal numbers in POSIX.1-2001 headers
has been introduced.
- Star archive format man page updated: SCHILY.acl.* and SCHILY.xattr.*
documented. Added a note that there is not yet a documentation for
- Change tape routine enhanced so that it is able to change to the same tape
drive in case a wrong media has been inserted when trying to read back multi
- Some new precautions have been taken to put more variables into the shared
memory. This is needed so that some additional information that is fetched
after the fifo did fork may be used from the other process.
- Verify volume headers after a media change in multi volume mode.
- fixed three bugs in the routine that reads /etc/default/*tar to mak to
-0 .. -7 abstract archive names.
- star did not read /etc/default/star at all
- tsize & block size entries have been used with wrong multipliers
- Man page enhanced for the new multi volume properties:
star -c tsize=xxx creates multi volume archives that may be read back each
separately. Files are not split across volumes.
star -c -multivol or star -c tsize=xxx -multivol splits files across volumes
and the resultant media must be read back in one star run.
- tsize is now silently rounded down to a multiple of the tape block size.
- Tape change in write mode now writes a POSIX.1-2001 based volume header that
is used for media verification.
- Fixed a bug in the old multi volume mode (where files are not split across
volumes) that caused extended headers to be written to the old volume
and the related file to be written to the new volume.
- The POSIX.1-2001 based dump dir values have been slightly modified:
Old star versions did only contain a single null byte at the end of the record.
New star versions have two null bytes at the end of the record and the
second null byte is counted in the length value. Old archives may be read back
with new star versions. The new method is more "correct" as the second null
byte is a "end of list" null byte that has been created by fetchdir().
The single null byte in old archives was the null byte for the last string and
not the "list of strings" terminator.
For more information about CPIO support read README.pax
NOTE: 7500 new lines have been added to star between release 1.5a21 and 1.5a30. Please
test and report if you find any problems.
Check whether the UID/GID in the archive will fit into uid_t/gid_t and map
the owner/group to nobody if thee are problems.
This does not seem to make sense for backup/restore operations on file servers:
Files for which the owner/group name could not be resolved should be mapped
to the UID/GID values for "nobody" found in /etc/passwd or /etc/group.
If these names could not be resolved, then the old SunOS-4.x NFS
values 65534 are used.
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
2003 Error control added to allow to selectively ignore error contitions
2003 ED like pattern based file name substitution with -s '/from/to/[gp]'
2003 Efficient built in -copy mode
2003 Basic support for incremental dumps (incremental restore not yet ready)
2003 CPIO archive support
2003 New command 'spax' for POSIX.1 command line compatibility.
2003 New command 'scpio' for SUSv2 command line compatibility.
2003 New command 'suntar' for Solaris command line compatibility.
2003 New command 'gnutar' for GNU tar command line compatibility.
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
sophisticated error control - allows to tell star which error types
should be ignored for wich file name pattern.
This allows to write backup scripts that give
no error messages for all problems that are
tolerable (e.g. growing log files).
ED like filename substitution - star supports automated pattern rule based
file name substitution as documented for 'pax'.
A fast built in -copy mode - allows to make fast and accurate copies and
directory tree comparisons.
Have a look at the manual page, it is included in the distribution.
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please mail bugs and suggestions to me.