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I am new to Mac command prompt stuff. How do you create a gzip of a folder in Mac OS X? I was told by a few folks that if you want to create a gzip of a folder you should 'tar' it first and then 'gzip' it. Is this correct?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 9 '10 at 12:30

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This isn't a programming question? Your post is tagged with objective-c but you're asking about the command-line. –  rakuo15 Jul 9 '10 at 12:04

5 Answers 5

up vote 44 down vote accepted

Tar is the archive tool and gzip is the compression tool. In order to compress a full directory, first you need to archive it to a single file. That's what the job is tar. and then you compress the archived file. You can do both task in a single tar command with proper option.

tar -czf folder_name.tar.gz folder_name/

If you don't want to make a tar archive (may be you want to compress just a single file), then you can use gzip command directly.

gzip file.txt

It will create a compressed file named file.txt.gz

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It's worth mentioning what the options -czf after tar are for: c indicates that you want to create a tar archive, z applies gzip on the intermediate tar archive, and f is for the subsequent final file name folder_name.tar.gz. –  fideli Jul 9 '10 at 19:11

MacOS X is Unix so this should work (this work on GNU/Linux)

tar czvf compressed.tar.gz folder
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Yes, you have do tar the directory first. The tar-command can do both:

tar -czf archiv.tar.gz mydir/

extract your archiv:

tar -xzf archiv.tar.gz
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To add to the answer by @taskinoor: if you use single file version, aka

gzip file.txt

be aware that the original file (file.txt) will be removed and you'll have only file.txt.gz

I would put this as comment but dont have enough karma to do that :=)

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Yes, this is correct. gzip can only compress a file. tar encodes the directory contents into a single file, which can be further compressed using gzip, bzip2, lzma or anything else.

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