Maybe a variation of the whole question would be: Are there any other archiving tools than
tar that preserve Linux file permissions and user/group flags?
I want to create archives of a directory tree on my ubuntu box. The directory trees are large, a first run with
tar cvpzf archive.tgz /home/foo/bar yielded a 5GB archive.
I also want to keep all permissions and other flags and special files.
I'm fine with a 5GB archive, however to look inside that archive -- since it is a compressed tar archive -- the whole 5GB have to be decompressed first! (Or so it appears when opening it with the archive viewer -- I'm happy to be corrected.)
So I need a way to "backup" a directory (tree) while preserving full filesystem attributes and right and creating an archive with an "index" that hasn't to be decompressed for browsing its contents.
Edit: Specifying what I think of as an archive, after Whalley's answer :
An archive is either a single file, or a (small) set of files that carries full and complete information within this file/s. That is, it can live on any filesystem (size permitting), it can be burnt onto a DVD, you can
split it (after which the point of this question is really lost - but still), ...