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If I have a bziped tar file split over multiple dvd's what's the best way of extracting it without creating a lot of intermediate files? I don't want to first copy all the archive parts to an intermediate disk.

so far the best I can come up with is

terminal 1:

mkfifo temppipe1
mkfifo temppipe2
mkfifo temppipen
cat temppipe* | bunzip2 |tar -xvf -

terminal 2:

dd if=archive.tar.bz_part1 of=temppipe1
dd if=archive.tar.bz_partn of=temppipen

This works, allowing me to change the dvd after each dvd but strikes me as potentially creating a lot of named pipes, and potentially error prone. One typo in terminal 2 and tar is going to quit leaving no option but to start again. It's also essential to create enough names pipes at the beginning

Anyone got any better ideas?

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You should look at the --multi-volume option - One of tar's specialties is splitting an archive across multiple devices sequentially. –  Darth Android May 16 '13 at 18:45
Unfortunately, use of -M precludes the use of compression on all versions of tar (big down side), doesn't help at all extracting existing split archives, and has the an issue of portability. –  camelccc May 16 '13 at 20:06

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use a single pipe, and keep a writer open on it so it doesn't close until you are done.

terminal 1:

mkfifo temppipe
tar xvfj temppipe

terminal 2:

cat > temppipe

We won't have cat write anything to the pipe, but it's presence will keep the pipe open while we run the dd commands.

terminal 3:

dd if=archive.tar.bz_part1 of=temppipe # and so on

Then go back to terminal 2 and hit Control-D. cat will send the final end of file and tar will complete.

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