Fresh install of CentOS 5.4

Downloaded the following:


MD5 sum is correct (cdcc09d71d85d81914a90413eaf21d3f). The file is located here:


tmp and webmin-1.510.tar.gz both have chmod 777. I am logged in as root.


tar -zxfv webmin-1.510.tar


tar: v: Cannot open: No such file or directory
tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now
tar: Child returned status 2
tar: webmin-1.510.tar: Not found in archive
tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors

Never run across this before. It's like it thinks that v is a file I want to extract, but its one of the command arguments...

If I leave out the v...

tar -zxf webmin-1.510.tar.gz

The command stalls. It doesn't do anything. Just goes to the next line and no prompt comes up. I have to CTRL-C to get back to the prompt and a ls verifies that it didn't extract anything...

My first reaction is that its not a valid tar/gz file or something. But the MD5 matches just fine. So I'm at a loss just a bit...


Wow. Never new that the order of the arguments mattered. Wonder why I've never noticed it after all these years.

However I just tried

tar -zxvf webmin-1.510.tar.gz

And the terminal is still stalled and I have to CTRL-C to get a prompt again. And to reiterate myself, if I ls there is NO webmin-1.510 directory after this procedure. Nothing is extracted.


I also just gunzipp'ed the file, so now I have a webmin-1.510.tar. I just tried the following:

tar -xvf webmin-1.510.tar

And again, same result. The command stalls the terminal and I have to CTRL-C to get a prompt. Nothing extracted.

  • Responding to Update 2: Do you have strace on your system? Running the same command under strace (strace tar -xvf webmin-1.510.tar) may provide clues. – coneslayer Jun 9 '10 at 19:26
  • 1
    Your tar could be perverse and interpret the - as "read archive from stdin". Some really old versions of tar didn't grok the - as an option signifier and weren't too picky about argument order. I'm guessing Ctrl-D (EOF) will stop your "stalled" tar. Modern GNU-tar accepts tar xvf foo.tar in homage to the old ways. – msw Jun 9 '10 at 22:42

The 'f' option needs to come at the end. It tells tar that what follows is the tarball name. Your command should be:

tar -zxvf webmin-1.510.tar.gz

The 'v' option is for verbose output. I bet if you did an 'ls' in the current directory, there's going to be a webmin-1.510 or such directory.

  • No, -f doesn't need to come at the end. But it needs to be directly followed by the argument it expects: the tar file name. Then, other options can follow behind: tar -f webmin-1.510.tar.gz -zxv would be OK. (But it seems there was also some other problem which led to the original question) ` – mivk Jan 13 '19 at 22:14

Do the following:

Go to root if necessary:
# sudo su
# cd ~
# wget http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/webadmin/webmin-1.510.tar.gz
# tar -xvvzf webmin-1.510.tar.gz

It should now be extracted. It's possible system can't untar from and to your /tmp dir.


I had a similar problem, but it turned out that I wasn't logged in as the user that owned the file. Once I logged it the file unzipped fine.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – Ramhound Oct 2 '15 at 12:01

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