In the section "Installing Portage", the Gentoo installation docs say:

# tar xvjf /mnt/gentoo/portage-latest.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/gentoo/usr

What does this command do?


Tar is used to handle archives (historically saved on tapes).

  • The x tells it to extract files from the archive
  • v stands for verbose
  • j for bzip2 archive
  • f indicates the file name
  • finally: C tells it to change directory (so the package content will be unpacked there)

See also man tar.

| improve this answer | |
  • I've also seen -C used while creating an archive. What does it mean in that context? – frakman1 Jan 23 at 21:51
  • 1
    @frakman1: Do I really have to copy the contents of man tar here? – choroba Jan 23 at 22:11
  • 1
    The man page just says change to directory DIR which is not very helpful. Saying "(so the package content will be unpacked there)" on the other hand, is. – frakman1 Jan 23 at 22:19
  • OK. When -C is used while creating an archive, it specifies where to search for the files to archive. – choroba Jan 24 at 9:58

If you ever need to know what a parameter does again, try to read the man first. The command man tar, and then doing /-C will get you to the section describing what -C stands for, which in this example represents 'change directory' (i.e. sends the results of the unpacking to /mnt/gentoo/usr).

| improve this answer | |

It unpacks /mnt/gentoo/portage-latest.tar.bz2 in /mnt/gentoo/usr/

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.