Tarballs

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A tarball or tar archive file is a colloquial name for files produced by the tar command and various other backup and archining tools. A tarball can contain many files plus their associated directory structure, ownership and permission information.

Tarballs are conventionally saved with the extension .tar but for most purposes the original tarball is stored compressed with either gzip or bzip2, resulting in a file with the suffixes .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 respectively. On Linux, the tar command can enable these two compression formats by use of the -z and -j switches.