tar gz is better for Linux/Unix as it retains permissions, such as “executable” on scripts.
- Stores unix file attributes: uid, gid, permissions (most notably executable). The default may depend on your distribution, and can be toggled with options.
- Consolidates all files to be archived in one file (“Tape ARchive”).
- Actual compression is done by GZIP, on the one .tar file
- Stores MSDOS attributes. (Archive, Readonly, Hidden, System)
- Compresses each file individually, then consolidates the individually compressed files in one file
- Includes a file table at the end of the file
Because zip compresses the files individually, a zip-archive will most-likely have a larger size (especially with many smaller files – think config files).
gzip functions as a compression algorithm only.
Because of various reasons some of which hearken back to the era of tape drives, Unix uses a program named
tar to archive data, which can then be compressed with a compression program like
In order to “zip” a directory, the correct command would be
tar -zcvf archive.tar.gz directory/
This will tell
- compress it using the z (gzip) algorithm
- c (create) an archive from the files in
taris recursive by default)
- v (verbosely) list (on /dev/stderr so it doesn’t affect piped commands) all the files it adds to the archive.
- and store the output as a f (file) named
tar command offers
gzip support (via the
-z flag) purely for your convenience. The
gzip command/lib is completely separate. The command above is effectively the same as
tar -cv directory | gzip > archive.tar.gz
To decompress and unpack the archive into the current directory you would use
tar -zxvf archive.tar.gz
That command is effectively the same as
gunzip < archive.tar.gz | tar -xv
tar has many, many, MANY other options and uses as well; I heartily recommend reading through its manpage sometime.