Tarball Definition

Tarball is a frequently used jargon term for an archive that has been created with the tar command.

An archive is a single file that contains any number of individual files plus information to allow them to be restored to their original form by one or more extraction programs.

tar, whose name is an acronym for tape archive, is perhaps the most frequently used program for creating and opening archive files on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. It acquired its name from the fact that it was originally developed for use with sequential access devices such as tape drives, specifically for backup purposes. The names of files created by tar have a .tar extension.

The term tarball suggests a ball of tar, the sticky coal derivative used as an adhesive and sealant in roofing and other construction work.

Created September 17, 2005.
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