Oct 26, 2018

How to create and extract tar.bz2 files in Linux

TAR.BZ2

This format has the best level of compression among all of the formats I’ve mentioned here. But this comes at a cost – in time and in CPU. Here’s how you compress a directory using tar.bz2:

# tar -jcvf archive_name.tar.bz2 directory_to_compress

This will extract the files in the archive_name.tar.bz2 archive in the current directory. To extract the files to a different directory use:

# tar -jxvf archive_name.tar.bz2 -C /tmp/extract_here/

Data compression is very handy particularly for backups. So if you have a shell script that takes a backup of your files on a regular basis you should think about using one of the compression formats you learned about here to shrink your backup size.

Over time you will realize that there is a trade-off between the level of compression and the the time and CPU taken to compress. You will learn to judge where you need a quick but less effective compression, and when you need the compression to be of a high level and you can afford to wait a little while longer.