Manage Archives with patool

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Apr 26, 2013 GMT
Dmitri Popov

7z, ZIP, TAR.GZ, GZIP -- there are literally dozens of archiving formats. On top of that, there is also a multitude of tools for managing archives in different formats, and each tool has its own commands and parameters. Even if you stick to a popular format like tar.gz, you still have to remember somewhat arcane commands like tar -xzvf foo.tar.gz or tar -pczf foo.tar.gz /path/to/dir. Enter patool. This Python-based utility can handle a wide range of archiving formats and lets you work with archives using a set of easy to remember commands. To deploy patool on your system, you need to install the python-pip package first. To do this on Debian and Ubuntu-based distros, run the apt-get install python-pip command as root. Install then patool using the pip install patool command as root. You can also install patool from source, and the install.txt document offers installation instructions.

patool features a handful of simple commands that can help to create and manage archives. For example, the extract command is used to unpack archives:

patool extract foo.tar.gz

Need to create an archive? Use the create command:

patool create photos.tar.gz *.jpg

The command above creates a tarball of all JPG images in the current directory. Run the patool -h command to view a list of other commands along with their brief descriptions.

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