There are many archival tools for Unix, with varying degrees of availability. To make matters more confusing, many of them can write each other's formats.
I am seeking more information on their relative merits, and why I would want one over another (in differing circumstances).
The landscape of archivers, as I understand it (only considering F/LOSS software):
Tar family archivers
CPIO family archivers
- The MirBSD PAX included w/ Linux distros
- dump included with your OS/distro
I am aware of this comparison, showing that
dump beats (old)
cpio for dealing with various anomalies in the file system and exactly replicating its contents. However,
dump is mostly oriented towards file-system-level archiving and doesn't get great support on Linux (at least Linus isn't very interested in keeping it running).
In general, why would I choose one of these archivers, particularly tar/cpio/pax, over another, and why? Which one should I generally reach for first?