I had a large (~60G) compressed file (tar.gz).

I used split to break it into 4 parts and then cat to join them back together.

However, now, when I am trying to estimate the size of the uncompressed file, it turns out it is smaller than the original? How is this possible?

$ gzip -l myfile.tar.gz 
         compressed        uncompressed  ratio uncompressed_name
        60680003101          3985780736 -1422.4% myfile.tar
  • Is split really relevant to this? Do you only have the problem after splitting and joining them back together? – Barmar Sep 28 '18 at 15:43

This is caused by the size of the field used to store the uncompressed size in gzipped files: it’s only 32 bits, so gzip can only store sizes of files up to 4 GiB. Anything larger is compressed and uncompressed correctly, but gzip -l gives an incorrect uncompressed size.

So splitting the tarball and reconstructing it hasn’t caused this, and shouldn’t have affected the file — if you want to make sure, you can check it with gzip -tv.

See Fastest way of working out uncompressed size of large GZIPPED file for more details, and the gzip manual:

The gzip format represents the input size modulo 2³², so the uncompressed size and compression ratio are listed incorrectly for uncompressed files 4 GiB and larger.

  • So, actual content can still be intact, right? – Ruslan Sep 28 '18 at 12:24
  • @Ruslan yes, the size displayed is wrong, but the contents are fine. – Stephen Kitt Sep 28 '18 at 12:25
  • +1 I was gonna guess it was UINT32 error or something like that. – mathreadler Sep 28 '18 at 16:11

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