Avoid using “-S” and “--sparse” options with tar command

September 28, 2017

CISL staff are recommending that users avoid the tar command’s -S and --sparse options for handling sparse files when creating an archive. A recently discovered data corruption issue resulting from use of those options can affect tarballs that users create and it also has corrupted some automated GLADE user home directory backups over the past several months. Snapshots have not been affected, so users who suspect some file corruption may be able to use those to recover files.

Users are encouraged to avoid using the -S or --sparse options until a fix is in place and to watch for a Notifier message announcing that the work is complete.