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     cpio — format of cpio archive files


     The cpio archive format collects any number of files, directories, and other file system
     objects (symbolic links, device nodes, etc.) into a single stream of bytes.

   General Format
     Each file system object in a cpio archive comprises a header record with basic numeric
     metadata followed by the full pathname of the entry and the file data.  The header record
     stores a series of integer values that generally follow the fields in struct stat.  (See
     stat(2) for details.)  The variants differ primarily in how they store those integers
     (binary, octal, or hexadecimal).  The header is followed by the pathname of the entry (the
     length of the pathname is stored in the header) and any file data.  The end of the archive
     is indicated by a special record with the pathname “TRAILER!!!”.

   PWB format
     XXX Any documentation of the original PWB/UNIX 1.0 format? XXX

   Old Binary Format
     The old binary cpio format stores numbers as 2-byte and 4-byte binary values.  Each entry
     begins with a header in the following format:

           struct header_old_cpio {
                   unsigned short   c_magic;
                   unsigned short   c_dev;
                   unsigned short   c_ino;
                   unsigned short   c_mode;
                   unsigned short   c_uid;
                   unsigned short   c_gid;
                   unsigned short   c_nlink;
                   unsigned short   c_rdev;
                   unsigned short   c_mtime[2];
                   unsigned short   c_namesize;
                   unsigned short   c_filesize[2];

     The unsigned short fields here are 16-bit integer values; the unsigned int fields are 32-bit
     integer values.  The fields are as follows

     magic   The integer value octal 070707.  This value can be used to determine whether this
             archive is written with little-endian or big-endian integers.

     dev, ino
             The device and inode numbers from the disk.  These are used by programs that read
             cpio archives to determine when two entries refer to the same file.  Programs that
             synthesize cpio archives should be careful to set these to distinct values for each

     mode    The mode specifies both the regular permissions and the file type.  It consists of
             several bit fields as follows:
             0170000  This masks the file type bits.
             0140000  File type value for sockets.
             0120000  File type value for symbolic links.  For symbolic links, the link body is
                      stored as file data.
             0100000  File type value for regular files.
             0060000  File type value for block special devices.
             0040000  File type value for directories.
             0020000  File type value for character special devices.
             0010000  File type value for named pipes or FIFOs.
             0004000  SUID bit.
             0002000  SGID bit.
             0001000  Sticky bit.  On some systems, this modifies the behavior of executables
                      and/or directories.
             0000777  The lower 9 bits specify read/write/execute permissions for world, group,
                      and user following standard POSIX conventions.

     uid, gid
             The numeric user id and group id of the owner.

     nlink   The number of links to this file.  Directories always have a value of at least two
             here.  Note that hardlinked files include file data with every copy in the archive.

     rdev    For block special and character special entries, this field contains the associated
             device number.  For all other entry types, it should be set to zero by writers and
             ignored by readers.

     mtime   Modification time of the file, indicated as the number of seconds since the start of
             the epoch, 00:00:00 UTC January 1, 1970.  The four-byte integer is stored with the
             most-significant 16 bits first followed by the least-significant 16 bits.  Each of
             the two 16 bit values are stored in machine-native byte order.

             The number of bytes in the pathname that follows the header.  This count includes
             the trailing NUL byte.

             The size of the file.  Note that this archive format is limited to four gigabyte
             file sizes.  See mtime above for a description of the storage of four-byte integers.

     The pathname immediately follows the fixed header.  If the namesize is odd, an additional
     NUL byte is added after the pathname.  The file data is then appended, padded with NUL bytes
     to an even length.

     Hardlinked files are not given special treatment; the full file contents are included with
     each copy of the file.

   Portable ASCII Format
     Version 2 of the Single UNIX Specification (“SUSv2”) standardized an ASCII variant that is
     portable across all platforms.  It is commonly known as the “old character” format or as the
     “odc” format.  It stores the same numeric fields as the old binary format, but represents
     them as 6-character or 11-character octal values.

           struct cpio_odc_header {
                   char    c_magic[6];
                   char    c_dev[6];
                   char    c_ino[6];
                   char    c_mode[6];
                   char    c_uid[6];
                   char    c_gid[6];
                   char    c_nlink[6];
                   char    c_rdev[6];
                   char    c_mtime[11];
                   char    c_namesize[6];
                   char    c_filesize[11];

     The fields are identical to those in the old binary format.  The name and file body follow
     the fixed header.  Unlike the old binary format, there is no additional padding after the
     pathname or file contents.  If the files being archived are themselves entirely ASCII, then
     the resulting archive will be entirely ASCII, except for the NUL byte that terminates the
     name field.

   New ASCII Format
     The "new" ASCII format uses 8-byte hexadecimal fields for all numbers and separates device
     numbers into separate fields for major and minor numbers.

           struct cpio_newc_header {
                   char    c_magic[6];
                   char    c_ino[8];
                   char    c_mode[8];
                   char    c_uid[8];
                   char    c_gid[8];
                   char    c_nlink[8];
                   char    c_mtime[8];
                   char    c_filesize[8];
                   char    c_devmajor[8];
                   char    c_devminor[8];
                   char    c_rdevmajor[8];
                   char    c_rdevminor[8];
                   char    c_namesize[8];
                   char    c_check[8];

     Except as specified below, the fields here match those specified for the old binary format

     magic   The string “070701”.

     check   This field is always set to zero by writers and ignored by readers.  See the next
             section for more details.

     The pathname is followed by NUL bytes so that the total size of the fixed header plus
     pathname is a multiple of four.  Likewise, the file data is padded to a multiple of four
     bytes.  Note that this format supports only 4 gigabyte files (unlike the older ASCII format,
     which supports 8 gigabyte files).

     In this format, hardlinked files are handled by setting the filesize to zero for each entry
     except the last one that appears in the archive.

   New CRC Format
     The CRC format is identical to the new ASCII format described in the previous section except
     that the magic field is set to “070702” and the check field is set to the sum of all bytes
     in the file data.  This sum is computed treating all bytes as unsigned values and using
     unsigned arithmetic.  Only the least-significant 32 bits of the sum are stored.

   HP variants
     The cpio implementation distributed with HPUX used XXXX but stored device numbers
     differently XXX.

   Other Extensions and Variants
     Sun Solaris uses additional file types to store extended file data, including ACLs and
     extended attributes, as special entries in cpio archives.

     XXX Others? XXX


     cpio(1), tar(5)


     The cpio utility is no longer a part of POSIX or the Single Unix Standard.  It last appeared
     in Version 2 of the Single UNIX Specification (“SUSv2”).  It has been supplanted in
     subsequent standards by pax(1).  The portable ASCII format is currently part of the
     specification for the pax(1) utility.


     The original cpio utility was written by Dick Haight while working in AT&T's Unix Support
     Group.  It appeared in 1977 as part of PWB/UNIX 1.0, the “Programmer's Work Bench” derived
     from Version 6 AT&T UNIX that was used internally at AT&T.  Both the old binary and old
     character formats were in use by 1980, according to the System III source released by SCO
     under their “Ancient Unix” license.  The character format was adopted as part of IEEE Std
     1003.1-1988 (“POSIX.1”).  XXX when did "newc" appear?  Who invented it?  When did HP come
     out with their variant?  When did Sun introduce ACLs and extended attributes? XXX


     The “CRC” format is mis-named, as it uses a simple checksum and not a cyclic redundancy

     The old binary format is limited to 16 bits for user id, group id, device, and inode
     numbers.  It is limited to 4 gigabyte file sizes.

     The old ASCII format is limited to 18 bits for the user id, group id, device, and inode
     numbers.  It is limited to 8 gigabyte file sizes.

     The new ASCII format is limited to 4 gigabyte file sizes.

     None of the cpio formats store user or group names, which are essential when moving files
     between systems with dissimilar user or group numbering.

     Especially when writing older cpio variants, it may be necessary to map actual device/inode
     values to synthesized values that fit the available fields.  With very large filesystems,
     this may be necessary even for the newer formats.