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cpio(5)                     BSD File Formats Manual                    cpio(5)


     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 gen-
     erally 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
     The PWB binary cpio format is the original format, when cpio was intro-
     duced as part of the Programmer's Work Bench system, a variant of 6th
     Edition UNIX.  It stores numbers as 2-byte and 4-byte binary values.
     Each entry begins with a header in the following format:

           struct header_pwb_cpio {
                   short   h_magic;
                   short   h_dev;
                   short   h_ino;
                   short   h_mode;
                   short   h_uid;
                   short   h_gid;
                   short   h_nlink;
                   short   h_majmin;
                   long    h_mtime;
                   short   h_namesize;
                   long    h_filesize;

     The short fields here are 16-bit integer values, while the long fields
     are 32 bit integers.  Since PWB UNIX, like the 6th Edition UNIX it was
     based on, only ran on PDP-11 computers, they are in PDP-endian format,
     which has little-endian shorts, and big-endian longs.  That is, the long
     integer whose hexadecimal representation is 0x12345678 would be stored in
     four successive bytes as 0x34, 0x12, 0x78, 0x56.  The fields are as fol-

             The integer value octal 070707.

     h_dev, h_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 entry.

     h_mode  The mode specifies both the regular permissions and the file
             type, and it also holds a couple of bits that are irrelevant to
             the cpio format, because the field is actually a raw copy of the
             mode field in the inode representing the file.  These are the
             IALLOC flag, which shows that the inode entry is in use, and the
             ILARG flag, which shows that the file it represents is large
             enough to have indirect blocks pointers in the inode.  The mode
             is decoded as follows:

             0100000  IALLOC flag - irrelevant to cpio.
             0060000  This masks the file type bits.
             0040000  File type value for directories.
             0020000  File type value for character special devices.
             0060000  File type value for block special devices.
             0010000  ILARG flag - irrelevant to cpio.
             0004000  SUID bit.
             0002000  SGID bit.
             0001000  Sticky bit.
             0000777  The lower 9 bits specify read/write/execute permissions
                      for world, group, and user following standard POSIX con-

     h_uid, h_gid
             The numeric user id and group id of the owner.

             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.

             For block special and character special entries, this field con-
             tains the associated device number, with the major number in the
             high byte, and the minor number in the low byte.  For all other
             entry types, it should be set to zero by writers and ignored by

             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 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 16 megabyte file sizes, because PWB UNIX, like 6th Edition,
             only used an unsigned 24 bit integer for the file size inter-

     The pathname immediately follows the fixed header.  If h_namesize is odd,
     an additional NUL byte is added after the pathname.  The file data is
     then appended, again with an additional NUL appended if needed to get the
     next header at an even offset.

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

   New Binary Format
     The new binary cpio format showed up when cpio was adopted into late 7th
     Edition UNIX.  It is exactly like the PWB binary format, described above,
     except for three changes:

     First, UNIX now ran on more than one hardware type, so the endianness of
     16 bit integers must be determined by observing the magic number at the
     start of the header.  The 32 bit integers are still always stored with
     the most significant word first, though, so each of those two, in the
     struct shown above, was stored as an array of two 16 bit integers, in the
     traditional order.  Those 16 bit integers, like all the others in the
     struct, were accessed using a macro that byte swapped them if necessary.

     Next, 7th Edition had more file types to store, and the IALLOC and ILARG
     flag bits were re-purposed to accommodate these.  The revised use of the
     various bits is 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.
     0000777  The lower 9 bits specify read/write/execute permissions for
              world, group, and user following standard POSIX conventions.

     Finally, the file size field now represents a signed 32 bit integer in
     the underlying file system, so the maximum file size has increased to 2

     Note that there is no obvious way to tell which of the two binary formats
     an archive uses, other than to see which one makes more sense.  The typi-
     cal error scenario is that a PWB format archive unpacked as if it were in
     the new format will create named sockets instead of directories, and then
     fail to unpack files that should go in those directories.  Running
     bsdcpio -itv on an unknown archive will make it obvious which it is: if
     it's PWB format, directories will be listed with an 's' instead of a 'd'
     as the first character of the mode string, and the larger files will have
     a '?' in that position.

   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 new binary format.  The name and
     file body follow the fixed header.  Unlike the binary formats, 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

   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 num-

           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
     new binary format above.

     magic   The string ``070701''.

     check   This field is always set to zero by writers and ignored by read-
             ers.  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 giga-
     byte files).

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

   New CRC Format
     The CRC format is identical to the new ASCII format described in the pre-
     vious 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 arith-
     metic.  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 ar-

     XXX Others? XXX


     cpio(5), tar(5)


     The cpio utility is no longer a part of POSIX or the Single Unix Stan-
     dard.  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 new 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 check.

     The binary formats are limited to 16 bits for user id, group id, device,
     and inode numbers.  They are limited to 16 megabyte and 2 gigabyte file
     sizes for the older and newer variants, respectively.

     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 number-

     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.

BSD                            December 23, 2011                           BSD

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