Go to the previous, next section.

Invoking the shar program

The format of the shar command is one of:

shar [ option ] ... file ...
shar -S [ option ] ...

In the first form, the file list is given as command arguments. In the second form, the file list is read from standard input. The resulting archive is sent to standard output unless the -o option is given.

Options can be given in any order. Some options depend on each other: the -o option is required if the -l or -L option is used. The -n option is required if the -a option is used. Also see -V below.

Some options are special purpose:

Print the version number of the program on standard output, then immediately exits.

Print a help summary on standard output, then immediately exits.

Selecting files

Allow positional parameter options. The options -M, -B, -T, -z and -Z may be embedded, and files to the right of the option will be processed in the specified mode. Without the -p option, embedded options would be interpreted as filenames. See section Selecting how files are stocked for more information on these options.

Read list of files to be packed from the standard input rather than from the command line. Input must be one filename per line. This switch is especially useful when the command line will not hold the list of files to be packed. For example:

find . -type f -print | shar -S -o /tmp/big.shar

If -p is specified on the command line, then the options -M, -B, -T, -z and -Z may be included in the standard input (on a line separate from filenames). The maximum number of lines of standard input, file names and options, may not exceed 1024.

Splitting output

-o prefix
Save the archive to files `prefix.01' through `prefix.nnn' instead of standard output. This option must be used when the -l or the -L switches are used.

-l size
Limit the output file size to size times 1024 bytes but don't split input files. This allows the recipient of the shell archives to unpack them in any order.

-L size
Limit output file size to size times 1024 bytes and split files if necessary. The archives created with this option must be unpacked in the correct order. If the recipient of the shell archives wants to put all of them in a single folder, she shall save them in the correct order for unshar, used with option -e, to unpack them all at once. See section Invoking the unshar program.

For people used to save all the shell archives into a single mail folder, care must be taken to save them in the appropriate order. For those having the appropriate tools (like Masanobu Umeda's rmailsort package for GNU Emacs), shell archives can be saved in any order, then sorted by increasing date (or send time) before massive unpacking.

Controlling the shar headers

-n name
Name of archive to be included in the header of the shar files. Also see the -a switch further down.

-s address
The -s option allows for overriding the email address for the submitter, for when the default is not appropriate. The automatically determined address looks like `username@hostname'.

Allows automatic generation of headers:

Submitted-by: address
Archive-name: name/partnn

The name must be given with the -n switch. If name includes a `/', then `/part' isn't used. Thus `-n xyzzy' produces:


while `-n xyzzy/patch' produces:


and `-n xyzzy/patch01.' produces:


Start the shar with a cut line. A line saying `Cut here' is placed at the start of each output file.

Selecting how files are stocked

Treat all files as text, regardless of their contents.

Treat all files as binary, use uuencode prior to packing. This increases the size of the archive. The recipient must have uudecode in order to unpack.

Use of uuencode is not appreciated by many on the net, because
people like to readily see, by mere inspection of a shell archive,
what it is about.

Mixed mode. Automatically determine if the files are text or binary and archive correctly. Files found to be binary are uuencoded prior to packing. This option is selected by default.

For a file is considered to be a text file, instead of a binary file, all the following should be true simultaneously:

    The file does not contain any ASCII control character besides BS (backspace), HT (horizontal tab), LF (new line) or FF (form feed).
    The file does not contains a DEL (delete).
    The file contains no character with its eighth-bit set.
    The file, unless totally empty, terminates with a LF (newline).
    No line in the file contains more than 200 characters. For counting purpose, lines are separated by a LF (newline).

Use gzip and uuencode on all files prior to packing. The recipient must have uudecode and gzip (used with -d) in order to unpack.

Usage of -z in net shars will cause you to be flamed off the earth.

-g level
When doing compression, use -level as a parameter to gzip. The -g option turns on the -z option by default. The default value is 9, that is, maximum compression.

Use compress and uuencode on all files prior to packing. The recipient must have uudecode and compress (used with -d) in order to unpack. Option -C is a synonymous for -Z, but is deprecated.

Usage of -Z in net shars will cause you to be flamed off the earth.

-b bits
When doing compression, use -bx as a parameter to compress. The -B option turns on the -Z option by default. The default value is 12, foreseeing the memory limitations of some compress programs on smallish systems, at unshar time.

Protecting against transmission

Do not check with `wc -c' after unpack. The default is to check.

Prepend the prefix character to every line even if not required. This option may slightly increase the size of the archive, especially if -B or -Z is used. Normally, the prefix character is `X'. If the parameter to the -d option starts with `X', then the prefix character becomes `Y'.

-d string
Use string to delimit the files in the shar instead of `SHAR_EOF'. This is for those who want to personalize their shar files.

Producing different kinds of shars

This option produces vanilla shars which rely only upon the existence of echo, test and sed in the unpacking environment.

The -V disables options offensive to the network cop (or brown shirt). It also changes the default from mixed mode -M to text mode -T. Warnings are produced if option -B, -z, -Z, -p or -M is specified (any of which does or might require uudecode, gzip or compress in the unpacking environment).

In the shar file, use a temporary file to hold the file to uudecode, instead of using pipes. This option is mandatory when you know the unpacking uudecode is unwilling to merely read its standard input. Richard Marks wrote what is certainly the most (in)famous of these, for MSDOS :-).

(Here is a side note from the maintainer. Why isnt't this option the default? In the past history of shar, it was decided that piping was better, surely because it is less demanding on disk space, and people seem to be happy with this. Besides, I think that the uudecode from Richard Marks, on MSDOS, is wrong in refusing to handle stdin. So far that I remember, he has the strong opinion that a program without any parameters should give its --help output. Besides that, should I say, his uuencode and uudecode programs are full-featured, one of the most complete set I ever saw. But Richard will not release his sources, he wants to stay in control.)

Overwrite existing files without checking. If neither -x nor -X is specified, when unpacking itself, the shell archive will check for and not overwrite existing files (unless -c is passed as a parameter to the script when unpacking).

Interactively overwrite existing files.

Use of -X produces shars which will cause problems with some unshar-style procedures, particularily when used together with vanilla mode (-V). Use this feature mainly for archives to be passed among agreeable parties. Certainly, -X is not for shell archives which are to be submitted to Usenet or other public networks.

The problem is that unshar programs or procedures often feed `/bin/sh' from its standard input, thus putting `/bin/sh' and the shell archive script in competition for input lines. As an attempt to alleviate this problem, shar will try to detect if `/dev/tty' exists at the receiving site and will use it to read user replies. But this does not work in all cases, it may happen that the receiving user will have to avoid using unshar programs or procedures, and call /bin/sh directly. In vanilla mode, using `/dev/tty' is not even attempted.

Avoid generating touch commands to restore the file modification dates when unpacking files from the archive.

When the timestamp relationship is not preserved, some files like `configure' or `*.info' may be uselessly remade after unpacking. This is why, when this option is not used, a special effort is made to restore timestamps,

Verbose off. Disables the inclusion of comments to be output when the archive is unpacked.

Use only the last filename component of each input file name, ignoring any prefix directories. This is sometimes useful when building a shar from several directories, or another directory. If a directory name is passed to shar, the substructure of that directory will be restored whether -f is specified or not.

Go to the previous, next section.