SUMMARY: format of dump's archive files

From: Volker Siebelink (
Date: Thu Jan 21 1993 - 07:35:16 CST


my original question:

> When doing backups with dump(8), I'm using the '-a' option
> to generate an archive file for use with restore.
> Now I want to search for a specific entry in several of
> these archive files. Does anyone know the exact format
> of these files, so that I can read and search through them?

I've got answers from: (Donald McLachlan) (Leonardo C. Topa) (Andy Feldt) (Marc Phillips) (Brent Chivers)
Peter Samuel <>
ups!upstage! (Glenn Satchell)

Most people pointed me to the manual page dump(5),
but that not exactly what I wanted. It only explains
the contents of the _tape_ archive files, but not
the contents of the archive files, which contains
the index of such an dump.

The best solution so far was that by Leonardo C. Topa
and Glenn Satchell, who suggested

    restore -ta archive | grep blah

In my C-program I now invoke this command via popen(),
which works very well.

Thanks to all people who responded and pointed me
to a working solution!


Volker Siebelink                       | email:
Uni-GH Paderborn, FB 14                | phone: (+49) 52 51 / 60 29 90
Pohlweg 47-49                          | fax:   (+49) 52 51 / 60 32 38
D-4790 Paderborn                       |

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