[R-SIG-Mac] Error in untar2(tarfile, files, list, exdir) : unsupported entry type ‘x’

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu May 20 08:04:51 CEST 2010

On Wed, 19 May 2010, Christopher Bare wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm getting the following error when trying to build and install an R package:
> Error in untar2(tarfile, files, list, exdir) : unsupported entry type ‘x’
> I build the package like so:
> R --no-init-file CMD build mypackage
> Then try to install it:
> sudo R --no-init-file CMD INSTALL mypackage.tar.gz
> ...which dies with the above error. I can extract the archive fine
> with tar -zxf.
> R version 2.11.0 (2010-04-22)
> OSX 10.6.3
> I suspect this may be an OS X / Snow Leopard specific issue. It seems
> that the entry type 'x' referred to above comes from tar.R and is the
> type flag for "Extended header referring to the next file in the
> archive" according the the GNU Basic Tar Format docs. Is Snow Leopard
> adding some apple specific juju to my files that's causing this?

Yes, it is.  (Or more accurately, the 'tar' from libarchive is, and 
Apple changed the 'tar' they used for SL.)  And ?tar refers you to 
less partisan documentation.

Note that GNU is not a standard here: POSIX was, and these 
extensions are non-standard.  And neither GNU tar nor the libarchive 
tar follow the standard in other ways (nor do they even comply to 
their own documentation).

> This was originally posted on r-help. Please excuse the cross-post.

Please do follow the posting guide: you failed to so some basic 
homework.  E.g. NEWS says

     o	R CMD INSTALL now uses the internal untar() in package utils:
 	this ensures that all platforms can install bzip2- and
 	xz-compressed tarballs.	 In case this causes problems (as it
 	has on some Windows file systems when run from Cygwin tools)
 	it can be overridden by the environment variable
 	R_INSTALL_TAR: setting this to a modern external tar program
 	will speed up unpacking of large (tens of Mb or more)

and this is also documented under ?INSTALL.

> Any hints would be greatly appreciated! Thanks,
> - chris
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Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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