Portable Archive Exchange program. When members of the first POSIX 1003.2 working group could not standardize on either tar or cpio, they invented this program.[*] (See also cpio and tar.)
GNU/Linux and Mac OS X use almost identical versions of pax, developed by the OpenBSD team, based on the original freely available version by Keith Muller.
pax operates in four
modes, depending on the combinations of
-r and no
List the contents of a pax archive. Optionally, restrict
the output to filenames and/or directories that match a
-r only. Extract files from a
pax archive. Intermediate
directories are created as needed.
-w only. Archive files to a new or
existing pax archive. The
archive is written to standard output; it may be redirected
to an appropriate tape device if needed for backups.
-w. Copy a
directory tree from one location to another, analogous to
Here are the options available in the four modes:
None: c d f n s v
-r: c d f i k n o p s u v
-w: a b d f H i L o s t u v x X
-rw: d H i k l n p s t u v X
Append files to the archive. This may not work on some tape devices.
Use size as the blocksize, in bytes, of blocks to be written to the archive.
Complement. Match all file or archive members that do not match the patterns.
For files or archive members that are directories, extract or archive only the directory ...