AR

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File Format
Name AR
Ontology
Extension(s) .a, .lib

ar is a non-compressed archive format for Unix-style operating systems. It was mostly superseded by tar for general archiving use, but persists in use for specialized applications involving linkable libraries for development.

Contents

Overview

There are at least 5 different variants of the ar file format since it has never been formally standardized: AIX(big), AIX(small), Coherent, BSD, and GNU.

Examples

To list the contents of an archive, using the ar utility:

$ ar tv example.a

To extract the contents of an archive:

$ ar xvo example.a

Software

References

  • Wikipedia page for the ar archiver
  • IBM AIX documentation on scribd here (page 386+; someone might find a better accessible version)
  • Also from IBM is this description (and this for the "small" variant)
  • The Microsoft PE/COFF documentation also has a section on .lib files which use the same format
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