no app to open a tar file?

February 25, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Posted in KDevelop | 7 Comments


just connected a usb drive here to check whats on it, as KDE4 is so nice to show a small popup allowing me to directly open a file manager on the mounted disk I took the option. Turned out there is only 1 tar file on it. So I clicked on it and was presented with the nice “no app found for the mimetype, please select on”. After a quick run through the tree nothing showed up that would open tar files. Ok this machine has a rather limited kde4 installed (due to size constraints) so I quickly checked the trunk/KDE modules for possible archiving utilities. Found ark in kdeutils, but after building kdeutils it only presents me with rar and various zip formats.

Is this right? Don’t we have a single utility in trunk/KDE that can open up a tar archive? Or am I just blind? Can’t be that hard to use KTar from kdelibs, can it?

Well, back to my own world of a shell and the always-there “tar” utility πŸ™‚ Oh and off to filing a bugreport against ark of course πŸ˜‰


  1. Ark does open TAR files, but (AFIK) by default KDE4 should open all compressed files in dolphin itself and only on external application if demanded. I like to keep Ark as default for compressed archive manager and not the Dolphin, even it has some nice ideas when it is designed for novice users.

    And I would not call that pop-up dialog as “nice”. It is disturbing when you need to second time choose what you want to do with the device.

    There is great mockups on the about device dialog how it should give options on the plasmoid itself. You could just click the device you want to manage and it would give you list of applications what would be used to open the device. Currently only Dolphin and digiKam are used on here. Hopefully the K3b and many other applications are possible to get there too.

  2. Aah, ark needs libarchive (whatever that is) to open tar files? Why, kdelibs already has tar support (reading and writing)?

  3. Konqueror does it out-of-the-box when you’re doing FM in it (just click on the file), though that doesn’t help with downloads and such.

  4. Navigating through the tar archive should work in Dolphin itself if you enable “Browse through archives” in the “General” section of the settings.

    BTW, if I disable “Browse through archives”, clicking on a tar file opens Ark for me (KDE 4.2.0 on Kubuntu 8.10).

  5. does tar:/path/to/archive.tar work?

  6. ark maintainer here
    there is a plugin in the tree that opens tar files using ktar/karchive, but it was disabled and appearantly broken when i started working on ark. I haven’t had time to revive it, partly because it already had a libarchive plugin that already has that functionality.

  7. I don’t know wether dolphin supports opening them directly because it simply refused to fall back to that when there was no application associated to .tar files. And unless I’m mistaken Konqueror is the same thing as it uses dolphin’s kpart for the filemanagement.

    And before anybody else tries to help me: I did find the libarchive backend after being pointed to it on the bugreport and I did enable it. So my ark here is now fully functional πŸ™‚

    @metellius: Given that 85% of the people are going to be installing a fully-usable ark package (including libarchive support) and libarchive apparently supports more than just KTar/KArchive, it does indeed not make too much sense to also support KTar/KArchive. I think my real problem was to expect that I had all deps already installed and hence didn’t look at the cmake output when I built kdeutils via kdesvn-build πŸ™‚

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