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compress directory archive with xz compression, if tar doesn't have the -J option (OSX tar doesn't have -J)
Compress files or a directory to xz format. XZ has superior and faster compression than bzip2 in most cases. XZ is superior to 7zip format because it can save file permissions and other metadata data.
the -a flag causes tar to automatically pick the right compressor to filter the archive through, based on the file extension. e.g.
"tar -xaf archive.tar.xz" is equivalent to "tar -xJf archive.tar.xz"
"tar -xaf archive.tar.gz" is equivalent to "tar -xzf archive.tar.gz"
No need to remember -z is gzip, -j is bzip2, -Z is .Z, -J is xz, and so on :)