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With -a you don't care about file type (bz2, gzip, etc.)
There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!
tar command options:
-z : Uncompress the resulting archive with gzip command.
-x : Extract to disk from the archive.
-v : Produce verbose output i.e. show progress and file names while extracting files.
-f backup.tgz : Read the archive from the specified file called backup.tgz.
-C /tmp/data : Unpack/extract files in /tmp/data instead of the default current directory.
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