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If you give tar a list of filenames, it will not add the directories, so if you don't care about directory ownership or permissions, you can save some space.
Tar will create directories as necessary when extracting.
This command is limited by the maximum supported size of the argument list, so if you are trying to tar up the whole OS for instance, you may just get "Argument list too long".
There are 2 alternatives - vote for the best!
Tar - Compress by excluding folders
If you can do better, submit your command here.
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