Linux – How to create a zip / tgz in Linux such that Windows has proper filenames


Currently, tar -zcf arch.tgz files/* encodes filenames in UTF, so Windows users see all characters spoiled in filenames which are not english, and can do nothing with it.

zip -qq -r files/* has the same behavior.

How can I create a zip / tgz archive so when Windows users extract it will have all filenames encoded properly?

Best Answer

Currently, tar encodes filenames in UTF

Actually tar doesn't encode/decode filenames at all, It simply copies them out of the filesystem as-is. If your locale is UTF-8-based (as in many modern Linux distros), that'll be UTF-8. Unfortunately the system codepage of a Windows box is never UTF-8, so the names will always be mangled except on tools such as WinRAR that allow the charset used to be changed.

So it is impossible to create a ZIP file with non-ASCII filenames that work across different countries' releases of Windows and their built-in compressed folder support.

It is a shortcoming of the tar and zip formats that there is no fixed or supplied encoding information, so non-ASCII characters will always been non-portable. If you need a non-ASCII archive format you'll have to use one of the newer formats, such as recent 7z or rar. Unfortunately these are still wonky; in 7zip you need the -mcu switch, and rar still won't use UTF-8 unless it detects characters not in the codepage.

Basically it's a horrible mess and if you can avoid distributing archives containing filenames with non-ASCII characters you'll be much better off.