The Python module 'tarfile' is more flexible then it's counterpart 'zipfile'. It allows you to simply archive files without compression, or use the gzip format of compression, or the super compression format bzip2. Here is code to show you the use of the module.

commented: Good script ;) +0
# work with a tarball compressed archive file (similar to zip)
# Python module tarfile is better and more flexible than zipfile
# it allows gzip and the even denser bzip2 compression
# tested with Python24       vegaseat     18jan2007

import tarfile

str1 = "If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen."
str2 = "Dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off."
str3 = "How can I miss you if you won't go away?"

# write test file 1
fout = open("TarTest1.txt", "w")

# write test file 2
fout = open("TarTest2.txt", "w")

# write test file 3
fout = open("TarTest3.txt", "w")

# pick your compression ...
# for uncompressed use file extension .tar and modifier "w"
# for gzip compressed use file extension .tar.gz and modifier "w:gz"
# for bzip2 super compressed use file extension .tar.bz2 and "w:bz2"
# use "w", "w:gz" or "w:bz2" for all file types, including binary files
tar ="TarTest.tar.bz2", "w:bz2")

# turn the three test files into a tar archive
for name in ["TarTest1.txt", "TarTest2.txt", "TarTest3.txt"]:

print '-'*40

# test if the file is a valid tar file
tfilename = "TarTest.tar.bz2"
if tarfile.is_tarfile(tfilename):
    print "%s is a valid tar file" % tfilename
    print "%s is not a valid tar file" % tfilename

print '-'*40

# read the tarfile you just wrote
tar ="TarTest.tar.bz2", "r:bz2")
file_list = []
for file in tar:
    # show filename and size (bytes)
    print "file %s has a size of %d bytes" % (, file.size)

# another way to get the file list
file_list2 = tar.getnames()

print '-'*50
print file_list
print file_list2
print '-'*50

# pick one of the three files in the tar-archive (tarball)
filename = file_list[1]

# decompress the particular file
data = tar.extractfile(filename).read()

# if it's a text file, show contents
if filename.endswith(".txt"):
    print "Content of file %s in the tarball:" % filename
    print data

# write the files out to new files
for fname in tar.getnames():
    # extract/decompress the data of each file
    data = tar.extractfile(fname).read()
    # optionally change the filename
    new_file = "new_" + fname
    print "File %s written!" % new_file
    # write the decompressed data to a file
    fout = open(new_file, "w")

# done, close the tar file ...

How do i compress the file withou the directory hierarchy?

i´m doing like this:

tar =, "w:bz2")
for f in filelist:

When i extract the compressed file, all those directories are extracted too. So, i want to compress without them

Thanks in advance ;)

Hey man...
Looking at other codes, i´ve found the solution...

Like this:

tar =, "w:bz2")
for f in filelist:
tar.add(f, os.path.basename(f))

Thank you ;)

Thanks for sharing this insight with us!