= S =
Share and enjoy!
sharchive /shar'ki:v/ n.
[Unix and Usenet; from /bin/sh
archive] A flattened representation of a set of one or more
files, with the unique property that it can be unflattened (the
original files restored) by feeding it through a standard Unix
shell; thus, a sharchive can be distributed to anyone running Unix,
and no special unpacking software is required. Sharchives are also
intriguing in that they are typically created by shell scripts; the
script that produces sharchives is thus a script which produces
self-unpacking scripts, which may themselves contain scripts. (The
downsides of sharchives are that they are an ideal venue for
Trojan horse attacks and that, for recipients not running
Unix, no simple un-sharchiving program is possible; sharchives can
and do make use of arbitrarily-powerful shell features.)
Sharchives are also commonly referred to as `shar files' after the
name of the most common program for generating them.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.