working difference between tar, cpio, and pax ?

What is the working difference between the tar,cpio and pax ? Under which circumstances we should use one over other ?
Can someone please explain me the working difference ?
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all are backup tools / commands that are used to backup files and directories. the difference is mostly in the way the backup is created.

Brian UtterbackPrinciple Software EngineerCommented:
They have slightly different attributes and capabilities. The tar format is probably the most widely used. However, the portable tar format used (USTAR) has some limitations that has resulted in various extensions being made to the format, which are not always compatible across platforms. The cpio program is less used, but generally handles special files better than tar does. It can also handle larger UID numbers than tar can in a standard manner, and is more portable than tar, except that cpio may not be available at all. The pax is the most capable of all, but also the least used. It can also read and write its own native standard format as well as tar and cpio. Pax also can do some interesting conversions on the fly, like renaming the files being extracted.  

In general, you should probably stick to tar unless you have some specific issues with it. Not because it is particularly better, but because the expertise is more common.

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If you are wanting to do system backups on a Solaris server, then ufsdump is probably your best option.
beer9Author Commented:
Got this article, basic concept got cleared. :)
beer9Author Commented:
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Unix OS

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