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2 definitions found
 for tar and feather
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  tar and feather
   vi.
  
      [from Unix tar(1)] To create a transportable archive from a group of files
      by first sticking them together with tar(1) (the Tape ARchiver) and then
      compressing the result (see compress). The latter action is dubbed
      feathering partly for euphony and (if only for contrived effect) by analogy
      to what you do with an airplane propeller to decrease wind resistance, or
      with an oar to reduce water resistance; smaller files, after all, slip
      through comm links more easily. Compare the more common tarball. Earlier,
      the phrase referred to a punishment in which the victims had tar being
      poured upon them and then, whilst the tar was still sticky, having a pillow
      full of feathers - or other material ? thrown at them. See http://
      www.nwta.com/Spy/spring99/tar.html.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  tar and feather
  
      (A sick contrivance from the Unix tar command and
     the Ku Klux Klan torture method) To create a transportable
     archive from a group of files by first sticking them together
     with tar (the Tape ARchiver) and then compressing the
     result.  The latter action is dubbed "feathering" (purely for
     contrived effect) by analogy to what you do with an aeroplane
     propeller to decrease wind resistance, or with an oar to
     reduce water resistance; smaller files, after all, slip
     through comm links more easily.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1997-05-26)
  

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