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A simple, 0-dependency Swift package for reading and writing cpio archives.
.package(url: "https://github.com/LebJe/CPIOArchiveKit.git", from: "0.1.0")


A simple, 0-dependency Swift package for reading and writing cpio archives. Inspired by go-cpio.

Swift 5.3 SPM Compatible Build and Test

Table of Contents

Created by gh-md-toc

Documentation is available here.


Swift Package Manager

Add this to the dependencies array in Package.swift:

.package(url: "https://github.com/LebJe/CPIOArchiveKit.git", from: "0.0.2")

Also add this to the targets array in the aforementioned file:

.product(name: "CPIOArchiveKit", package: "CPIOArchiveKit")


Writing Archives

To write archives, you'll need a CPIOArchiveWriter:

var writer = CPIOArchiveWriter()

Once you have your writer, you must create a Header, that describes the file you wish to add to your archive:

var time: Int = 1615929568

// You can also use date
let date: Date = ...
time = Int(date.timeIntervalSince1970)

// File
let header = Header(
   name: "hello.txt",
   mode: FileMode(0o644, modes: [.regular]),
   modificationTime: time

// Directory
let header = Header(
   name: "dir/",
   mode: FileMode(0o644, modes: [.directory]),
   modificationTime: time


If you would like to provide a cpio checksum with the Header you created above, there are two ways to do so.

Computed Checksum
// Compute the checksum.
let fileContents: [UInt8] = ...
let checksum = Checksum(bytes: fileContents)
Pre-computed Checksum
let preComputedChecksum = 123
let checksum = Checksum(sum: preComputedChecksum)

Once you have a checksum, add it to the checksum parameter of your Header:

Header(..., checksum: checksum, ...)

Once you have your Header, you can write it, along with the contents of your file, to the archive:

// Without Foundation
var contents = Array("Hello".utf8)

// With Foundation
let myData: Data = "Hello".data(using .utf8)!
contents = Array<UInt8>(myData)

writer.addFile(header: header, contents: contents)

If you have a text file, use the overloaded version of addFile:

writer.addFile(header: header, contents: "Hello")

For directories, omit the contents parameter in addFile. For symlinks, set the contents parameter to the file or directory the link points to.

Once you have added your files, you must call finalize() to create the archive and return the data:

// The binary representation (Array<UInt8>) of the created archive.
let bytes = writer.finalize()

// You convert it to `Data` like this:
let data = Data(bytes)

// And write it:
try data.write(to: URL(fileURLWithPath: "myArchive.cpio"))

if you want to reuse writer, call finalize(clear: true) instead, which will clear the state inside writer.

Reading Archives

To read archives, you need an CPIOArchiveReader:

// myData is the bytes of the archive.
let myData: Data = ...

let reader = CPIOArchiveReader(archive: Array<UInt8>(myData))

Once you have your reader, there are several ways you can retrieve the data:


You can iterate though all the files in the archive like this:

for (header, data) in reader {
   // `data` is `Array<UInt8>` that contains the raw bytes of the file in the archive.
   // `header` is the `Header` that describes the `data`.

   // if you know `data` is a `String`, then you can use this initializer:
   let str = String(data)


Accessing data through the subscript is useful when you only need to access a few items in a large archive:

// The subscript provides you with random access to any file in the archive:
let firstFile = reader[0]
let fifthFile = reader[6]

You can also use the version of the subscript that takes a Header - useful for when you have a Header, but not the index of that header.

let header = reader.headers.first(where: { $0.name.contains(".swift") })!
let data = reader[header: header]


Once you have retrived a FileMode from a Header in a CPIOArchiveReader, you can access the file's type and UNIX permissions.

File Type

let type = header.mode.type

switch type {
	case .regular: // Regular file.
	case .directory: // Directory.
	case .symlink: // Symbolic link.


To access the UNIX permissions, use the permissions variable in FileMode.


  • Examples/CreateReadWrite: This example shows how to use CPIOArchiveKit to read, create, or extract an archive; or compute a checksum for an archive using only Darwin.C (macOS), Glibc (Linux) or ucrt (Windows (not tested)).

Other Platforms

CPIOArchiveKit doesn't depend on any library, Foundation, or Darwin/Glibc/ucrt - only the Swift standard library. It should compile on any platform where the standard library compiles.


CPIOArchiveKit is currently being built on Windows, but not tested, as the Swift Package Manager Resources doesn't seem to work (or isn't available) on Windows.


Before committing, please install pre-commit, swift-format, and Prettier, then install the pre-commit hook:

$ brew bundle # install the packages specified in Brewfile
$ pre-commit install

# Commit your changes.

To install pre-commit on other platforms, refer to the documentation.


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Last commit: 1 week ago

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Release Notes

1 week ago


0.1.0 - 2021-07-21


  • Added FileMode.type to get the FileType from FileMode.
  • Added FileMode.rawType to get the file type bits from FileMode.
  • Added a clear parameter to CPIOArchiveWriter.finalize, if set, this will reset the state of the writer so it can be used again.
  • Added CreateArchive, WriteArchive, and ExtractArchive to the examples.


  • Removed FileType.dir. It has been renamed to directory.

Migration Guide

Use FileMode.is(_:) instead of isSymlink, and isRegularFile:

// Before
if header.mode.isSymlink {
	// `header` describes a symbolic link.

// After
if header.mode.is(.symlink) {
	// `header` describes a symbolic link.

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