Re: really crappy compression
Nice find. I did a couple of quick tests and it looks as though file roller is not actually compressing the tar file, and it doesn't matter which compression method is chosen. Not sure why it has this effect on your files as the command works as expected for other files.
Steps to reproduce:
1) In Nautilus, right click on "backlightx" directory, Compress...
2) Select .tar.bz2
3) Resulting file size is 10.2KB
4) Right click on directory, Compress...
5) Select .tar
6) Resulting file size is 10.2KB
7) Right-click on .tar, Compress...
8) Select .bz2
9) Resulting file is 870KB
1) MSI GT70: i7-3650, 16GB, GTX680M, XFCE@Manjaro-x64
2) Dell Studio 1749: i5-540, 8GB, ATi 5650, Intel 5300AGN XFCE@Manjaro-x64
3) Lenovo X61: C2D T7200, 2GB, Intel HDA, iwlwifi, XFCE@Manjaro-x64-OpenRC