This week's book giveaway is in the OCAJP 8 forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide and have Edward Finegan & Robert Liguori on-line! See this thread for details.
I think you could get errors like this if you were using an ancient "tar" implementation that makes some assumptions about path lengths and such. What sort of UNIX system is this -- maybe a crufty old HP/UX system?
In any case, the fix would be to obtain a copy of GNU "tar", install it, and use that instead.