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This is pure laziness, but I'm looking to create a custom terminal command to extract tarballs - ie "targz" then a filename would extract a tar.gz tarball, and "tarbz2"... Well, guess. I followed the instructions for creating custom commands found here, and while I'm sure that worked great for that asker (who wanted a command to start a couple of things for him, which required no additional arguments or anything), it's not working for me. The "targz" file in my ~/bin reads as follows:

tar -xzvf

What wizardry. So I type

targz putty-0.62.tar.gz

in the terminal, and it gives me:

tar: option requires an argument -- 'f'

Any way to make this work so I can just type "targz" then the target filename into the terminal and have it be extracted? Or, for extra sloth points, type something like "untar" then a target filename, then have it be extracted whether it's .gz or .bz2?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What you want to do is pass arguments to a shell script. Check out this link. I think you'll have your answer. As for the second part of your question, using tar -xvf will untar any file whether it's .gz, .bz2 or .xz.

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Thanks. "tar -xzvf $1" works. –  Video Gone Feb 25 '13 at 4:12
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you could also create an alias like this:

alias utgz='tar -zxf '

Now issuing utgz tarball.tar.gz will extract all the files from the ta, without the overhead of going through a separate shell. As I understand it the alias just acts as a text substitution.

If you type alias at your prompt you might see something like 'ls=ls -F' and so on. so utgz tarball.tar.gz gets changed to tar -zxf tarball.tar.gz.

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Hi, welcome to AskUbuntu.com. I like your answer better than the accepted one because I feel it is a little more elegant to use an alias for this than starting a separate shell, but could you rewrite your answer to make it a bit clearer for the asker? –  Aaron D Feb 25 '13 at 7:02
the weakness of alias though is that it only works in the shell, while having an actual script in the PATH will work everywhere else. Though that could be a strength as well. –  Lie Ryan Feb 25 '13 at 9:48
This situation is ideally suited for an alias. It's true that aliases only work in a shell, but I'd be quite surprised if anyone needed a simple shortcut like this anywhere except a shell. –  Scott Severance Feb 25 '13 at 10:15
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