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I am looking for a (preferably) graphical archive manager that can be configured to use /tmp as a scratch area for decompressing.

My setup is as follows: I have my local workstation with /home mounted from a NFS partition which works well in general and I also have a good chunk of RAM so I have /tmp setup as a RAM disk. I also need to work with large (100-300MB) tar.* and zip archives on a regular basis. In my testing, I've found that decompressing to /tmp and then moving the files into the NFS mount is orders of magnitude faster, however doing this currently requires me to drop out to a shell and do it all manually so I rarely bother unless I need something done quickly.

So, does anyone have any thoughts on applications that I could use to hopefully automate this a little more? I could easily write a console level wrapper to do the job, but I'm hoping for something that I can use from/with nautilus.

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The problem with that might be the sticky bit set on directory permissions in the /tmp dir. You might need to unstick the bit after/during copying the file to your current directory? Also, stackoverflow.com/questions/537437/… – djangofan Aug 24 '12 at 18:57
@djangofan: Why would the sticky bit be a problem? Wouldn't that be necessary for multiple people to use this sort of thing effectively? I'd expect any well-behaved application that does what I've described above to clean up behind itself, but you're right it's something to watch out for (especially with a ramdisk) – Matthew Scharley Aug 24 '12 at 23:40
I use a patched file-roller to do that – warl0ck Aug 26 '12 at 2:32

Check out Xarchiver. See also this blog post: How to Install Xarchiver (archive manager) in Ubuntu Linux?

You can choose the temp dir under Action -> Preferences.

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Try AVFS. It's a FUSE filesystem that lets you access archives transparently. Run this command once and for all:

mkdir -p ~/.avfs
grep -q "^avfsd $HOME/.avfs " /proc/mounts ||
avfsd ~/.avfs -o auto_cache

AVFS exposes the content of an archive /path/to/foo.zip as a directory ~/.avfs/path/to/foo.zip# (same path, but under the AVFS mount point, and with an extra # at the end). This extra directory doesn't appear in the listing of ~/.avfs/path/to, you have to navigate to it explicitly.

With the auto_cache option, the AVFS daemon keeps a cache in memory (and perhaps also in /tmp? I don't understand AVFS's cache policy.). Experimentally, with the auto_cache option, AVFS opens the archive every time you access a file in it, but only reads a few bytes from the file, not the whole file.

Gvfs, the virtual filesystem layer of Gnome, provides more transparent access to archives. I don't know whether it can be coaxed into caching archive contents.

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