I have the following function in my .bashrc file:

extract() {
    local c e i

    (($#)) || return

    for i; do

        if [[ ! -r $i ]]; then
            echo "$0: file is unreadable: \`$i'" >&2

        case $i in
               c='bsdtar xvf';;
        *.7z)  c='7z x';;
        *.Z)   c='uncompress';;
        *.bz2) c='bunzip2';;
        *.exe) c='cabextract';;
        *.gz)  c='gunzip';;
        *.rar) c='unrar x';;
        *.xz)  c='unxz';;
        *.zip) c='unzip';;
        *)     echo "$0: unrecognized file extension: \`$i'" >&2

        command $c "$i"

    return $e

now this has been working perfectly for me on my current Arch Linux system. Recently, I installed the new, void-linux distro and tried to use my old .bashrc on it.

However, on Void-Linux, this functions throws an error:

syntax error near unexpected token '('

and points to this line:


Some investigation returned that the Bash on that distro refuses to read the @() pattern and hence returns an error. I remember using the same function on a Debian Stable system a couple of months ago too.

Can anyone point out why this code doesn't seem to be portable? And where the error is?

  • I was counting the number of parenthesis you have at the end statement. It may be possible you have too many. – ryekayo Sep 16 '14 at 17:25
  • No, I checked that multiple times. I think you found 1 extra paren which is a part of the switch-case syntax. This function currently works for me on Arch Linux, too. – darnir Sep 16 '14 at 17:26
  • 1
    have you enabled extglob before trying to define that function? – llua Sep 16 '14 at 17:33
  • Damn! I'm enabling extglob, but after the function is defined. Once I fixed the order, it works! I never came across this issue in the past, maybe all the other systems were setting extglob globally. Thanks a bunch! – darnir Sep 16 '14 at 17:38

As mentioned in my comment, that is a common error people see when trying to use extended globs(shopt -s extglob) before enabling the option. This includes function definitions.

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