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.

  • 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 – daisy 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.


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.