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I eschew aliases, using them only when necessary, e.g. when changing directory. There's many places in Unix where a knowledgeable user can kick off a command and in many aliases won't work. This gets annoying and is solved by having ~/bin/... wherever possible. The overhead is minimal, many being one-line of code starting with exec.

I use aliases to open frequently used programs with specific configuration files (mutt, for example, to manage multiple email accounts) or with long complex arguments (rdesktop, for example, for connections to multiple hosts). I also use ~/bin/ when I want something in my path that has a purpose local to me, but can be widely deployed to the various platforms I work on. But for one-liners that don't work as aliases (used too infrequently or not portable) I use Makefiles. It's nice to be able to cd into a working directory and type 'make update' on any machine without trying to remember which package manager to use and how to invoke it.

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