July 15, 2008

9 File Managers for Linux

Konqueror - Default file manager in KDE3, Konqueror was replaced by Dolphin in KDE4. Very powerful, Konqueror supports profiles, split windows, several view modes, plugins and much more features.
Official website


Krusader - Another powerful file manager for KDE, Krusader has an interface similar to Midnight Commander, starting by default with two panels (the so-called 'twin panel' mode).
Official website


Dolphin - The new file manager in KDE4, Dolphin aims to be easy to use and provides basic features for file management. Although the official homepage claims that Dolphin focuses on usability, I found it harder to use than Konqueror or Xfe, for example. But since I don't use it much, I guess that's just because I'm not used to it yet.
Official website


Nautilus - Default file manager in GNOME, praised by some and criticised by others, Nautilus has a simplistic interface, being powerful enough in the same time. Although currently it doesn't support tabs, Nautilus includes lots of other useful features and it can be extended through scripts.
Official website


Xfe - A nice little file manager rich enough in features, with an intuitive interface, the X File Explorer is built with the FOX graphical interface toolkit. Full review here.
Official website


Thunar - Default file manager in Xfce, in my opinion Thunar is just like Nautilus in every way.
Official website


ROX-Filer - Although ROX-Filer has a minimal interface, it provides many features and configuration options.
Official website


PCManFM - Built in Gtk, PCManFM is clean and features tabs, which makes some users prefer it over Nautilus. Full review here.
Official website


Midnight Commander - File manager using TUI (Text User Interface) which means it doesn't need X to run. I honestly never saw the point in using a file manager when in command line, but some prefer it over plain commands.
Official website

43 comments:

Heso said...

I was wondering as I red if you're gonna include Midnight Commander and I'm glad you did.

Perhaps its popularity is explained by its versatility. For one thing, it can be used both at the command line (which means over SSH too) and on a graphical desktop. You can learn to use one file manager and you can use it all the time everywhere, I think that's an advantage.

Why use it in the command line? Because it has all kinds of features that can help you work faster. It doubles as a SFTP and FTP client, it has unified histories for directories, directory shortcuts, the panels are adjustable to multiple views at the touch of a key, it has name quicksearch for dirs with many files, a file finder that can also search for content (with regexps if you want), you can tag and copy/move/delete files quickly and I for one absolutely love its move and rename dialogue, which can use a very powerful combination of regexp and shell wildcards. Not to mention it also comes with a "smart" file viewer (it renders HTML files, for instance, not shows you the source) and with a syntax highlighting file editor.

It's not that poorly suited for the graphical desktop either. Sure, its main strength is being able to control it completely by keyboard, but it can be used with a mouse, it has themable color schemes, it puts the current dir in the window title, it adapts to whatever window size and fonts you wish to use, and it has file associations, which means you can click on a file and it will be opened with the appropriate application just as a graphical file manager would do.

Louis said...

Gnome-commander ?

dgoemans said...

I really advise giving dolphin another shot, its truly a great file manager. Agreed its very different to konq, but when u move away from konq style of file management ( which is great once u get used to it, but isnt really focused on file management ), dolphin is awesome to use.

Anonymous said...

I've never been partial to Konquerer, but I'm warming up to Dolphin. It like how you can easily do many of the things that are difficult or impossible with the other file managers (SCP, twin-panel view, integrated actions).

BTW, Midnight Commander works perfect for my remote logins to my server. I could just use the cp and mv commands, but when you're transferring a few GB's, you would like to have a progress report.

Marko said...

I'm missing the gnome commander. Especially when reading "file managers".

eldarion said...

Konqueror - Default file manager in KDE3, Konqueror was replaced by Dolphin in KDE4.

Konqueror was NOT replaced by Dolphin in KDE4. In KDE4 people can choose between Konqueror and Dolphin as file manager.

Anonymous said...

It seems the term "powerful" is vastly overused ...

Compared to a truly powerful File Manager like SpeedCommander (OK, it's a Windows app, but still) no Linux variant comes even remotely close.

Too bad that porting the SC is a complete no-go :( Mainly because starting from scratch would be faster and more efficient ...

Ivo Limmen said...

Too bad you missed 'worker' this file manager is almost a direct image of the old 'Directory Opus'.

Anonymous said...

I use Thunar everyday, and it feels way lighter than Nautilus.

Have you tried the personalized actions configurator, or the batch file renaming function? They're great time-savers.

warnaud said...

There's also emelfm2 which is really great (http://emelfm2.net/ )

Anonymous said...

There's over a hundred you left out :)

http://www.linuxlinks.com/Software/Utilities/File_Managers/

thezerox said...

I used midnight commander on Linux and I use it now on Mac OS X, too.

Anonymous said...

Went trought the list and the comments but I did not find my favorite File Manager and it is "gentoo" http://www.obsession.se/gentoo/. I used to use it on icewm now I use it with kde3

gdltek1 said...

The greatest thing about Linux and Open Source is CHOICE! Compared to Windows where you have to hunt and search for a suitable replacement to the abomination known as Explorer, most dekstop distros come with at least two FM's installed and a bunch more readily and freely available. Though honestly, for my personal choice Konqueror is just about the end all and be all of graphical FM's. I've yet to experience anything that can't be done with it locally or remotely, natively or with extensions. Of all these, Konqueror is by far the most versatile, confurable and powerful of hte bunch IMNSHO.

kenjiru said...

You forgot gnome-commander.

I know it has a very slow development, but it works.

TimOttinger said...

Thunar and Konqueror for me.

Anonymous said...

Norton Commander -> Dos Navigator -> Midnight commander.

This is the way of the samurai :)

M said...

@gdltek1, your statement would be easily disputed by anybody that used windows app called Total Commander.
There is no file manager that is faster or more capable than it. Miles ahead of anything else(even Directory Opus which tries to do too much of everything).

Anonymous said...

At the times of MsDos i used to love XTree as a File Manager. No wonder I am now using both Krusader and MC. The look&feel are quite similar.
MC is a must have for any beginner with Linux who tries his first hacks or goes into X configuration files: everybody made his X environment unusable or instable at least once!

broog said...

The only real FM under Linux is Krusader. Gnome-commander will get there in a few years. MC should have been there by now, but it's not. Most of the people think that copying and moving, occasional delete and seldom folder making is file managing. Well, it's not.

Archiving, synchro, sinc-browsing, sorting, FTP/SAMBA with SFTP/SCP, VFS, advanced search, scripting, useractions, single press shortcuts, extended FS info, disk usage, single step mounting/unmounting, file/folder comparison, checksums ...

That's file management!
And users not familiar with twin-panel FMs, shouldn't comment on FM anyway. They just don't know.

Giobertox said...

MC is unbeatable
-there is NO ONE other manager that allows you to modify a file inside a package in a remote machine
-learn this and u can use everywhere
-it can do everything



Even MuCommander is nice

Ciao

Anonymous said...

Which one is the less ugly of them ?

Anonymous said...

I don't see the end-all, be-all thing as a positive. That's why I like Rox. It's the first thing I get onto a new installation. It gives me a lot of options for simply dealing with my files. OK, so it can't mess with compressed files on a remote desktop, but really, how often does your average user need that kind of functionality. I'm glad it's there for admins and people doing unusual things, but for 99 percent of file management you don't need a fire truck. You need a mini. Rox is a mini: small, fast, good looking, easy to drive.

renick said...

worker is crazy fast. on my pentium m 1.7 it boots almost instantly (less than 1 second), despite being packed with features. highly recommended.

http://www.boomerangsworld.de/worker/

Anonymous said...

emacs: C-x d

Anonymous said...

All great.
One feature I would like to have is an "rsync" feature to update 2 directories - with ease (e.g. rightclick -> Actions -> rsync in Konqueror)

Jiri said...

MC is the best file manager! I use KDE, but no GUI file manager. I always run konsole and MC inside. It is really the best file manager ever!

Anonymous said...

My in the holy hell would you even need nine different file managers? Choosing from nine crap-ass managers isn't much of a choice. But then, the same can be said for any Linux desktop distro.

Yonah said...

Ha ha ha. Krusader. It sounds like "Crusader", but it's spelled with a "K" instead of a "C". This works though, because both letters make the same sound. Amazing! What will they think of next?

uray said...

Lusers (Linux Users) think they have so many file manager, so many desktop manager, so many distros.. is the great things about Linux, its sucks!

Anonymous said...

What is the purpose of this list? I mean, just search wikipedia and you get a far more comprehensive overview.

Anonymous said...

Bash along some coreutils is the best filemanager :)

blackbelt_jones said...

Alas, poor Konqueror!

Once the center of the KDE desktop, The mightiest of file managers apparently no longer rates a release announcement on its own KDE-hosted webpage!

Like KDE4, I am open to arguments that Dolphin (or "Flipper", as I like to call it) is somehow better than Konqueror, but when people say it's "simpler", I just want to shake my head and change the subject.

The great thing about Konqueror as a file manager is that because it's a web browser and a file manager, I can create a homepage for Konqueror that can perform file management tasks with html links.


Flipper, u can't touch this!


As far as I'm concerned, KDE without Konqueror is like the Doors without Jim Morrison. Right now, the filter bar has been removed from Konqueror, which weakens it as a file manager, and that alone is enough for me to keep using KDE 3 for the next 20 years. On the other hand, I recently saw something in a forum about how Konqueror in KDE4 is being built to facilitate the writing of extensions-- and that alone may turn me into a born-again KDE4 fanboy.

Anonymous said...

I cast my vote for:

M-x dired-mode
or
C-x d

(in GNU Emacs)

a few sentence feature blurb, as that seems to be the format of comments on this post:

Blazingly fast and efficient (it runs off of ls -** switches that are customizable) runs from the terminal, ssh or X11 with thumbnail image previews obviously with the mouse being optional (as any decent file manager should not require the mouse). What sets it apart from the rest: it is very easy to customize and automate because it is written in Emacs Lisp, an extensible programming language, rather than a solid compiled chunk of 01010110...

gdltek1 said...

M,

I concede that if you are stuck using a POS (Proprietary OS) like Windows, then indeed Total Commander is an excellent and free option that is available. I have used it quie a bit myself when I find myself stranded in the winworld.

However, as nice and feature rich as TC is, it still IMO does not hold a candle to Konqueror on Linux. The things one can do with Konq simply boggle the imagination. The integration with the KDE desktop is flawless, it's configurability is the stuff of legend. I guess it's really one of those "You have to see it to believe it" kind of things. However if you are limited to Windows, I guess that's just not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

None of these fine applications addresses the needs of multi-terabyte file collections, as is increasingly seen in academic research.

We call them "file managers" but they are really "directory browsers." A real file manager would actually manage the underlying sub-directory structure, balancing trees or moving files according to specified naming standards.

Then, it would index these files, making them accessible via a simply Google-like search field. Typing a query would display a selection of files in the archive, not just one directory. This display would "scope" as the query becomes more specific.

A highlighted and selected file would then be viewed in a browse panel capable of displaying every known text, word processing, PDF and PPT-like format. (Such toolkits were common in the ancient world of DOS, so they must still be achievable.)

Now *that* would be a "file manager!"

Anonymous said...

For those coming to Linux from the Windows platform, XFE will have a zero learning curve. It is highly similar to Windows' Explorer.

Anonymous said...

@gdltek1: Even if you're stuck in Windows, you can still use Midnight Commander... http://freenet-homepage.de/franco.bez/mc/mc.html

nikhil bhardwaj said...

no one uses PCMan its the default with lxde and i was pleasently surprized by how light it was and it has all the features of a modern file manager.
Midnight Commander is ugly and useless
people say learn it but how i thought it was an ftp client but couldnt transfer a thing. Yes im not a complete moron. You may disagree on that one though

Anonymous said...

Hi,
If you're looking for Total Commander on Linux, try EmelFM2. It's not as feature rich yet, but it is growing! And it is *fast*, it's not built upon the KDE libs.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I like to use both Nautilus and emelfm2. I use emelfm2 for certain jobs -- I like that it's double-paned and there's an easy way to copy/paste and buttons to mirror the other pane. Nautilus comes in handy when it comes to cds/dvds -- I find that it automatically detects and mounts devices much better than any other file manager I've used. I don't like Konqueror or Dolphin much as I've used them in Kubuntu and found them to be unreliable/unstable. I rarely ever have nautilus or emelfm2 crash.

blackbelt_jones said...

Quote:
"Lusers (Linux Users) think they have so many file manager, so many desktop manager, so many distros.. is the great things about Linux, its sucks!"

Wow, I guess he sure put us in our place!

Some of us are Lusers...
And some of us are just plain losers.

I'm getting used to Dolphin now. It's a nice streamlined reimagining of some of Konqueror's best features.
Buy Gold WOW!

creativesumant said...

As if to further prove the ultra-flexibility of Linux, Echoes takes a brief look at 9 file managers for Linux, both well-known and obscure. Accompanied by comments on strengths, screenshots and homepage links, the article provides a quick guide for Linux users looking for a better file management interface.


Recently I just came across a good article on "Linux"
Here is its link.