A console application is computer software which can be used with a text-only computer interface, the command line interface, or a text-based interface included within a graphical user interface operating system, such as a terminal emulator (such as GNOME Terminal or the aforementioned Terminator). Whereas a graphical user interface application generally involves using the mouse and keyboard (or touch control), with a console application the primary (and often only) input method is the keyboard. Many console applications are command line tools, but there is a wealth of software that has a text-based user interface making use of ncurses, a library which allow programmers to write text-based user interfaces.
Console based applications are light on system resources (very useful on low specified machines), can be faster and more efficient than their graphical counterparts, they do not stop working when X is restarted, and are perfect for scripting purposes. When designed well, console applications offer a surprisingly improvement in productivity. The applications are leaner, faster, easier to maintain, and remove the need to have installed a whole raft of libraries.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a very famous quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist. This quote is particularly pertinent to Linux. In my view, one of Linux’s biggest strengths is its synergy. The usefulness of Linux doesn’t derive only from the huge raft of open source (command line) utilities. Instead, it’s the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with larger applications.
So what does the command-line offer users. There is a wide range of console based software which provide the same or similar functionality to their graphical equivalents. In the field of system administration, Linux is blessed with a good range of graphical file managers. However, some users are in their comfort zone managing files from the shell, finding it the fastest way to navigate the file system and perform file operations. This is in part because console based file managers are more keyboard friendly, enabling users to perform file operations without using a mouse, and make it quicker to navigate the filesystem and issue commands in the console at the same time.
Some people may prefer to use the shell instead of a console file manager. We covered some great tools that let you navigate the file system quickly – check out 7 Best Command Line Navigation Tools.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 7 high quality console based open source file managers. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wishes to revel in the power of the console.
Here’s our verdict on the file managers.
Now, let’s explore the 7 file managers at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshot, together with links to relevant resources.
|Console File Managers|
|Midnight Commander||User-friendly yet powerful orthodox file manager|
|nnn||Fast and flexible file manager|
|Ranger||File manager with an ncurses frontend written in Python|
|lf||Terminal file manager heavily inspired by ranger|
|Vifm||ncurses based file manager with vi like keybindings|
|Last File Manager||1 or 2 pane Python based file manager|
|WCM Commander||A Far Manager clone|
|New to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series.|
|The largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Supplied with our legendary ratings charts.|
|Hundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software.|
|Alternatives to Google's Products and Services examines your options to migrate from the Google ecosystem with open source Linux alternatives.|
|Alternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services recommends open source Linux software.|
|Alternatives to Adobe Cloud is a new series looking at free and open source alternatives to products available from Adobe Cloud's subscription service.|
|Essential Linux system tools looks at small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.|
|Linux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.|
|Home computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.|
|Now and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years.|
|Linux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.|
|Linux Candy opens up to the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun!|
|Best Free Android Apps. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series|
|These best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language|
|These free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to the free programming books series|
|Stars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA|