5 Best Alternative Free Linux File Managers

Reinventing the wheel is frequently cited as a barrier to the development of open source software. Critics point out if developers worked together on projects, instead of duplicating software that already exists, this would help to simplify matters for users, and actually significantly advance the development of established open source projects. There is an element of truth that development time is wasted, and it is not hard to identify examples of developers reinventing the wheel in their code, rather than contribute their development skills to projects with broadly similar objectives.

However, one of the strengths of Linux is the vast array of choice. Having the opportunity to select from a gamut of software and select the ones that meet my needs works very well. Having hundreds of open source text editors, file managers, integrated development environments, backup tools, databases, web browsers, FTP clients increases the likelihood of applications existing that really do what I want them to do. Further, even where a developer simply reinvents the wheel by creating a very simple application he or she still learns important lessons from the programming experience. The simple open source text editor or sticky notes utility may lay the foundation blocks for a developer to create something more groundbreaking in the future.

Irrespective of the operating system used, the file manager is one of those essential applications for many users which is almost impossible to function without. Linux is blessed with a large range of file managers which help to make file management a breeze. Our File Manager Group Test identified mature, polished file managers. However, for this feature, we wanted to select alternative file managers which are definitely worth trying but may have been missed given that they receive little coverage in Linux publications, and are not included or installed by default in mainstream Linux distributions. Some of the applications are still in an early stage of development.

One application that is not included in this list but is worthy of a mention is Codename Nemo. We particularly like Codename Nemo for its innovative approach to file management. Unfortunately, the application does not appear to be under active development.

Now, let’s explore the 5 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, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

File Managers
SpaceFMMulti-panel tabbed file manager with built-in VFS, udev-based
gentooPowerful two-pane file manager
MarlinSleek and fast GTK3 file manager
Eagle ModeZoomable user interface with plugin applications
Beesoft CommanderTwo-panel orthodox file manager

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Corel, and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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