11 Best Free and Open Source GTK File Managers

In the field of desktop environments, there are two desktops that dominate the open source landscape: KDE and GNOME. They are smart, stable, and generally stay out of the way.

While KDE is more customizable than GNOME, both offer a lot of flexibility. For example, the best GNOME extensions and KDE widgets improve the desktop experience. At the basis of the main KDE technologies is Qt, a free and open source widget toolkit. And at the heart of GNOME is the free and open source GTK toolkit.

GTK is a very popular toolkit. Offering a complete set of widgets, GTK is suitable for projects ranging from small tools to comprehensive application suites. GTK is mainly developed by The GNOME Project, which also develops the GNOME Development Platform and the GNOME Desktop Environment.

This article selects the finest GTK file managers. Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart. Only free and open source software is eligible for inclusion.

Ratings chart

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each file manager.

GTK File Managers
Double CommanderFile manager with two panels side by side
PCManFMSlim and useful, but not to have any feature bloat
FilesFile browser designed for elementary OS; loose fork of GNOME Files
GNOME FilesSimple file manager for GNOME
GNOME CommanderTwo-panel graphical file manager
4PaneMulti-pane, detailed-list file manager
SunflowerSmall and highly customizable twin-panel file manager
Tux CommanderWindowed file manager with two panels side by side
Thunarxfce’s file manager
A couple of GNOME Files forks are also worth mentioning.
NemoFile manager for the Cinnamon desktop environment
CajaFile manager for the MATE desktop
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

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Donna M
Donna M
1 month ago

I’m not keen on any of these GTK file managers to be honest. I much prefer Krusader

1 month ago

You missed

SpaceFM, a fork of PCmanFM, with smaller footprint, lower memory usage, and the ability to have four panels.

You ALSO missed ZZZfm, which is an EVEN SMALLER fork of SpaceFM – it’s *very* fast, with very few dependencies.

Last edited 1 month ago by PastorEdB