Midnight Commander

5 Top Console Linux File Managers

Last Updated on February 7, 2019

This page is of historic interest only. It has been replaced by Excellent Console Linux File Managers.

It is unquestionably the case that only a small percentage of Linux users would be truly satisfied not having access to a graphical user interface. The graphical desktop environment has become so ingrained in almost everyone’s computer activities. Nevertheless, even in 2012 there are many reasons why console based applications have an important part to play.

Command-Line InterfaceConsole based applications abound in almost every category of software. Obviously, these applications do not depend on X Windows, and can therefore be used where a system does not have a desktop environment, such as a server. Console based tools are typically fast in operation, and consume less resources which is helpful for older or slower computers. Additionally, they can be extremely powerful and flexible, and are ideal for scripting purposes.

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.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 5 high quality console based free file managers. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wishes to revel in the power of the command-line.

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, screenshot, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Console File Managers
Midnight CommanderUser-friendly yet powerful orthodox file manager
RangerFile manager with an ncurses frontend written in Python
Vifmncurses based file manager with vi like keybindings
Last File Manager1 or 2 pane Python based file manager
Necromancer's Dos NavigatorClone of the famous "Norton Commander"
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.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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