Utilities

Excellent Utilities: broot – next gen tree explorer and customizable launcher

This is a series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides.

The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. To harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended mastering the interface. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources.

The part of the operating system responsible for managing files and directories is called the file system. It organizes our data into files, which hold information, and directories (also called ‘folders’), which hold files or other directories.

One of the commands that help visualize your file system is tree, a command that list contents of directories in a tree-like format. One of the issues with tree is that the output is unwieldy with large directories. Step forward broot, a utility that gives an overview of a directory, and much much more.

Installation

There’s lots of ways of installing broot.

Unless you’re a Rust developer, we recommend that you don’t install the Rust development environment. Instead, we recommend installing a precompiled binary.

We downloaded the precompiled binary for Linux. Move the binary to /usr/local/bin and make it executable with the commands:

$ wget https://dystroy.org/broot/download/x86_64-linux/broot
$ mv broot /usr/local/bin
$ chmod u+x broot

We also tested broot using a vanilla Ubuntu 21.04 installation. cargo and build-essential packages aren’t installed by default. Rectify that with the command:

$ sudo apt install cargo build-essential

Next we install broot using cargo.

$ cargo install broot

One further step is that you’ll need to ensure ~/.cargo/bin is in your PATH. The variable $PATH is set by your shell every time it launches, but you can set it so that it always includes your new path with every new shell you open. The exact way to do this depends on which shell you’re running.

For the bash shell we follow these steps:

  • Open the .bashrc file in our home directory (~/.bashrc) in a text editor.
  • Add export PATH=”~/.cargo/bin:$PATH”to the last line of the file.
  • Save the .bashrc file.
  • Restart the terminal (or run the command source .bashrc).

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Summary


Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
AbricotineMarkdown editor with inline preview functionality
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
fkillKill processes quick and easy
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
exaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
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