Best Free and Open Source Navigation Tools

9 Best Free and Open Source Command Line Navigation Tools

The desktop environment with its bundle of programs sharing a common graphical user interface (GUI) remains a firm favorite with users. Not surprising really given that a good desktop environment makes computing fun and simple. The graphical desktop environment has become so ingrained in almost everyone’s computer activities that it might seem the command line will wither away. Yet, there is still an important role to play for the humble command-line interface (CLI).

Command-Line InterfaceThe CLI provides a way of interacting with a computer program where the user (or client) issues commands to the program in the form of successive lines of text (command lines). This way, the user gains full control over the operating system. There are many advantages in using a CLI application. They are generally frugal in using system resources, they are fast in operation, offer great scripting opportunities, and can be extremely powerful and flexible. Typing commands into a terminal or the console may appear mundane, but with the right tools, the command line can be incredibly powerful.

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.

The cd command is a command-line OS shell command used to change the current working directory. A directory is a logical section of a file system used to hold files. Directories may also contain other directories. The cd command can be used to change into a subdirectory, move back into the parent directory, move all the way back to the root directory or move to any given directory.

The purpose of this article is to identify some tiny but useful tools that complement the cd command. They help users to navigate faster around the filesystem, and increase productivity when using the shell. We feature 9 tools each with their own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Here’s our recommendations.

Best Free and Open Source CLI Navigation Tools

Shell tools
fzfCommand-line fuzzy finder for your shell
McFlyNavigate through your shell history
zMaintains a jump-list of the directories you actually use
autojumpOffers a fast way to navigate your filesystem
z.luaHelps you navigate faster by learning your habits
HSTRBash and zsh shell history suggest box
fasdCommand-line productivity booster. It seeks inspiration from autojump, z and v
fzySimple, fast fuzzy finder for the terminal
vz for vim

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, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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