File Managers

16 Best Free and Open Source Orthodox Linux File Managers

A file manager is software that provides a user interface to undertake file management activities with file systems. Common operations performed on files or groups of files include create, open, rename, move, copy, delete, search/find, edit, view print, play, as well as modify file attributes, properties and file permissions. The file manager is one of those essential applications for many users which is almost impossible to function without. Linux is blessed with a good range of file managers that help to make file management a breeze.

There are a number of different types of file managers, with some stark differences. The most common file managers that we see are navigational file managers, orthodox file managers, and web-based file managers. The less popular types include file-list, spatial, and 3D file managers. The purpose of this article is to examine the finest open source orthodox file managers that are available for the Linux platform.

The most immediately apparent characteristic of orthodox file managers is that they have three windows, with the majority of screen space being taken up by two panels which are positioned symmetrically at the top of the screen. The panels are resizable and can be hidden. Files in the active panel serve as the source of file operations performed by the manager. The orthodox file manager also has a command line, which is essentially a command shell that can be expanded.

Orthodox file managers are one of the older families of file managers. This scheme is very effective where the keyboard is the main or sole input device. While the first impression of an orthodox file manager can be negative, many users, after learning the key bindings, find them much faster and more efficient in use, especially when doing intensive file management.

Our ratings chart captures our recommended orthodox file managers. They are all free and open source goodness.

Ratings chart

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

Orthodox File Managers
KrusaderAdvanced twin panel (commander style) file manager for KDE
Midnight CommanderUser-friendly yet powerful text-mode file manager and visual shell
Double CommanderInspired by Total Commander
RangerFile manager with an ncurses frontend written in Python
GNOME CommanderBuilt on the GTK-toolkit and GnomeVFS
XfeVery similar to Windows Explorer but with twin panes
SunflowerSmall and highly customizable twin-panel file manager
muCommanderLightweight, cross-platform file manager
trolCommanderFork of muCommander
File CommanderTotal Commander-like orthodox file manager
Tux CommanderUses the old GTK2 windowing toolkit
FileRunnerSimple and efficient file manager written in Tcl
WCMCommanderMimicking the look-n-feel of Far Manager
WorkerIn the style of the Amiga's DirOpus
emelFM2Orthodox file manager using GTK+ 2
gentooTwo-pane file manager

There are some navigational file managers which offer split-pane views. Three notable examples are Konqueror, Nautilus and Dolphin.

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5 months ago

Very good article. Thank you.

4 months ago

Lots of options here to choose