Choosing A File Manager To Use

Sep 15, 2008

Most computer users today are spoiled by the richness of the graphical user interfaces or GUI. In Linux, we have dozens of desktop environments that compete against each other for dominance. Right now, GNOME seems to be winning. However, accessing servers remotely using the same desktop environment puts a heavy demand on the network connection. This is one of the reasons why mastering the command-line interface (CLI) is an added ammo in a system administrator's arsenal. Frankly, it is a must-have in my book.

Anyway, using the CLI does not necessarily have to be too tedious specially when dealing with file management, e.g. moving files from one subdirectory to another, etc. The task is made simpler by a file manager named Midnight Commander (after the popular DOS utility, Norton Commander).

Installation is as simple as invoking "sudo apt-get install mc". It should not take that long to download and install. has a short walk-through of what you can do with Midnight Commander.

Also, it is useful especially for new Linux users or those who are simply not comfortable using the command-line interface (CLI).

Since I am a CLI-user, I find that Midnight Commander, a Norton Commander look-alike, useful especially when deleting selected files or transferring selected files from one subdirectory to another.

The choice of File Manager is really a personal issue. The selection of a file manager is a highly personal decision. For most users, Midnight Commander is probably the command-line choice that is quickest to learn. Few users will want to use one of the generic file managers unless they are already familiar with it from another Unix-like operating system. Of the modern file managers, Konqueror the most satisfactory, so much so that otherwise dedicated GNOME users have been known to install KDE mainly so that they can use it.

However, for those who have always relied on file managers, the first choice has to be Krusader. Combining the centralized functionality of earlier generations with the look and feel of modern applications, Krusader is by far the most complete of the file managers I've mentioned.

Depending on your priorities, you might settle on another choice, but it's worth taking the time to explore your options. For many users, the choice of a file manager remains nearly as important as the choice of an editor is to a developer. A file manager can't force you to organize your files, but the right one can help you keep them that way.