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Community: Krusader on the Move

Jun 09, 2005, 04:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matej Urbančič)

Yes, the stable Krusader 1.60.0 is out! In mid-December 2004, the Krusader Krew surprised everyone with the release of Krusader 1.51 and then four months later, the next major iteration of the innovative file manager was also released.

An easy calculation shows that the "Krusader Krew" can produce up to four major upgrades a year, which puts the Krusader package among the most updated open source projects available today.

If Total Commander (TC) is the standard for Windows "orthodox file managers" (OFM's), then Krusader has definitely become the standard on the Linux OS with new features and functionality being added and improvements made to existing features each and every week! The effect of rapid development shows also on kde-apps web page where users rated krusader as second best.

The most prominent thing about the new Krusader release is the way the "Krew" have been connecting Krusader with the Windows world. A lot of enhancements inspired by TC functionality have been added to the new Krusader for easier migration to the Linux environment for former Windows users.

Krusader can now import and export color schemes and comes with several already pre-configured, among which you can find the TC color scheme to provide a familiar "look and feel"; the better to make Linux even easier to get used to than it already is now.

Besides the new color schemes, there are additional custom keyboard and mouse selection modes introduced in Version 1.60.0. At present, there are four different selection modes. The default mode is the standard used by most file managers, allowing the use of the Shift or Ctrl key to select multiple files as a group or individually.

Another file selection method, previously used on the NeXT and Macintosh platforms, uses holding the right mouse button pressed while dragging the pointer over the files, thus selecting files the mouse passes over or unmarking files already selected. All these modes can be easily set in Konfigurator. This ability to have a personalized system makes the transition from Windows to Linux even easier and also enables near total customization of all aspects of the User Interface. This is a great convenience for "regular" users, and a real benefit for users with special needs, and users in industrial and "non-desktop" environments.

With this release of Krusader, the need for a Linux TC port has become obsolete! The Krusader Krew showed once more that they can satisfy user requests, feedback, and "fine tuning"; and make significant product innovations simultaneously!

Perhaps the most major enhancement of the Krusader is the "User Actions" system, which was incrementally introduced in the past few releases. User Actions are user specified scripts for common tasks or file operations. These scripts are already readily available via the Right-Click Menu, but with new version can also now be added to the Special Actions Toolbar that resides below the Menu, or even as common User Menu entries.

The Special Actions Toolbar can also utilize Bookmarks! This combination of functionality, easily at hand, makes Krusader 1.6 the most User Friendly file manager available for Linux! The biggest advantage of the User Action scripts is that they can be easily added or modified, and you do not have to be a programmer to work with them! But if you happen to be a programmer, the "User Actions" dialog allows for quick and easy import, export, or advanced editing of scripts and batch files. In depth information about using and writing your own User Actions can be found in Krusader Handbook.

The main idea behind the "User Actions" system is to streamline recurring tasks that can be very complex, and needing to be executed in several steps. Yet these tasks are, by definition, unique to each user and each environment. How does a programming team address such a need usefully? The innovative User Actions scripting system allows users to execute any task, regardless how complex, in a single click or keystroke (using the Keyboard Shortcut functionality, built into Krusader)!

The next major enhancement is the enhanced and updated functionality of The "Synchronizer", "Popular URLs", "Searcher", and The Bookmark System. These four riders take a similar approach in usage and are functionally connected.

"Popular URLs" is functionally similar to "Bookmarks", but contains a weighting system to rank the URLs actually visited, whether you have assigned the URL a Bookmark or not! In "Popular URLs", the URLs are not stored in a "bookmark view" but have ranked entries based on visitation frequency drawn from the History file. The "Popular URLs" feature is particularly helpful for online research, programming projects, and for those who use the Internet in their daily work. You can "pick up where you left off" without having to bookmark dozens of pages that you may not visit regularly after the current project is completed. The "Popular URLs" list is, by design, dynamic, and self-updating! This type of listing has many advantages over "regular" bookmarks for speed and reviewing, and enables the overall Bookmark System to manage local and remote, and temporary and permanent, web destinations in a more organized, granular, efficient manner.

This "Popular URLs" submenu holds only the most popular local or remote links. It displays the ranked URLs, placing the most frequently used web locations at the top of the list. This is very useful when you need to visit URLs, but don't want to necessarily create lasting bookmarks for every visited page. Links are refreshed automatically, in the background, for remote or local URLs, objects, and archives.

One of the innovative new benefits of the new Bookmark and Popular URLs managers is using KDE's built-in services to store passwords. The BookmarkSystem uses the well known, and very stable, KeditBookmarks to handle and manage your connections. The Bookmark System also supports two panel locations for "by-hand" synchronization while the synchronizer tries to automatically resolve the differences for the user by giving him a series of suggested options for updating.

The new Synchronizer can now exclude directories from comparison and can also pause and resume synchronization with kget. Synchronization also works with the User Actions system, giving additional power to that already advanced functionality. It is possible to include more files in the file filter by simply separating them with a space, and to exclude files by separating them with a pipe character '|' in the file filter. This feature is combined with Searcher functionality that can now also take files to the listbox with virtual folders. In addition, you can assign a collection-name to any group of files for later recall and manipulation!

Virtual Filesystems are basically a container for URL's from different file systems used in the "feed to listbox" feature of the search module. Actions that are performed on the "Virtual Filesystem" files are performed on the real files, wherever they reside. This means that deleting files from the "Virtual FS" also deletes them from your hard drive, NFS drive, etc.! The "Virtual Filesystem" is only virtual in that it makes files from different locations and media appear to be in one "virtual" location, with Krusader mediating the details of how to "get to" each specific file to carry out the desired file operations ordered by the User.

On the other hand, Virtual Folders *do not* work with the actual files, but rather with virtual files and only the last action manipulates the files. Check the Krusader Handbook for more details on the distinctions between these two "virtual" file management features.

The most fascinating implementation, in terms of usage, that comes with the new release is "Disk Usage", based on the Filelight. The Disk Usage feature shows you how your disk space is being used, using a graphical representation of your file system. There are several viewing options: The "Overview" is possible in simple line view where occupied space is color-coded and ranked, the "Detailed View" contains additional information about files and folders, and finally "Filelight View", which shows a set of concentric segmented-rings representing your entire filesystem.

The biggest advantage of "Disk Usage" is the ability to set the starting point of the display tree. Any user on the system can easily check how much space his files occupy while Administrators (root) can easily check how much space individual users are using on the system. The "Ringed View" is also useful for a quick overview of the server directory structure. Disk Usage can be executed as a stand-alone function, or from inside the 3rd panel of Krusader.

Other minor updates were primarily focused on flexibility and customization of Krusader in response to user and Krew feedback and observations, such as, the ability to change the columns by simply right clicking on the panel's header. This was a long-awaited feature in twin panel file managers; and came to life in parallel with Krusader's Windows rival, Total Commander! Another long awaited feature is a new red desktop icon that starts Krusader as root. The "Third Hand" panel, which takes multimedia, disk usage and info, now includes a full viewer! The File deleting functionality is more refined, with advanced Shift-Del that permanently deletes files without sending them into the trash can. Splitter now has predefined 650MB and 700MB CD-R sizes for faster dividing, and packing. Archive Unpacking is now possible to and from remote URLs.

Additional minor, but significant, new features include the "Konfigurator Tool Tips" that assist beginners and provide easier navigation. The Tool Tips are now translated into 21 languages!

A reliable, easy to use, "two-panel file manager" is probably the most important part of any operating system for non-experts and experts alike. It's so important that all newer distros include at least one of them as an option. Market leaders like RedHat, SUSE, Mandrake, and Debian include up to four twin-panel file managers in their distributions!

With the introduction of Krusader 1.5, and now the even more powerful Krusader 1.60.0, the "twin-panel file manager" is becoming so powerful that one could make a rational decision to switch windowing environments just to obtain the functionality of Krusader! I have read some forum wars on how the environment itself is the key for such a successful work. I need to remind those battling, that teamwork is the key to Krusader, and not just the operating system or the window manager that the app is running on.

The Krusader team is second to none in terms of innovation, testing, responsiveness to our users, tight and logical integration of features, and overall product quality. Give Krusader 1.60.0 a try and you will see why I believe that Krusader is the very best twin-panel file manager available for any Operating System and for every computer user's needs. You can grab the tarballs, rpms and debs on Krusader's download page.

The krew is still looking for a MAC OS X port maintainer and anyone is welcome to join and take the job. There is still room for new developers, fresh ideas, solutions, and maintainers, if you want to join. Please visit the Krusader's help section page or Krusader's handbook for more information.

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