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Community: Krusader: File Manager for Almost-Geeks

Dec 01, 2004, 01:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matej Urbančič)

[ Thanks to Matej Urbancic for this article. ]

Most graphical operating systems use single-window file management as their default. The reason might lie in the idea that most of their users prefer using a mouse over a keyboard.

On the other hand, real geeks use the command line, since that way they won't have to bury themselves in thousands of opened windows. Programmers found out ages ago that there can be a middle path for the file management. Thus, the two-panel paradigm was born and it has its own philosophy: orthodox file management or OFM.

While Norton Commander ruled the past and Total Commander may rule the Windows world, there is still no real winner on Mac and *nix systems. I will not go into the Mac since I'm not an OS X user, but for *nix users, there might be a good explanation for this lack of OFM applications.

Not long ago, all *nix users were all geeks--only in recent days have ordinary users started looking at open alternatives. Among these ordinary users there are a lot of so-called power-users that can do sharp things, but still need a GUI to feel comfortable. Windows already had this special group of users, while Linux is still battling for them.

The open source community serves a lot of commander-type applications, but none of them yet prevailed. The reason might be because of dispersed programming where, everyone rather starts his own project in his spare time, then joins a software group with a decently evolved program.

One such group that was established for such a purpose and which will probably prevail on KDE, is the Krusader Krew. Their manager project, called Krusader, is an advanced two-panel commander-style file manager for KDE with two panels, command line, predefined function buttons and extensive keyboard shortcuts, terminal emulator, and robust icons on the toolbar.

Krusader has the standard look and feel of all OFMs on every OS. What makes it special in the Linux world is not these standard features, but many extras. Krusader supported tabbed panels even before its Windows rival did, as well as extensive archive handling, user mounting, SMB and FTP protocols, advanced search, directory synchronization, file content comparisons, powerful batch renaming, and on-key root mode. It is (almost) completely customizable, fast and looks great on your desktop, as the authors put it.

Krusader is getting complete, but its authors have even more tricks up their sleeves.

In mid July, Krusader 1.40 introduced file splitter, directory synchronization, quick search, folder history, and color support for different file types. Three months later in 1.50, which is still hot, preview popup panel for quick view of media files and documents came to life and customizable panel looks were added. User actions gave users the power to personalize and automate work and sync-browsing and panel profiles made a work and customization a breeze.

An in-depth look at Krusader shows some interesting solution possibilities. The GUI is quite colorful and most of the icons combine mouse or keyboard features. Krusader has right-clickable context menus that allow you to do fast operations with the mouse, too. The most important context features can be used to discover the available commands. The most useful ones compare directories and file contents. In combination with synchronization, this makes Krusader a powerful tool.

The developers have also made it easy to send a file as an attachment through email.

Krusader has an implementation of internal viewer called KrViewer, which can handle different file formats and actually uses Konqueror code. This means that it can view every file type viewable by Konqueror. When the file type cannot be determined or when a file is not associated to any action, it disables the 'generic viewer' and the file is treated as a text file. Viewing dovetails well with editing. Krusader's internal editor has almost everything what you can expect of an editor.

Krusader is deeply integrated with KDE. This might be the only real drawback for users that use GNOME, XFce, or other desktop environments, but in the apt-get world even that is not a problem, since all dependencies get resolved instantly.

This short review cannot completely show the whole usefulness of this application. If you want more information, you can join the Krusader forum or browse their extensive documentation site.

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