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Old 01-02-2011, 05:38 AM   #1
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file managers: orthodox vs explorer

what's with orthodox file managers? I don't get the concept behind having two directory panels the way they do. they are largely popular and i've read many people saying how productive they are under them but personally i've found them (midnight commander at least) to not be much more helpful than the coreutils (ls, mv, cp, etc.).

personally, it is explorer-like or nautilus-like file managers that i've found to be the most helpful.

this is not a flame. i'm actually curious as to what makes orthodox file managers so popular. could somebody please tell me, especially if you preferably use them, in what respects orthodox fm's are better than explorer-like fm's?

p.s. now that i mentioned the coreutils, i've read how some people actually prefer the coreutils over file managers. how is that? the only way i can understand that is if one is on a server and would prefer not installing x to use fm's like nautilus. you could use mc, but, perhaps like me, you really are more productive on a bare command line than on mc.

p.s.s. happy new years! 2011
Old 01-02-2011, 07:49 PM   #2
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I usually find one pane file managers adequate, but when I'm doing serious housekeeping, moving files all about and across my network and generally reorganizing stuff, I find multiple panes or windows make life a lot easier.

Back in the my olden Windows days, I used something called "Power Desk for Windows," which could be configured to open with a default two-pane view sort of like mc.

I wish I knew how to make Nautilus or Konqueror do that (I really don't think Dolphin is any improvement over Konqueror as a file manager); it would save me from clicking "New-->Window" about half the time. Best of both worlds.

I like mc; it takes me back to my XTree for DOS days. But I've let myself be spoiled by drag-and-drop.
Old 01-02-2011, 08:11 PM   #3
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I find it useful to use the fish: handler on the right to copy files to another computer where I don't have an NFS share setup.
Old 01-02-2011, 08:40 PM   #4
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I've tried orthodox managers before. I've used Nautilus, Dolpin, Konqueror, Midnight Commander and Total Commander (Windows) and I've found that I like Konqueror the best (it's just so configurable). The whole two-pane set up just confuses me. Although if I need that I just up two Konqueror windows...
Old 01-02-2011, 09:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
I wish I knew how to make Nautilus or Konqueror do that (I really don't think Dolphin is any improvement over Konqueror as a file manager); it would save me from clicking "New-->Window" about half the time. Best of both worlds.
For Nautilus: Turn-on 'Extra Pane' (View -> Extra Pane or just press F3)

For Konqueror: Settings -> Load View Profile -> Midnight Commander. But the last time I tried, it crashed...

For Dolpin:

Just press button pointed by red arrow...

After playing a while...

Uploaded with
Old 12-26-2011, 02:25 PM   #6
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I realize this is very late to the discussion, but I don't think the original question was answered.

I recently switched to using an orthodox file manager: Krusader. "The deal" with OFM's is this. They are most efficient when used with the keyboard and have a very specific set of common key bindings and behaviors not found in managers like Konqueror or other Explorer-type file managers. They are most efficient when you are already familiar with using the shell, as they assist in constructing complex command lines involving many unrelated files. But they make performing the most common functions as simple as a single key press.

The interface of an orthodox file manager consists of three basic elements: two symmetrical panes showing the content of two directories side-by-side and a command line below. The current directory of the command line is tied to the current directory of the active pane and vice versa. Ctrl-down and Ctrl-up changes focus between the active pane and the command line. Tab toggles the states of the two panes between active and inactive. When the command line is active, Ctrl-enter inserts the file names highlighted in the active pane and Ctrl-Shift-enter does the same using the complete path to the highlighted files.

Basic file management commands are bound to the function keys F2 through F10. Copy and move operations start in the active pane and target the inactive pane. For example, to move a file, highlight it in the active pane and press F6. It will be moved to the directory in the inactive pane. Viewing and opening files and directories is as simple as moving the cursor bar to them and pressing enter. The highlight is toggled with the space bar. Files are most-easily targeted by simply typing their name. The cursor bar jumps to the first file that matches what you type.

Viewing, editing, renaming, and deleting, as well as making directories, are bound to function keys, making them a single key press to initiate. This is quite different from Explorer-type managers, which require using tool bar buttons, pull-down menus, or context menus for most of these operations. And copying or moving files using one of those managers is a much more cumbersome operation.

Explorer-type managers' one advantage is a graphical tree view of the directory structure, usually in a pane on the left, but their lack of convenience features for common file operations seems to make them better suited to viewing the file system rather than managing it.

Aside from the keyboard operation of orthodox file managers, they are remarkably consistent in layout, behavior, and key bindings between implementations on all platforms. If you know one, you will be able to instantly use another on a different OS with no need to learn anything. They minimize the number of key strokes for most file operations, making them competitive with the shell in terms of efficiency.

But that is only the beginning of their features. Most also offer integrated archive management and VFS features, letting you browse archives and ISO files as directories, for example. You can read more about orthodox file managers at The Orthodox File Manager (OFM) Paradigm.

Configuring an Explorer-type manager to show two directories side-by-side will not give you an OFM. You still won't have key bindings for the most-common file operations linked to the two panes and other behaviors that make these file managers so efficient to use.
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