4Pane: Q-Dir for Linux

4Pane is a very powerful quad-pane file manager.

If you’ve ever used Q-Dir on Windows you already know how useful a quad-pane file manager is for power users. I was looking for a similar file browser on Linux with quad panes so that I can access multiple directories at once. Tabbed interface helps to some extent but I don’t like that extra click to select a new tab every time. 4Pane along with its nice looks and features is the closest to what I want. Currently it is available for Linux but seeing that it is written using wxWidgets I guess it can easily support Windows too. And yes, it supports tabs as well. Feature highlights:

  • Multi-pane, detailed-list file manager without bloat
  • Up to 26 four-pane tabs with unique orientation in each
  • Navigation made easier with bookmarks, user-defined GoTo buttons, and a history of “Recently-visited directories”
  • Integrated console
  • Drag and drop copy, move
  • Almost every action like deletion can be undone
  • Normal tar and zip handling. Most archive types can be browsed, their contents altered, individual files read or launched; all without opening the archive.
  • Automatically mount external devices and access easily from the corresponding toolbar icons
  • Multi-renaming or duplication of files, either by prepending / appending, incrementing or using Regular Expressions.
  • Extend using your own User-Defined Tools
  • Highly configurable – use different shortcuts, consoles

Packages for many distros are available for download. If you are still unlucky you may need to compile 4Pane from source and install it.

Webpage: 4Pane

PCManFM: now more feature packed

PCManFM has been around for a long time and is the default file browser on LXDE. But it can also be installed and used on other desktop environments like Unity. It is notoriously lightweight and is a great alternative to Nautilus. The latest version of PCManFM is 1.2.0 and has many features which take it a huge step forward with respect to the last stable version. Here’s a quick peek into the interesting new features visible to the user:

  • Tooltips with full file names for Desktop icons.
  • Separate desktop configuration for each monitor. The Desktop Preferences dialog will be applied only to current monitor.
  • Save columns for Detailed List View mode.
  • New tab with Search Results now opened in Detailed List View mode with columns.
  • Support for per-folder configurations: sort mode, show_hidden, and view mode.
  • Dual Pane mode which can be toggled on anytime with F3.
  • Configuration options for toolbar.
  • New menu option ‘Go’->’Connect to Server…”. If selected it opens a dialog window to select type of remote folder and few parameters (host, port, path, login) for the connection.
  • Many new menu options.
  • And many more minor enhancements. Check the full list here.

To install PCManFM on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install pcmanfm

Webpage: PCManFM

Latest Nemo file browser available on Raring

nautilus_compI was updating my packages today when I found that the latest version of Nemo is available in synaptic suggestions. I am really fond of this default file browser from Linux Mint as it is pretty fast and provides option to use either decimal/binary prefixes for showing file sizes. I installed it immediately after experimenting a little on which packages are absolutely required for the minimal app to run.

To install Nemo, run:

$ sudo apt-get install nemo

It has many dependencies. I unmarked everything other than the following 3 packages:

  • nemo
  • nemo-data
  • libnemo-extension1

and the installation worked fine. Finally! I can get rid of the crap Nautilus file manager on Ubuntu with an appropriate alternative (Marlin/PCManFM are good but still need a lot of work).

Nautilus faster on Ubuntu 13.04

nautilus_compOne of the main reasons I decided to switch to the beta version of Ubuntu Raring is nautilus performance. Nautilus is the default Ubuntu file browser cum manager. The version installed right now in 3.6.3. Compared to the performance of earlier versions it is definitely much faster. Though it may never reach the speed of PCManFM, there’s definitely a significant improvement for nautilus. The look and feel has changed to some extent in the toolbar options.

But what I still hate about nautilus is the crap logic of its crap developers to use 1KB = 1000 bytes and providing no option to override it.


Now you can get rid of this abomination and use Nemo, the fantastic default file manager from Linux Mint. Instructions for minimal install here.

nautilus-columns for Ubuntu

nautilus_compnautilus-columns is a powerful python script that allows viewing of music (eg. ID3 info, album, artist, bitrate, track no.) and image file metadata (eg. EXIF info, image size, date shot) and information in Nautilus list view. Last time I checked this script was not available for Ubuntu Precise as it was not working with nautilus 3.x. I have made the changes to the script to make it work with nautilus 3.x and sent the modifications to the PPA administrator. Hopefully it will be available as a deb package soon. I have uploaded the modified script here. Place it in the following directory:

and restart nautilus:

$ nautilus -q

To install nautilus-columns on Ubuntu:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install nautilus-columns

Update: Though it is very powerful, the problem with this extension is that it tends to read all the information about the audio, video, image, PDF files when a directory is opened. This makes the directory loading slow. I am not sure if nautilus has any mechanism to support on-demand loading of extensions because it seems that this happens even if the directory view is set to icon view. I made changes to the script to load only the image size and nothing else to check how it goes. Nautilus opened the directories faster. Here is the example script with only one functionality – show image dimensions in list view.

Thanks to Andrew now it is available in the PPA as well! 🙂