Open Source

10 reasons why you should try Krusader

Find out 10 reasons why you should try Krusader, a twin-pane file manager that might be faster than Dolphin on older computers or just a better match for your computing habits.

krusader.logo.tr.jpg

The KDE community maintains a lot of cool (and sometimes cross-platform) applications for the GNU/Linux desktop. Most end users, however, only know and run whatever default subset and configuration of those applications was packaged as "KDE" by their distribution.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with this. The more people manage to use free software only because of that work of pre-selection and integration, the better! Still, it pays to know and try less-known KDE programs that might be much better for you than their default counterparts. One of these is Krusader --  a twin-pane file manager that could be faster than Dolphin on older computers or just a better match for your computing habits. Here are 10 reasons to try it.

1. Same interface for local and remote files

Like many other, much more popular file managers, even Krusader can open remote folders through several protocols: Samba, normal, or secure ftp,  and FISH. So, it doesn't matter where your files are, because you'll always access them in the same way.

2. Directory synchronization

One click on Tools | Synchronize will let you keep two folders in sync. Please take a quick look at the available options in Figure A. You'll see that, as it happens with any tool of this kind, you really need to spend some time studying carefully what each option means. However, Krusader offers a good compromise between flexibility and ease of use.

Figure A

Figure A

Krusader directory synchronization options.

3. Directory comparison

At least the first time, never synchronize folders without carefully checking where and how they are different. In Krusader, Edit | Compare Directories tells you exactly what's different in two directory trees. More exactly, it automatically passes the job to whatever KDE "difference detector" was selected for this task at configuration time. I suggest either Kdiff3 (shown in Figure B) or Kompare.

Figure B

Figure B

You can compare directories in Krusader.

4. Quick, effective keyboard-only navigation

Press [Ctrl]+[Z] for the "popular URLs" list to select which of the folders you visit most frequently that you want to go to next. If there is one of them (beside your $HOME directory that's already mapped to [Alt]+[Home]) to which you must go back often in the current session, mark it with [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[J], and then press [Ctrl]+[J] whenever you want to return right there.

5. Flexible display of command results

Krusader has several built-in commands and tools that you can start from the Tools menu (see point 9 for more). You can decide if and where to see the output of such actions in the Settings | Command Execution Mode Setup submenu of Figure C.

Figure C

Figure C

Command Execution Mode Setup.

6. Integrated prompt

Krusader includes an actual (single) command line at the bottom of the main window. Click on the terminal icon at its right any time you want to overcome the default choice for output display mentioned in the previous point. You can also open a full terminal in any moment pressing [F2].

7. Flexible, saved searches

The search interface of Krusader opens when you click on the binocular icon. After you've set all the search parameters, from ownership to regular expressions and timestamps, and found all the matching files, you can "Feed to listbox" the result. The effect is shown in Figure D. Krusader creates a virtual folder, named as you want, that displays only the result of that search.

Figure D

Figure D

Krusader search capability.

8. Profiles

You can configure Krusader to work, look, and perform synchronization in several independent, predefined ways called "profiles" (e.g. one for work and one for personal stuff). At any time, you can switch from one profile to another. To know more, read the Krusader Profiles page.

9. As many custom actions as you want

This is, in my opinion, the best and most powerful feature of Krusader. I'm talking of the Useractions of Figure E, synthetically described as "a method to call external programs with variable parameters." Basically, Krusader will execute, whenever you select it from the Useractions menu, any custom, complex action you've told it to remember.

Figure E

Figure E

Manage your Useractions in Krusader.

Predefined actions range from enqueing audio files for playback with amaroK to backups of the current folder. In general, Useractions can be external scripts or the internal functions described in the manual. In the first case, remember to set your path as explained here, otherwise the scripts may not work as expected.

Global Useractions settings let you specify, among other things, if the actions should include remote files, ask for confirmation every time, or be run as a different user. Besides the manual, a dedicated section of the Krusader forum provides plenty of examples.

10. ...and much more

Using Krusader is not a compromise. While it has a spartan (let's say outdated) look, Krusader is so full of features that its main limit may be the time it takes to master them all. Figure F tries to give you an idea of this by showing one part of the initial, optional configuration procedure. Don't let that scare you -- and if you need online support, ask for it on the Krusader mailing lists (since the Forum is in read-only mode now). 

Figure F

Figure F

Krusader has many configuration options.

Do you have hands-on experience with Krusader? Would you recommend it to your IT peers? Why or why not? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.


About

Marco Fioretti is a freelance writer and teacher whose work focuses on the impact of open digital technologies on education, ethics, civil rights, and environmental issues.

6 comments
boucaria
boucaria

I must admit that I like the Crusader file directory interface. Does anyone know if Krusader would install on a Linux USB drive so that I could inspect backup drives which are from Windows systems? The reason I need to inspect the drives is that I have three backups, and all of them have different levels of content due to transfer failure caused by LFN (long filename) issues… I.e. the main drive has a small proportion of content that did not transfer to two other drives, and at this stage I have two other ideas that may work, but Krusader looks like a better and more thorough option for drive comparison. I will probably have to edit certain files but at this stage I just need to find a way to make sure all drives have the same content. Eventually I will be using them on a primarily Linux machine with VM Ware Windows and other OSs but right now I need to get the data consistent. Any constructive suggestions appreciated

janitorman
janitorman

OK did a little research and I find Konqueror actually did many of the things I wanted, as well. Being a Xubuntu User I had no idea. Krusader never came up. The thing is, Konqueror had some dangerous behavior, such as integrating your file manager with a web browser (like ms Windows) Now, the new versions of these 3 programs may be very similar, but Dolphin has the GUI I want and no complications. It opens other applications more suitable than itself for things such as a full viewer, a picture editor, word processor, etc. There are no command line switches to deal with (sorry diehard DOS fans or equivalent on Linux, that's a dead technology) and no configuration files you need to mess wtih. It's got buttons and menus to do all that.

Now, if you would have said, something like "it's less of a resource hog than Dolphin" and yet has the same features, I might have learned to like it. As is, the default file manager on Xubuntu (Thunar) just didn't cut it. I kept it, of course, as a Sudo tool for Root files if I really need to do that. (That's it.)  I also tried Nautilus for Gnome. That certainly didn't do it for me. Then again, that's the beauty of Linux. YOUR CHOICE.

The-Jetman
The-Jetman

A while back, I tried to add K3B from KDE to my LXDE-based PCLinuxOS and it would up morphing my LXDE into KDE.  It's possible I could've made a mistake, but all I did was to install the K3B pkg and dozens of KDE pkgs were included as dependencies.  For laughs, I'll see what happens w/ Krusader and a fresh install of PCLinuxOS/LXDE but I have a feeling this isn't going to be a piece of cake...

janitorman
janitorman

I don't particularly care about any of those reasons. I installed Dolphin on Xubuntu 12.04 because it has the features I want, including preview pane (actually called Information Panel) like Windows 2000 had. (Removed in XP, but I was able to put it back in later using a tweak.) I think Windows 7 had it, and again, it's missing in 8 but I'm not sure. Never seen one like this for Linux though.

There are also a lot of choices for the way I want to configure it, using the GUI, rather than some obscure code or configuration files.  I happen to like the 4 panel view, for instance. There's even a nice little slider for picture folders if you're viewing icons rather than a list or details, to make the icon previews change size.

There's also a terminal and a search function, easy to get to in the menu, and a split pane view if you want to compare two directories (manually.) There's probably a lot more but I don't use any of that. It's still a fairly lightweight file browser, however.
redhatlinux10
redhatlinux10

really amazing ! i have been using total commander for years in windows, i am very happy with this alternative in linux.

mfioretti
mfioretti

@janitorman may I ask you to elaborate on this:

"There are no command line switches to deal with (sorry diehard DOS fans or equivalent on Linux, that's a dead technology) and no configuration files you need to mess wtih"

as it should be evident from this column here and my other writing, I disagree with the "command line is dead" part, but that's not the reason I'm replying. Are you saying that Krusader, from this specific point of view, demands the user to do more than Dolphin does?

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