Searching for files on the Linux desktop offers a so-so experience. And unless you have some serious command line-fu working, searching from the terminal window can be an exercise in frustration. Thankfully, there are a few GUI tools that empower searching on your Linux desktops and GUI-fronted servers. One such tool is ANGRYsearch.
ANGRYsearch is an open source, stand-alone GUI search tool that focuses on performance. In other words, it's fast. This tool searches the entire directory structure and updates the search results as you type, so you see the results immediately. ANGRYsearch features:
- A beautiful, minimalist GUI.
- Code available on GitHub.
- Fast, slow, and regex modes.
- Blazing fast file indexing.
- Real-time search results.
- Regular expression support.
- Keyboard shortcut support.
- Customization with themes and icon sets.
- Uses xdg-open to open files based on mimetype.
- Takes roughly two minutes to index approximately one million files.
Let's install and use ANGRYsearch.
SEE: Side-by-side chart of popular Linux distros (Tech Pro Research)
I'll install ANGRYsearch on Elementary OS, but the tool can be installed on nearly any Linux distribution.
The first thing that must be done is to install the few necessary dependencies. Open your terminal window, and issue the following command:
sudo apt install python3-pyqt5 xdg-utils
NOTE: xdg-utils is probably already installed on your distribution.
Once the dependencies are out of the way, download the latest release of ANGRYsearch from it's GitHub page. Save that file in ~/Downloads. Go back to your terminal and change into the directory with the command cd ~/Downloads. Unpack the file with one of the following commands (depending on which file you downloaded):
unzip ANGRYsearch-1.0.1.zip tar xvzf ANGRYsearch-1.0.1.tar.gz
Change into the newly created directory with the command cd ~/Downloads/ANGRYsearch-1.0.1. Finally, to install the tool, issue the command:
sudo sh install.sh
To start ANGRYsearch, either locate the launcher from your desktop menu or issue the command angrysearch. When the ANGRYsearch window appears (Figure A), you must first click the Update button, before you can run that first search.
When you click the Update button, you can change the icon theme, select directories to ignore, and then click yet another Update button to being the crawl of the directory hierarchy.
After the update completes, type a search string in the search field, and watch the results appear as you type. When you locate the file you're searching for, click it, and it should open in your default application.
You shouldn't need to bother with any configuration options with ANGRYsearch, as it works splendidly out of the box. If you're of the curious nature, you can open the file ~/.config/angrysearch/angrysearch.conf in your favorite editor and modify to fit your needs.
There are three search modes with ANGRYsearch:
- Fast mode is a very fast mode that doesn't include substrings in search results. To enable Fast Mode, make sure the check box is selected next to to the Update button.
- Slow mode is slightly slower but can find substrings and is very literal with non-typical characters.
- Regex mode allows the use of regular expressions. To activate this mode, hit the F8 key on your keyboard.
While using ANGRYsearch on Elementary OS, I did find that xdg-open refused to do anything, but open every search result in the Colibri browser. I tested ANGRYsearch on Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 to find that it did work as expected (files opened in the default application associated with the file mimetype). This is actually not the fault of ANGRYsearch, but of xdg-open and Elementary OS. Even if running xdg-open from the command line (to open a file), it still opens Colibri Browser (regardless of file).
The next caveat is that the filesystem update isn't automatic. You do need to click that Update button in order to update ANGRYsearch's cache.
Even with the caveats, ANGRYsearch is an amazing search tool for the Linux desktop. I highly recommend this application for anyone looking to make file searching on Linux fast and painless.
- How to get Apple-like gestures on the Linux desktop (TechRepublic)
- What Dropbox dropping Linux support says (TechRepublic)
- Installing Windows apps on Linux is about to get easier with Winepak (TechRepublic)
- Linux on Windows 10: Running Ubuntu VMs just got a lot easier, says Microsoft (ZDNet)
- How to keep your Ubuntu Linux systems updated with uCaresystem (TechRepublic)
- Hands-on with MX Linux: A pleasant, easy-to-install Linux distribution (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.