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Krusader Conquers Linux Files

By Jack M. Germain
Feb 10, 2010 5:00 AM PT

Krusader is one of those must-have computing tools that turns difficult or tedious computing tasks into easy, point-and-click operations. It's an advanced twin-panel file manager that's loaded with features.

Krusader Conquers Linux Files

Krusader file manager
Krusader file manager
(click image to enlarge)

When I made the switch from the Windows to the Linux operating system, I had a short list of program requirements. This list was a match to critical computing procedures I relied upon in Windows. I quickly discovered that Linux offers numerous twin-panel file managers, but very few have the power built into Krusader.

One of my favorite Windows file managers was Norton Commander. Years after using it, I found even more features in a program called "Power Desk." That program set a high standard to match when I began searching for an equivalent Linux file manager.

One of the great joys of Linux computing is the variety of installed programs that come with different distributions. Krusader is available in most of the popular distros' package management systems. See the list on the download page here.

This location also provides basic steps for installing Krusader in distros that do not include it in the resident package manager. If you are new to the Linux desktop, this lack of a uniform installation routine like Windows uses can be a deal-breaker.

KDE, Anyone?

Different Linux distributions use different desktop window manager systems. Three major choices are Gnome, XFce and KDE. Users can load the specialized files, called "libraries," required to run any of these window managers in the same Linux OS.

Krusader is designed for the KDE desktop. Typically, dependencies or required library components that are missing can prevent an application designed for KDE from running on a Gnome desktop. However, that issue is easily remedied with Krusader.

This file manager does not need the KDE window manager to run on your computer. Although Krusader's natural environment is KDE, it uses only some shared libraries. If you download the Krusader package for your specific Linux OS, it should contain the required dependencies and will install them as part of the setup process.

Fills a Void

Some 10 years ago, two computer programmers started to create Krusader. Their work began as a personal work tool. The developers wanted a file manager that worked in the Linux OS the way Total Commander (formerly Windows Commander) worked in the Microsoft environment. They released Krusader under the GNU General Public License. The community has continued to develop and improve Krusader over the years.

In Linux, file managers that mimic the architecture of the Norton Commander interface are called "commanders." That is what Krusader does.

Rich in Features

Some so-called twin-panel file managers do little more than what you can accomplish by placing two simple, single-panel file managers next to each other. Dragging files from one panel to the other gets the job done.

However, true twin-panel file managers do so much more. I tend to use Krusader as a file launcher, file archiver and jack-of-all-trades utility tool. Rather than having to scroll through the desktop menus to start each system utility to do a file management task, I just use Krusader's built-in features as if it were a control dashboard on the desktop.

Krusader does a whole lot more. Its tool kit includes many of the tasks handled by separate apps. For example, it performs advanced file searches, file viewing and editing chores, directory synchronization, file content comparisons and batch file renaming, just to name a few.

More Power

One of my favorite uses for Krusader is managing archives. I receive attached files compressed in many different file compression formats. With Krusader, everything I need to work with archived files as well as a variety of graphic image types is right there on the toolbar.

I never have to track down a decompression app or waste hours figuring out manual commands. Instead, Krusader lets me transparently view archives as if I were viewing a directory on the hard drive. Sure, other Linux apps do the same thing, but Krusader puts that function along with many others all in one place.

Krusader unpacks and packs files using nearly every file format known to Linux. For instance, it supports formats for ace, arj, bzip2, deb, iso, lha, rar, rpm, tar, zip and 7zip. Plus, it handles KIOSlaves such as smb:// or fish://.

The Interface

Krusader's display is clean and simple, but these good looks are far from deceiving. Clicking on a bevy of drop-down menus on the top row or icons in the tool bar on the second row provides access to most of the feature sets.

In a design reminiscent of the Microsoft environment, the bottom edge of Krusader's dual-panel display contains a row of function key commands. They facilitate direct commands such as View, Edit, Copy, Move, Make Directory, Rename, Delete and Quit. The commands work both by pressing the function key or clicking on the labeled button with the mouse.

Above this row is a command line. Although my computing roots stem from the DOS (Disc Operating System) days that predate the Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface), I rarely ever resort to CLI (Command Line Interface) usage in Linux. However, I like the easy access when it is necessary. For instance, the Function 2 button opens a terminal in the current directory in addition to entering commands in the always-there prompt window above the function key row.

Using It

It's the ease of use that I really love about Krusader. Linux, like Microsoft Windows, provides multiple ways of doing the same task. With Krusader, multiple ways of doing a task are bundled within the menus and displayed buttons.

For instance, I store data on several primary thumb drives. These drives sit in USB sockets of whichever of my array of computers I am using, so all of my data is readily at hand. To keep tabs on remaining free space, I click on the Tools drop-down menu and click on the Disk Usage function. I then browse to whichever drive or hard disk directory I'm using and click OK. Krusader shows a multi-colored graph with the space each file consumes and the total space in use.

Similarly, dozens of file maintenance tasks are simply handled through point-and-click navigation. For example, I store backup copies of all my critical files on each computer -- desktops, laptops and netbook. Using Krusader, I display the file location on the hard drive in the left-hand panel and the file directories of the large-capacity external hard drives or thumb drive on the right-hand panel. Then I click Synchronize Directories in the Tools drop-down menu to sync both locations.

Krusades Await

Linux offers users numerous separate apps to manage files and handle system-related computing chores. Krusader packages these functions in its own tool sets.

Whether viewing files in a directory list or editing text and graphic files, handling archived files, or splitting large files into smaller pieces for faster Internet delivery, Krusader has a tool for that.

Krusader is so ingrained into my personal computing routines that I rarely close it. It is much easier to move around within Krusader's interface than to slide around Linux menus.

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