May 24, 2005

Reader request: File management for a power user in Linux?

Author: Robin Smidsrød

I've been a Linux server administrator for more than eight years, but I've always used Windows on the desktop. The thing that keeps me from moving my desktop to Linux isn't application lock-in or lack of applications (most apps I use are OSS anyway), but the ability to use hotkeys effectively for file management.I use F2 for renaming files and Ctrl-X/C/V for cut, copy, and paste. I move around in the filesystem with arrow keys and use backspace to go up one level. F6 gives me the address bar for quick navigation, and Windows-E and Windows-R gives me access to a new filemanager window or the run command, which actually accepts shorthand file locations, like P:,, and other shorthand URL handlers. And the fact that you can use the mouse with the Shift and Ctrl buttons to hotlink copy/move operations is a real time-saver.
Try restructuring a chaotic set of more than a thousand folders and files and you know what I mean.

I've yet to see any open source file managers that can emulate this kind of setup for a power user. I'd expect the hotkey bindings for GNOME and KDE (in Windows-style behaviour) to emulate this, but something just isn't right, because I'm constantly stopped with some hotkey that doesn't work as expected. I'm sure that with both Nautilus and Konqueror it is possible to customize hotkeys, but the familiar ones aren't available in the default setup. So I revert back to Windows Explorer just because it's the quickest filemanager (but not the one with most features).

Please tell me there is a solution, because I hate that this is the thing that's holding me back. Don't ask me to learn a lot of new hotkeys; the ones I already know are just too ingrained and it is extremely hard to change, and I think I'm not alone on this matter.

Readers -- have you any suggestions?

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