File Juggling with Krusader

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Konqueror, KDE's default file manager and browser, is a good all-around tool, but that doesn't necessarily mean it fits all your file management needs. Sometimes a dedicated file manager can be a better choice for daily computing. Krusader is a powerful and versatile file manager that can make your work more efficient and productive. Krusader is available with most KDE-based major Linux distributions, including Kubuntu (and Ubuntu with KDE), PCLinuxOS, KANOTIX and so on, and you can install the tool easily using your distro's package manager.

Configuring Krusader

When you launch Krusader the first time, it runs the Krusader configuration wizard. This does one simple but rather important thing: it locates helper utilities that Krusader uses for added functionality. Once Krusader has scanned your system, it shows an overview of installed and missing utilities. Although you simply can skip the provided recommendations, it's worth spending time on installing the missing components. Take a closer look at the missing utilities, and use the package manager to install them (on my laptop, for example, I had to install Krename, Kompare and Kget).


Figure 1. Konfigurator allows you to tweak Krusader's settings.

Once the wizard has scanned your system, it opens the Konfigurator window, where you can tweak Krusader's settings. First, you have to add paths to the installed helper utilities. Click on the Dependencies icon, and enter the paths into their respective fields. Enter, for example, /usr/bin/kompare into the Kompare field and /usr/bin/kget into the Kget field. Another thing you might want to configure is the startup directories. For example, usually you'd want Krusader to display your home directory in the left panel and some other directory in the right panel. To do this, click on the Startup icon, select the Start with following settings option and enter the desired paths into the Homepage fields. Alternatively, select the Save settings on exit option, and Krusader will always open the last-used directories on startup. When you are satisfied with the settings, press the Close button, and you should see Krusader in all its glory.

Krusader: the Basics



Figure 2. Krusader's main window is divided into two panels.

If you've ever tried to work with a twin-panel file manager, you'll feel at home in Krusader. And, even if you are new to it, you should be able to figure out most of Krusader's basic features. You can copy and move files from one panel to another, and you can move around directories using the navigation buttons at the top. The function buttons at the bottom allow you to perform the most common file operations with a single key press. Using context menus, you can perform different actions on files and directories -- for example, right-click on a file, and you can see its preview, open it with a specified application and manipulate it in a number of ways. In other words, you don't even have to read the manual to master Krusader's basics. But, if you want to unleash its full potential and call yourself a Krusader power user, read on.


Figure 3. Using tabs, you can manage multiple directories in the same panel.

More-Advanced features

One of the smartest features in Firefox (or any modern browser for that matter) is tabs; using them you can manage multiple Web pages in a single browser window. Although Krusader is not a browser, its Tabs feature is equally useful and efficient. Using it, you can open multiple windows in the same panel and switch between them by clicking on their tabs. This feature can come in handy in many situations. Let's say you need to copy files from different locations into one directory. Simply open the source directories in separate tabs in the left panel and the target directory in the right panel. Then, use the tabs to switch between the source locations, and copy files from them into the target directory.

Krusader includes two nifty tools that make navigation through directories faster and more efficient. The first one is the History button; click on it, and you will see a list of all previously visited locations. Select a destination from the list to jump to it.


Figure 4. Using History, you quickly can jump to previously visited directories.

Another useful tool is the bookmark manager (BookMan), and as the name suggests, it allows you to add bookmarks to locations. Using Bookmarks is easy. To bookmark, for example, the currently opened directory, press the Bookmark button and select Bookmark Current. BookMan also keeps a list of often-visited locations, so you don't even have to bookmark the most popular directories. To keep tabs on your bookmarks, use the Bookmark Editor, which allows you to add and edit bookmarks as well as group them into folders.

Krusader truly excels when it comes to dealing with multiple files: the file manager offers several indispensable tools that help you manage hundreds of files easily. Say you have a music folder containing several hundred .ogg and .mp3 files, and you want to select all .mp3 files and move them into a separate folder. Using Krusader, you can create a filter that selects only the files that match the specified criteria. To do this, press the select files using the filter button and specify the filter. Because you want to select all MP3 files, type .mp3 into the Enter a selection field. Press OK, and Krusader selects all files with the .mp3 extension. Better yet, you can save the specified filter by pressing the Add button, so you can select the desired filter from the list when needed.


Figure 5. Use Krename to rename multiple files in one go.

Need to rename several files at once? No problem. Select the files you want to rename, and choose File->Multi Rename. This starts the Krename tool that guides you through the renaming process.

Quick tip: one thing that might confuse you in the beginning is how Krusader manages removable media, such as a USB stick or CD. Normally, when you connect a USB stick, it appears on the desktop. But, to access it via Krusader, you have to navigate to /media directory. Here you should see and access all your removable storage devices.

Krusader also offers a nifty feature that can chop a file into smaller pieces, which can come in handy when you need to send a large file via e-mail or burn a huge backup file on several CDs. Select the file you want to chop, choose File->Split File, specify the size of each chunk and press Split. Of course, Krusader also allows you to assemble chopped files into one (File->Combine Files).

Krusader also can deal with files stored in remote locations, and it can access files via FTP (and its secure version SFTP), FISH (the protocol used to access files on remote Linux machines), and SMB (the protocol used to access files on remote Windows machines). Simply press the New Net Connection button, select the desired protocol, enter the required login info, and you can access the files as if they were on your local hard disk.


Figure 6. Synchronizer is Krusader's powerful synchronization tool.

Finally, let's take a look at Krusader's most advanced and useful feature called Synchronizer. As the name suggests, this feature allows you to keep two directories in sync. This may not sound like much, but Synchronizer offers a few advanced functions that make it a rather powerful tool. You can, for example, perform an asymmetric synchronization that moves files only in one direction, which effectively turns Synchronizer into a backup tool. You also can specify a filter, so Synchronizer syncs only specific files.

To synchronize two directories, select them in the left and right panels and choose Commands -> Synchronize Directories (or press Ctrl-Y). Pay particular attention to what directories are set as target and source (you can swap the target and source directories by clicking on the Swap sides button in the lower-left corner of the window). Press the Compare button to see a list of synchronization actions for each file. Finally, press the Synchronize button to sync the directories. If you plan to perform the specified synchronization again, you can save it as a profile. To do this, press the Profile button in the lower-left corner of the window, select Add new entry, and give your profile a name. The next time you need to synchronize the directories, simply choose the created profile.

Final Word

These are only a few of Krusader's features, and there is much more to it than meets the eye. If you want to explore other aspects of this excellent file manager, read the official documentation at http://krusader.sourceforge.net/handbook.

About the Author

Dmitri Popov is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Russian, British and Danish computer magazines. His articles cover open-source software, Linux, Web applications and other computer-related topics.

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some of my notes on Krusader

Anonymous's picture

Some of you may be interested in these random notes:

- typing Alt-D gets you what I call filelight on steroids. If you don't know filelight, you're missing half the fun in finding large files, but Krusader's filelight mode takes it to the next level by allowing you to selectively exclude certain files in the listing. A great help in identifying space hogs, I assure you.

- I like the popup command line/preview/etc view very much. To use this, click on small grey upward-facing arrow near the bottom right of each panel. A preview panel will popup -- it'll be approximately square. To customise what you see there, click the 5 buttons that now appear at the top right of what just popped up.

- the synchronisation part is just awesome. About the only thing it doesn't have is the ability to use rsync-like logic to propagate diffs of large files efficiently, but that's OK. There are enough other programs that do that anyway :-)

My notes on the sync part:

-- compare by content is slow but useful when the sizes and dates are not sufficient for you to decide which is newer
-- if you're sync-ing local directories only, then the most paranoid setting is "ignore date" and "compare by content", if you can afford the time it takes.
-- for remote directories, "compare by content" is too slow (it has no rsync-like smarts). So you have two choices. If the dates are reliable you use those for determining which is newer.

If the dates are not reliable, use "ignore date" but then you risk missing any changes that happened to leave the file size unchanged. Note that this also means you are using asymmetric sync (one way only) because it can only tell that the files are "different", not which is newer/older.

-- the sync stuff has its own profile settings, over and above the main krusader. Very useful if you use it often.

-- the file filter is great. For example:
*.good1 *.good2 | junk*
(the stuff after the vertical bar is a negation)

-- read the label "duplicates" as "doubles" to correspond with the label "singles". I dont like the fact that I can never tell which of those 6 buttons is "on" and which is "off" though...

-- the "not equals" button is meaningless unless you choose "ignore date"

-- the "deletable" button is meaningless unless you check "asymmetric"

Don't use the main krusader's "compare by content" and "compare directories". Always use the sync mode for this, it's much better.

Enjoy!

Good article

RAM's picture

Dmitri,

Very good article on Krusader. I had never heard of it before. Running Kubuntu so it was easy to download and install as well as multiple utilities. It's very powerful and does add many capabilities that were sorely lacking. What I don't understand is why KDE is promoting the unfinished Dolphin vs. Krusader?

Roger

Krusader is a time saver.

Brad Jonstiz's picture

I just wanted to thank you guys for this wonderful s/w, it has trimmed a lot of time of my projects !

________________________
Brad - Cancer Survivor

Twin panel versus One panel filemangment

Frank Schoolmeesters's picture

Hi Roger,

I guess because KDE and is developed by the KDE developers, and Krusader is developed by independent developers as a "third party" :)
This has also it's advantages btw.
And because most distributions only provide one filemanager by default, and not better OFM "alternatives".
http://murban.blogspot.com/2006/01/krusader-and-konqueror-twin-versus-on...

kind regards,

Frank Schoolmeesters
Krusader Krew

A big say on the name

Kefah Issa's picture

Hi,

Thank you for the nice article.

I have a big say on the name of this software, as it is extremely offending to a good population of this world, me being one of them.

few centuries ago crusades came on to the Muslims in Palestine, killed and slaughtered one-hundred-thousand people in a barbarian act of revenge.

Those crusades carried hate and death, it took Muslims 200 years to expel the crusaders and conquer them.

I wish and hope that the developers could reconsider the name. I talked to them once in the past, but they even refused discussing it.

Just thought it would be a good point to try to open the discussion, as I truly admire and respect the huge effort put behind this software. Kudos to all the hardworkers who made it happen.

Regards,
- Kefah.

Maybe it is time to forget

Anonymous's picture

Maybe it is time to forget about this old stories rather than recall them every minute,
the Muslims are also guilty of the same actions in their history. Just as an example when
my hometown in Sicily was conquered by the Arabs they killed all the population living there.
So rather than recall this events and foster suspicion and hate you should you should reconsider
history in a more honest way and try to make the future better than the past.

Ciao

I couldn't agree more

Kefah Issa's picture

This is exactly what I am saying!

I fully agree with you, lets not remember the dark past...

This is why I would never call or encourage a software called "Holocaust"!

Because choosing that name offends Jews.

In the world of freesoftware (and open source) we want to concentrate on the good virtues of us, humans, in that people write good software and let others use it without restrictions. Lets keep this beautiful concept safe from raising old bloody and dreadful history.

This is why, you and I could work on create that software (an arab an a sicilian), a jew with a german ... its us humans again! no regard to who our grand grand parents are and no regard to all the stupid things that happend in the past.

Using that name will only create a dilemma, I know my people very well, arabs and muslims are extrmly sensitive to this word, in the same way - if not more - as Jews are to the holocaust.

BTW, I never had any objection on any freesoftware name, and I still strongly hope that no software name would be used with strong emphasis on something that hurt many people.

Thanks for reading.
Regards, (or should I say peace ;-) )
- Kefah.

WordNet (r) 2.0

Anonymous's picture

WordNet (r) 2.0 [wn]

crusader
n 1: a disputant who advocates reform [syn: reformer, reformist, meliorist]

maybe if you think about the name with this meaning it will be more acceptable,
in that sense you and me we are both crusaders for a better and peaceful future.
Now we need just to spread the word....

Ciao

....

Kefah Issa's picture

Wow!

Sorry for bringing this up in the first place. I had to read more and try to find a new meaning for the word so I can live with it.

I am speechless ... you won, and I give up!

- Kefah.

I agree to stop the name

Frank Schoolmeesters's picture

I agree to stop the name discussion. Just a small correction here, the name was discussed over and over in the past (just check the Krusader forum).
And probably the "reformer" meaning of Krusader says everything, OFM filemanagement is simply better and much much more productive than non-OFM filemanagers but somehow not many people do realise that and prefer to stick to their old habbits.

btw. hopefully all people on earth can live in peace together some day

kind regards,

Frank Schoolmeesters
Krusader Krew

You're gonna make me do it...

Shawn Powers's picture

I haven't used KDE since version 2.X... I'm going to have to give it another go I suppose, so I can intelligently comment on posts like this. I feel a bit out of the loop when it comes to KDE.

...Shawn goes off to download Kubuntu

Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter

Thanks!

Frank Schoolmeesters's picture

Thanks for this great Article! In behalf of the Krusader Krew.

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