Alternative file managers

October 4, 2020 — October 4, 2020

computers are awful

The default file manager in ubuntu is the horrible Nautilus which is annoying. Because I have files, and I would like the experience of storing data in files to be not annoying, I try to supplement Nautilus with a less annoying alternative.

There are many options. But I recommend …

1 fman

fman has a clean design and modern command-palette interface.


  • discoverable keyboard shortcuts
  • fast
  • typeahead navigation
  • you can write python plugins to extend it (but will you, really?)


  • missing gnome-sushi file preview.
  • now you have two different ways of opening folders which is cognitive friction
  • costs EUR18 (FWIW this seems cheap for an essential piece of infrastructure)
  • I have not yet worked out an easy way of switching to it from gnome (e.g. “open this folder in fman”

As to the last one, if I do this

xdg-mime default fman.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search

it nearly does what I want, but it opens a new copy of the app rather than switching to an active version.

Switch back to, e.g. nautilus with

xdg-mime default nautilus.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search

Close. So close to solving a problem for me.

2 krusader

A KDE alternative. Like fman it sports a dual-pane view. It is maximalist with lots of features, and whilst it does not require a KDE desktop environment, it certainly works better if you have all the KDE stuff. I find it too obsessively busy.