Review: The SpaceFM File Manager For Linux

Let’s try something new! Let’s take a look at a different file manager for a change. Specifically, let’s look at SpaceFM, a multi-panel file manager for Linux. It’s worth looking at and has a ton of useful features.

I figured that it’d be fun to sometimes review stuff and added the category when I was building the site. I haven’t used it until now, mostly because I had more pressing things to write. Alas, I’ve committed to write articles every other day for a year (or as close to it as I can get), so I might as well try out this review thing.

On with the article!

Wikipedia has an article about file managers, because of course they do. Simply put, it’s an application that lets you more easily manage files and directories. It’s usually a graphical application these days, but that wasn’t always true. If you’re coming from a Windows background, the Windows Explorer application was a file manager.

File managers often add other features, as does SpaceFM. Not only does it have multi-panels, it also has tabs, and more! So, let’s see how this ‘review’ thing is actually going to work. It’ll probably be a little rough, as this is the first one I’ve written for the site.

Getting SpaceFM:

SpaceFM is actually the default file manager in a few (seven, it seems) distros. It’s also almost certainly possible to find SpaceFM in your default repositories. It’s literally packaged for pretty much everything. Literally! Click the link and you’ll see that your distro is probably supported and it’s already available in your package management tools. Unless you’re using a pretty obscure distro, it’s readily available.

Given that it’s so readily available, I’m surprised that so few people use it. It’s so well documented, that I really don’t need to tell you how to install it. But, for example, you’d install it like this with Ubuntu:

It’s as simple as that! Well, it should be. Just adjust that command for your distro’s package management tools and be sure to use ‘spacefm’ – and it’ll likely be there and installed without a hitch. If you don’t have it available in your default repositories, you can actually use a ‘net installer’ found here. It’s truly one of the most accessible programs I’ve ever seen. 

One of the great things about installing SpaceFM is that you’ll also get a nice GUI SpaceFM File Search application. It’s pretty self-explanatory and it looks like this:

SpaceFM Find Files
See? You can find files with it, as well! Alas, it doesn’t search *in* files.

I use that with some regularity, as I have a whole lot of files and am not the greatest at organizing them. I find it processes the search pretty quickly, though I am not sure how well it will perform on older hardware.

Why SpaceFM:

I think a picture is worth 1000 words, or that it can be. So, let me just share a picture with you and we’ll see where we are after that. Be sure to click on the picture, as it will expand to a larger image that’ll let you see more clearly.

SpaceFM in all its glory!
I realize that’s a pretty busy picture and that there’s much to digest.

As you can see, I have three different panels open. It’s possible to have up to four panels. In each of those panels, you can also have tabs. If you’re looking to manage your files in a complex fashion, this is definitely one of the best tools to do it.

Helpfully, SpaceFM describes itself as this:

SpaceFM is a multi-panel tabbed file and desktop manager for Linux with built-in VFS, udev- or HAL-based device manager, customisable menu system, and bash-GTK integration. SpaceFM aims to provide a stable, capable file manager with significant customisation capabilities.

The above reasons are all pretty good reasons to at least try SpaceFM, but there’s more! See, there are also a bunch of plugins for those people that want to extend SpaceFM even further. There are plugins for GPG, bulk-renaming, auto-mount, image tools, and more! Take a look, there are quite a few!

So, what you end up with is a complete package. I realize that many folks will prefer to keep some of those things separate (the ‘Unix philosophy’), but it really does make for a light, responsive, intuitive, and effective file management package. I’m really surprised that so few people take advantage of this.

Closure:

There’s not much more to say. It’s there. Give it a try. As this is a review, I’ll rate it a solid 9 out of 10, with one point being taken off for not having an easier way to install plugins. I’ve used it extensively and never had so much as a crash and the plugins have always worked as advertised.

As mentioned above, this is my first review for the site. I made the category at the start, without really putting any thought into what it’d look like when I wrote stuff to fit that category. I’m not terribly pleased with how this one came out, but I know that I’ll try a few more things in future reviews and they’ll improve over time.

I’ve said before that the goal is an article every other day for a year, which means I’ve got plenty of time to get better! Please leave any feedback below, as I’d like to make this a regular feature. It’d be great to expose people to some alternatives – and to learn of some alternatives along the way. There’s some great software out there that’s still relatively unknown.

As always, thanks for reading. If you want to help, you know how to do so! I’ve told you this before! You can donate, register, write an article, buy hosting, rate the article, share the article on social media, leave a comment, or sign up for the newsletter! Bandwidth is again creeping up, but it’s below my new level. Again, thanks!

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My Three Favorite Text Editors, a Meaningless List

One of the things I hope to avoid on this site is lists and rankings. I hope to be creative enough to avoid what other sites do. You shouldn’t expect this site to have articles like, “The Top 10 Distros for Low-end Computers!” It’d be great if I were creative enough to not end up with articles like that. Though they do appear popular, I think we can do better than that!

Ah, yes… I see that paragraph coming back and biting me in the arse after I’ve run out of article ideas and am just publishing fluff content. Anyhow…

People have heard me say this before, and it’s just like how I do it with browsers, I use different text editors for different reasons. I do different things in each, using each for specific tasks. This article shares my three favorite text editors, along with the why and how I use them.

This isn’t a list of the best text editors, because I don’t know what needs you have and I don’t feel qualified to say what is best. (That’s another sentence that’s going to come back and bite me in the arse.) Instead, it’s a list of my favorite text editors – so you could say that they’re the best for me.

The order that I list these text editors in might as well be in the order that I use them. I can’t think of a better way to organize them. So, here they are from most-used to least-used.

Favorite Text Editor #1: FeatherPad

Link: FeatherPad

That’s right, FeatherPad comes in first. Why? Because I always have it open. It, along with a host of other software, gets opened immediately after booting and never gets closed. 

Maybe a picture will explain it:

FeatherPad with many files open.
As you can see, it’s a pretty busy application with many text files open.

See? I do a lot of things in plain text files. I keep track of many things, including ideas for articles for this site. When it comes to keeping many text files open and available, FeatherPad does great. FeatherPad doesn’t use a lot of resources, never crashes, and has adequate preferences for me to set it up how I like.

I use all those text files (fuzzed section on the left) on a regular basis. Not only can I save them as a session, FeatherPad can helpfully open all previously opened text files when it is started. I don’t use a clipboard manager, I use plain text files that can be easily managed and FeatherPad is one of my favorite text editors. The session feature is a great benefit.

Favorite Text Editor #2: gedit

Link: gedit

gedit, no caps, is a rather pompous application. When you install it, it boldly refers to itself as “Text Editor”, as though it is the only text editor out there. It’s also meant to be used in the Gnome desktop environment, and is actually the default Gnome DE text editor. You can trivially install it on other desktops and it doesn’t pull in a ton of dependencies.

The gedit text editor is one of my favorite text editors because of the plethora, yes an overabundance, of plugins available. It’s easily themed with colors that don’t burn my eyeballs, and the syntax highlighting works well enough. I even wrote an article about installing gedit with all the bells and whistles. (I know, it needs to be transferred to this site.)

gedit in action
See? It doesn’t scald my eyeballs and it highlights text just fine.

I use gedit when I’m editing files with my FTP client. I use gedit when I right click on a file and want to open it. The gedit text editor is good for that sort of stuff. It’s basically my default editor for plain-text files that I don’t already have opened in FeatherPad. 

It’s not the lightest editor out there, but it’s not all that heavy. gedit opens responsively even with reasonably large text files. It does what it says it does on the tin and, as such, is one of my favorite (or at least most frequently used) text editors.

Favorite Text Editor #3: nano

Link: nano

At the time of writing, nano is going on 22 years of age. Yeah, it has been around that long. While I have a passable familiarity with Vim, I don’t really need any advanced features when I’m editing files in the terminal.

nano is a GNU project, just like Emacs, but doesn’t have nearly as many features and runs in the terminal. You also don’t get to use the macros that you get to use in Emacs. It’s a much more simple application than Emacs.

While you can surely use nano for a lot of text editing, it’s not ideal for doing so. If you’re going to do a lot of text editing from the terminal, learn to use Vim. If you’re going to just do quick edits (like me), nano works just fine.

nano text editor in action
There aren’t many features. This is a very bare-bones editor. That”s intentional.

As I said, it’s really basic, and that’s by design. It’s meant to be basic and to just be used for editing text. Unlike some of the other editors that run in the terminal, this one probably came installed on your distro by default.

You’ll need to learn some keyboard shortcuts to make use of nano, but they’re easily learned and you’ll soon have a familiarity with the application. It’s great for quick edits, especially if you need elevated permissions – which is when you just open it with ‘sudo’ and it functions like normal but with the ability to edit things like system files.

Closure:

There are a ton of editors out there. Feel free to leave comments telling us about your favorite text editors. You too many find that it’s easier to use different editors for different tasks, and I’d encourage folks to try it. I’ve been doing it this way for years. It seems to actually save time, because each application is used for the tasks it is most suited for.

I also use other text editors, such as Sublime, Bluefish, and Notepadqq. Those get used with less frequency and only for more specific tasks. They aren’t included here, because I use them far less often. 

As always, thank you my wonderful readers. Traffic is starting to pick up on this site. That’s a good thing! Don’t forget that you unblock ads. If you want to support this project, you can also sign up for the newsletter, donate, or even write articles.

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