Switch to a lightweight file manager

Thunar is the default file manager used in the stripped-back Xfce4 desktop of Xubuntu. It starts quickly, has a low-memory footprint, yet is very powerful and provides all the features you're likely to need. In fact,

Switch to a lightweight file manager M 148

it beats Nautilus in many departments when it comes to features.15 It can be used to replace Nautilus within the Ubuntu desktop for some operations although bear in mind that Nautilus windows will still appear sometimes, such as when using Nautilus CD-R/DVD Creator.

Follow these steps to switch to Thunar:

1. Start Synaptic and search for and install the thunar and thunar-archive-plugin packages. After installation, you can run Thunar by typing thunar in a terminal window.

2. To cause Thunar to open whenever you click an entry on the Places menu, you'll need to edit a configuration file: open a terminal window and type the following:

$ gksu gedit /usr/share/applications/nautilus-folder-handler.desktop

Scroll to the bottom of the file and look for the line that reads Exec=nautilus --no-desktop %U. Change it so it reads Exec=thunar %U. See Figure 3.22 for an example taken from my text PC.

Then save the file and test the changes by clicking Places ^ Home.

This tip works equally well for any alternative file manager. Others you might like to try are Konqueror (KDE's file manager), Dolphin (KDE4's file manager), and Rox-filer, a stripped-down file manager that's extremely lightweight. Just use Synaptic to search for and install konqeuror, dopl-hin or rox-filer respectively. When altering the nautilus-folder-handler.desktop file above to make Rox-filer default, change the line to read Exec=rox-filer, without the %U; Dolphin and Konqueror still require the %U after the command. Note that Rox-filer's configuration is carried out by right-clicking on a blank spot in its program window. It doesn't use a traditional menu system, like most application windows.

If you want a lightweight command-line file manager, install Midnight Commander (search for and install the mc package using Synaptic). Then type mc at the prompt to start the program. Once it's started, hit [Alt] +1 and then use the cursor keys to highlight Contents and hit [Enter ]. This will display the help file explaining how to use the program. If you ever used Norton Commander, back in the days of DOS, you'll

15. One feature of Thunar I particularly appreciate is the ability to rubber-band-select many files in list view, something Nautilus doesn't allow. Thunar also includes the ability to define your own right-click functions, something which is possible in Nautilus but only if you add-in the Nautilus Actions component, as described in Tip 295, on page 343.

Use syntax highlighting in Gedit M 149

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Figure 3.22: Configuring the system to use an alternative file manager (see Tip 92, on the previous page)

find Midnight Commander very familiar, because it's modeled on that product.

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