Saturday, 18 July 2009

Xfe - Fast & Lightweight File Manager for the X Window System

Xfe (X File Explorer) is a wonderful, fast and lightweight file manager for Linux built using the FOX toolkit with a customisable interface which can resemble the twin-panel style of Midnight Commander if needed.

Xfe 0.19.2 running in Debian Lenny

Why is Xfe different? First of all, it's very lightweight due to the library it uses for its interface. It's true that it may not integrate very well in neither KDE or GNOME, but it supports colour schemes which can change its appearance. Some of the themes included are KDE3, Xfce4, GNOME2 or iMac. Aside from themes, Xfe also allows you to change its default font (Helvetica) so it will match the fonts used by your desktop environment.

The default look of Xfe features a directory tree view on the left and the files and folders panel occupying the rest of the space, but it comes with four view modes:
- a single panel (Ctrl+F1)
- the default tree view with panel (Ctrl+F2)
- twin-panel mode (Ctrl+F3)
- twin-panel and tree view (Ctrl+F4)
These view modes should be usually enough, however Xfe has no tab support yet.

Twin-panel mode

In twin-panel mode, each panel can be separately customised from the menu bar.

Xfe supports file filters, sorting files/folders by name, size, type, extension, permissions, bookmarks, it can display large or small icons and it also allows a listing mode. Thumbnails for images are also available.

Thumbnail previews

It supports archives and it can compress/uncompress files or folders, correctly detecting all the compressing tools available on the system.

Another plus of Xfe is that it comes bundled with several utilities, like a text editor (Xfw), text viewer (Xfv), image viewer (Xfi), and it allows to set default applications for audio/video player or image editor in the Preferences window. In fact, I found the image viewer quite nice, and can be used as a faster replacement for other viewers out there.

Xfi - Xfe comes with a simplistic image viewer too

The preferences window allows to change the font, the Xfe theme, default applications for opening various types of files, and several other options like the amount of lines the mouse should scroll or confirmation messages for quitting, deleting files etc.

As a conclusion, I think this file manager gets too little attention and it deserves really better. It's true that it has a downside: it doesn't integrate very well running aside GTK or Qt applications, but it has plenty of features, it's customisable and it comes bundled with several useful utilities too. Not to mention that it's fast and it provides four different view modes.

2 comments:

Zona de Slumbergod said...

I really liked it when I tried it a while back.

The issue that stopped me using it over Thunar and that was that if I was copying or moving a large file the application was essentially locked until that file operation was completed.

Perhaps this is no longer an issue?

rlynwood said...

Is this the File Manager that's derived from or similar to the Xplorer2 FM for Windows?