Since KDE 4.0, dolphin has been the default file manager for the KDE desktop. This saw the retirement of konqueror as the default file manager, with that application left to focus on web browsing – in fact, if you use konqueror as a file manager, you are simply using the dolphin “engine” within the konqueror window. Konqueror was a bit of a Swiss Army Knife of tools, and was often criticised for being too complex. However, I really liked it. You could use it as a file manager, document viewer, ftp client, cd ripper, archive browser, file manipulator and a seemingly endless number of other things. The dophin philosophy is:

Dolphin is a file manager focusing on usability. When reading the term Usability people often assume that the focus is on newbies and only basic features are offered. This assumption is wrong.

Although dolphin is stated as not being newbie focussed, it feels like it is slightly feature starved when compared with konqueror. Given that using konqueror as a file manager is effectively the same as using dolphin, where to from here? …. krusader. Krusader has been around for a long time. I remember using it in the KDE 2.* days. Krusader’s developer’s describe krusader as:

.. is an advanced twin panel (commander style) file manager for KDE and other desktops in the *nix world, similar to Midnight or Total Commander. It provides all the file management features you could possibly want.


Krusader is provided in the standard repositories of a wide range of distributions. I imagine if you are using a distribution that does not include it in its repositories, you will be competent to compile it from source.


Krusader is a commander style 2 panel file manager. On opening, it presents you with two panels side by side (which can be split horizontally if that’s your thing) displaying the contents of directories. This layout allows you to drag files and directories between the panels to copy or move them. There is only one way to view files, which is as either a simple list or a detailed list. There is no scope for an “icon” view, which can be a little limiting. This also means that you can’t see previews of files in the file list – although you can preview a file by right clicking on it, or in the preview panel (see below).


One cool feature of krusader are the available panels. These can be accessed by clicking on a green arrow at the bottom of each file list panel. This pops up a separate panel that can be used for a number of functions. You can preview a file, view the file’s contents (see screenshot to the right), or show the space used by files and directories in a filelight style layout.

Directory Syncing

This can be very useful for remote file management. Because krusader has the ability to use KIO slaves, you can open remote file systems via ftp, ssh, samba or nfs. You could then sync between a local directory and a remote directory. Say, for example you want to upload new files to your hosted website, you can just open the site via ftp, and then sync between the local store of the website files and the files on your host’s server. Very easy.


Krusader has a plethora of tools available. Some of the most common tasks can be performed by hitting the buttons at the bottom of the screen – these are also linked to the function buttons on the keyboard. You can compare two text files with the press of a button. You can mount and unmount disks using the mount manager. You can look inside package files such as .rpm’s or .deb’s.

Check out the video below using krusader to find files taking up space in a directory.