Microwave Biscuit

Comparison: Krusader vs. Gnome Commander

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on June 15, 2007

It’s not really a secret that I use Gnome but tend to prefer KDE applications so with that in mind my comparison of Krusader and Gnome Commander will probably be unbalanced at best.

First of all, both of these utilities are used as file managers and have the feel of Norton Commander of old. I’ve always liked tools like this in both Windows and in Linux. I especially like having a 2 pane interface to manage files within directories.

Secondly, the specific task that I am measuring is as follows: Connect to a share on a Windows machine, analyze/compare to a directory on my Linux machine and then synchronize the folders. Why am I doing this? Well, I have a “pictures” folder on my Windows box that I use as a master folder for all of my digital images which I share on my network so that my Wife’s PC can see them as well as for sharing with various other PCs. However, when it comes to really working with the pictures I prefer to use my Ubuntu machine for editing, uploading to Flickr, etc so I want to always be certain that I have the pictures stored on two machines.

Now, the test results.

Gnome Commander: When I open up Gnome Commander, it’s fairly easy to connect to a network share by clicking on the SMB button. It then searches for available workgroups and shares. It does take a few seconds to identify what is available, but locating my shared folder “All Pictures” is accomplished. However, if I close Gnome Commander and reopen it, it remembers my local folder selection on the left pane but on the right pane I get an error “file not found” and it defaults back to my home directory. It isn’t terribly difficult to reconnect however. Next, attempt to compare the directories. This is done by going to the Mark menu and selecting Compare Directories. At this point, nothing seems to happen. However, it does show in the bottom “2 of 2000″ files selected although there is no visible difference to let you know what it found different between the two folders. If you select copy it does actually copy the files. End of test. Result: Sort of pass. Would be nice to know what it found before copying with a visual clue. Could be that I don’t have the program configured correctly in some way but this seems to be the out of the box behavior.

Krusader: To create a new network connection, you click on a toolbar button “new network connection”. It doesn’t appear to browse the network; it just gives you a smb:// prompt which allows you to type the host name. Fortunately the host I’m connecting to has a short and easily remembered name. After that, available shares are displayed. Next to compare directories, there are two ways. You can go to the “edit” menu and select compare directories or you can select the “Tools” menu and choose “Synchronize Directories” which also includes a comparison feature. Using the Synchronize feature has quite a few options to only look at certain file types and many other choices followed by a “Synchronize Button” which will the sync up the two directories. This works and satisfies the requirements laid out. End of test. Result: Pass.

In this case for my specific task, Krusader seemed to work better. I prefer the network detection of Gnome Commander to Krusader but the synchronize functionality is much better in Krusader.

I may have missed an option or two in Gnome Commander but I couldn’t seem to find a “Synchronize” menu choice. I’m also not certain if it recursed through the directories to detect changes whereas Krusader definitely does. So, my final choice is to use Krusader.

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12 Responses

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  1. dthomasdigital said, on June 15, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the review, I’ve installed them both and plan to see which one I like.

  2. Derek Buranen said, on June 15, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I second the Thanks notion. This was a great article.

  3. boudie said, on October 25, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Nice article which would be *really* great if links to screenshots were included. ;-)

  4. ITman said, on February 19, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Nice article i just learned how to access the network via Krusader.
    I’m liking it more and more.
    Here are 2 things that I couldn’t find in Gnome commander.
    1. Krusader has a shell at the bottom
    2. It has tabs that remember all you locations next time you start it.

  5. swi said, on June 27, 2008 at 1:49 am

    “Next, attempt to compare the directories. This is done by going to the Mark menu and selecting Compare Directories. At this point, nothing seems to happen.”

    I had the same problem. Starting gnome-commander in a terminal and looking at the shell output revealed that the graphical comparison tool “meld” was missing. After installing it everything has been working nicely so far. It’s a bit odd though, that gnome-commander doesn’t give an error message when meld is missing.

  6. joecas said, on December 10, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Thanks for this article. I used Gnome since 3 weeks and before that I used KDE & Krusader only. With this review I’ll use the Gnome Commander ….

    ciao Joerg

  7. Roy said, on January 30, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    I am a Gnome fan who also preferred several KDE apps including Krusader. I found Gnome Commander and began using it, file transfers between the internal drive and my external USB drive were much faster. Then I found that many of the files GC had transferred were corrupted and unusable. >:( I went back to Krusader but since KDE 4, Krusader is unstable and prone to crashing. No twin-panel file managers for me now.

  8. Mark said, on July 10, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I’m a hardcore user of Total Commander (windows) and use almost all of it’s functionality. I must say, Krusader comes closest to it.

    Gnome commander has some real big downsides. It crashes often. When accidentally dragging a folder, it starts copying without warning and I have to search where it went to to delete it again, when aborting a copy, the partially copied file is not deleted, possibly leading to serious data loss issues, When copying a big folder recursively, there is no option to recurse existing directories but skip files, There is no quick search with just keys (only alt+keys and such), sometimes it spontaneously jumps to my home folder, it doesn’t preserver timestamps on SMB, and I could continue like this for a while.

    • Albert said, on July 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      As of mid-2011, the situation hasn’t changed. I also use Krusader because it seems to be the only option on Ubuntu (in the GUI; MC is really good in CLI). And every day I just wish I could use a Linux version of Total Commander in Ubuntu.

      Krusader can hardly compare with the polish and stability of TC, but it’s the only one with some of TC’s features like directory tree comparisons. All the others are just miserable, including MuCommander which I use occasionally on Macs. Sometimes I start my XP virtual machine, just to be able to use TC instead of Krusader.

  9. Ralph said, on January 27, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I was also using Krusader in the past, but it’s just too slow at least under GNOME. This is especially the case when browsing on my NFS shares. Krusader is the more complete tool than Gnome Commander.

    I’m now also trying out MuCommander, even though I don’t like Java applications, it looks interesting.

  10. Philsa said, on July 26, 2012 at 6:05 am

    I’ve just been trying out the Gnome Commander’s “compare directories”: big FAIL, useless. I want to know which files are exactly the same and which are not, and then be able to easily perform actions on that set of files. If it’s doing this it’s not usable. I’m often astonished at how bad some features are implemented in the Gnome world. Pity, lets down an otherwise pretty good file manager. I think GC’s team didn’t take this feature seriously.

    • Philsa said, on July 26, 2012 at 6:29 am

      I was perhaps a bit harsh. Different files are highlighted orange, leaving identical files unhighlighted. So for simply finding which files are not in common between directories, I suppose it’s not too bad. Like TFA I expected more information to pop up, but for the simplest use case it’s ok.

      The venerable EmelFM (the old original gtk1 version), an earlier OFM, remains my most favorite file manager for working with a lot of files. It is solid as a rock, fast as blazes, efficient as anything once learned, very configurable, and not dependent on peculiarities of the Gnome or other whizbang environment. You have to set it up manually so it opens files with the appropriate application and works how you want but it’s easy to customize and add user-defined functions and scripts to the contextual menu. I can’t recall if it had a compare directories plugin, I think it might have. For an advanced user I think it is far superior to its gtk2 successor EmelFM2 (a re-write not a port) which last time I checked was rather buggy and complicated. In adding eye candy and perhaps in the coding, EmelFM2 lost some of the speed and simplicity of the original.

      Unfortunately EmelFM1 development has been abandoned for a long time. Really, I just wish someone would take up development of EmelFM1 again and just port it to gtk2/3 without trying to reinvent what was close to a perfect simple OFM for serious users. GC is the next best thing to EmelFM1.


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