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OFM Bulletin 2001

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GNU Midnight Commander File Manager  Last version 4.5.55 (released August 24, 2001) is here (source)

[Oct.1, 2001] I added information about mcedit (the editor use in Midnight Commander) to my editor page

[Sep 23, 2001] nc.el --- emulates famous Ms-Dos file browser in Emacs.

 Copyright (C) 1996 Stefan Hegny, Ilya Zakharevich Author: Stefan Hegny ( with improvements by Ilya Zakharevich ( Available:  Suggested by Juhapekka "naula" Tolvanen

[Aug 24, 2001] GNU Midnight Commander 4.5.55

GNU Midnight Commander 4.5.55 has been released.

Development of the GNOME frontend will continue on the stable branch only:
"Branch_MC_4_5_x".  All GNOME support will be removed from the head branch
in the next few days.


- Mostly bugfixes and portability fixes.  Making things work as they
  were meant to work.

- Text edition improvements.
        - Ctrl-O supported in the viewer and editor.
        - Better terminal support.  Should not need "Learn Keys" on rxvt
          and xterm in most cases.

- GNOME edition improvements.
        - Find dialog rewritten.
        - Editor and viewer ask whether to save modified file when
          closed from window manager.

- Editor.
        - New syntax rules - S-Lang, PO files, Octave.
        - Alt-B goes to matching bracket.

- Portability improvements.
        - Should compile out-of-box on Cygwin and QNX Neutrino.
        - Can be compiled by BSD make.
        - Subshell and VFS code are safer and more portable.

- Experimental features (disabled by default).
        - Charset conversion support.
        - Large (64-bit) file support on 32-bit systems.


The source tarball is currently available here:

Note that the final location will be

Any help with moving the tarball to the final location (or giving me
access to do so) will be appreciated.

Pavel Roskin

[Jun 30, 2001] WINDOWS COMMANDER 4.53 Shareware ($28)

[May 25, 2001] Inside Solaris - Midnight Commander

A long time ago, on another computing platform, Peter Norton Computing released Norton Commander. This became my favorite file management program. As I wandered further and further into the UNIX realm, I found it hard to believe that a program like this wasn't available on UNIX. Finally, I came across Midnight Commander, as shown in Figure A. It offers more features than Norton Commander and, unlike Norton Commander, it runs on a variety of different computing platforms.

[May 24, 2001] Mc down the drain

Web site was not updated since September 2000. Project seems to be dead.

From: "Marc" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 15:40:54 +0200

Where is Midnight commander?

I managed to download some old tar files but now there is no documentation. The link called "documentation" on the MC
site brings you to a website where documentation of some software group is managed.

Why isn't MC kept simple like it used to be? Wasn't that one of the the succesfactors of this piece of software?

Why is there not a simple procedure on the MC site that explains where to get it and how to install it even though the
redirected links are there?

Last question. What simple filemanager for the HP UNIX 10.20 could I use, where to download and how to install?

Re: Mc down the drain

From: Michael Schmidt <>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 08:13:41 +0200

On Mon, Sep 18, 2000 at 03:40:54PM +0200, Marc wrote:
> Where is Midnight commander?
> Why isn't MC kept simple like it used to be? Wasn't that one 
> of the the succesfactors of this piece of software?

My personal point of view is that a few people have put too much 
graphics tittle-tattle and too much feature tittle-tattle into mc, 
would have been much better to stabilize mc's runtime solidity. 

> Why is there not a simple procedure on the MC site that explains 
> where to get it and how to install it even though the redirected 
> links are there?

Don't know, perhaps certain persons do not like that for any reasons.
Sorry, but one may get this impression.

> Last question. What simple filemanager for the HP UNIX 10.20 
> could I use, where to download and how to install?

The mc version I have compiled under HPUX-10.20 and which runs here 
until today without known problems is mc-4.5.33.
Feel free to get the sources tarball from our site at:

Have a nice day

[May 04, 2001] X Northern Captain 4.4.4 was released.

 XNC can be downloaded from the  or from    as mentioned on your page. Link no longer exists. Since 4.4.0 version XNC has plugins support for loading different skins/themes. Two themes are available in 4.4.4 version - Aqua theme and Five theme. You can found screen shots on the main XNC site.

[Apr 18, 2001] Drall -- Stable version

Much better that it was and now supports authentication using the same author's Averist module. Written in Perl (GNU license) Screenshots:

Here is the quote from the author page:

If you like Drall, please express your satisfaction with a donation: send me what you feel Drall has been worth to you. If you are glad that I developed Drall and distribute it as free software, rather than following the obstructive and antisocial practices typical of software developers, reward me. If you would like me to develop more free software, contribute.

[Apr 12, 2001] Webexplorer

PHP-based. Free for non-commercial use. See also homepage programs written by Sune Alexandersen

WebExplorer is a Windows Explorer style file manager through your web-browser, but don't let the "Windows part" of it scare you away! Just upload the file to your designated "admin" directory on your PHP enabled website, edit the variable $basedir to reflect your website, and off you go!!

This application lets you edit, browse, CHMOD, view, move, rename, copy, and create files/directories in any forms/tables enabled browser. You even have the option to create html skeleton-files.

[Mar 12, 2001] Gossamer Threads - FileMan - A web-based file manager that allows you to manage a website without using FTP!

[Mar 2, 2001] fmweb - the universal web-based file manager

Java based specialized HTTP Server. Still raw

fmweb is a web-based filemanager written in Java. It can be used to manage the local filesystem or via the TCP/IP network the filesystems of remote machines. The communication is via HTTP. fmweb has a built-in WWW server.
Although fmweb is a platform-independent java application, it offers many functions that specialized file managers for the operating system provide. This latest version has been tested on Linux, Windows 95, Windows/NT and SUN Solaris. Previous versions also worked on AIX and OS/2 and the new version should work on these platforms too.

[Mar 2, 2001]  DOS Navigator Open Source Project released  DN version 1.51.12  Seems to be buggy.

[Mar 2, 2001] FILE MANAGEMENT FOR DOS. [page 1 of 2] Rich Green page

[Mar 2, 2001] UPX Homepage

 GPLed execution compressor added to useful add-ons. Especially useful for recovery floppies.

[Feb 12, 2001] Are Unix GUIs all wrong

 What if the Unix GUI didn't need a mouse? What if every application could be controlled solely with the keyboard? What if every new window that you popped up got the focus by default (this works with click-to-focus, but you need window manager help with focus-follows-mouse). See also Slashdot discussion: Are Unix GUIs All Wrong
On the subject of keyboardability, posted 11 Feb 2001 by RyanMuldoon

The mention of XMLTerm reminded me about the EFM approach to integrating the command line with the GUI. EFM had a graphical file listing, but you could also just start typing in commands. It worked pretty well. My understanding is that Nautilus may incorporate this feature post-1.0. That would probably be rather useful. It doesn't solve the issue of having commandline tools pop up GUI windows and such, but it does manage to avoid it. Nautilus is setting out to create GUI tools to eliminate the need for CLI. As much as I'd like to think otherwise, I still can't use linux without a console. I don't even notice it - but a novice user most definitely would. What we should try and focus on is incorporating (or even surpassing) the expressiveness of the command line into the simpler interface of the GUI. Pointing, clicking and dragging has basically no semantic value right now. I have high hopes for what things like "emblems" in Nautilus could do - little symbols that you can attach to an icon that represent an action. If you think about it, that has a lot of power if it is implemented well. That should be complemented by the ability to use things like Nautilus or EFM like "graphical shells" - not filemanagers per se, but just a graphical context for inputting commands. Of course, as I said in my last post, such things would benefit even more by a semantically richer filesystem and increased metadata. But that requires a pretty big change.

Sort of., posted 11 Feb 2001 by egnor

Some aspects of the command line need to remain on the console, so they can be piped to other programs. And even if everyone has a GUI, system processes often have no interface at all. If 'tar' always pops up a status bar, what happens when 'tar' is running from a cron job? Does the logged-in user get a random status bar on their screen?

You are also presumably assuming some sort of remote-display system that's at least as efficient as a remote console. (X is no good; I can use command-line tools over a 300bps link if that's what I have, but the X protocol doesn't work well until at least 64k-128k or so, and in many cases not even then.)

If you solve these problems, what you're left with is the Plan 9 user interface, give or take. Plan 9 takes the philosophy that consoles are dumb teletypes (no VT100 emulation); if you want output that can be redirected, use the console; if you want something like 'curses', that's what the GUI is for. (And yes, transparent remote access to everything is possible.) It's not a bad model; the VT100 character-grid interface really has no reason to exist.

(If you don't solve these problems, but merely brush them under the rug, what you're left with is the Windows user interface, give or take.)

Is that what you had in mind?

Some programs, posted 11 Feb 2001 by nether

This is not an entirely new idea. For example, there's Ion, a window manager that's designed to be used with a keyboard. (Yes, you can use it with a mouse, too, but it's not quite what you're used to.) I use it all the time.


Ion doesn't provide much in the way of integrating command-line tools with a GUI (try XMLterm for that), but it's definitely a step towards closing the gap between "console" and "GUI".

Some of this already works in KDE 2, posted 11 Feb 2001 by tackat

> What if the Unix GUI didn't need a mouse? What if every application could be controlled solely with the keyboard?

This is already possible in KDE 2 for a long time via DCOP. Fire up kwrite (make sure you don't have two kwrites there at the same time -- otherwise you have to add the pid to those commands) and type into your favourite xterm:


dcop kwrite KWriteIface insertText 'Windows rocks!' true

dcop kwrite KWriteIface setCursorPosition 0 8 true

dcop kwrite KWriteIface insertText 'sux! KDE ' true

dcop kwrite KWriteIface shiftHome

dcop kwrite KWriteIface writeFile 'conquer_your_desktop.txt'


or check your Mail using KMail by entering:

dcop kmail KMailIface checkMail

or bind the command "dcop kdesktop KScreensaverIface lock" to your "Pause"-key using kmenuedit. That way you can start kscreensaver by pressing the "Pause"-key.

To explore the possibilities you might want to use kdcop.

[Jan 29, 2001] Linux Orbit - Features The LO Newbie Tests Mouseless (Midnight) Commander

[Jan 25, 2001] XNC 4.4.

If you want to compile it for Solaris you need to use the "-fpermissive" flag to gcc. The reason is that the X11 header files don't declare a return type, which is illegal in C++. This is well known problem, and the workaround would be to specify the "-fpermissive" flag to gcc. This turns the errors into warnings. After that it compiles OK.

[Jan 15, 2001] Linux Commander Homepage. still in beta. Here is some info from the homepage:

Sep 05 2000 - Released version 0.4.0. This has some major improvements (ChangeLog) Do NOT use the command line in this release! I will fix things in 0.4.1


[Jan 15, 2001] Not A Commander - a better rip-off of Norton Commander(tm)

Not A Commander
a better (and this time graphical) rip-off of Norton Commander(tm)

by Sergey Babkin <>

This project's purpose is file manager for X11 with user interface inspired by Norton Commander (tm). There had been a number of those for DOS (Volcov Commander, DOS Navigator), Unix text interface (Mecomp Commander, Demos Commander, Midnight Commander), Windows (Windows Commander). I think that none of them except Volcov Commander (which is very much a re-creation of NC3 with features from NC4 but wihtout the bloat of NC4) quite caught the reason why the original NC did so well: it practically did not impede the access to the command line in any way, just complemented it. Another thing is that I hate mouse-oriented environments, they make my wrist ache badly. All these graphical environments may be a good thing if the mouse would be subtracted from them. So now I want to make another take: create a file manager for X11 that does things right. Actually, the prototypes show that I may be able to get even better integration with the command line than the original NC ever had.

The development is going in the Way of Natural Stupidity: first get sometihng working and then add the features and refine the design. The main architectural goal is to keep the architecture flexible and make future changes easy.

The current state of development is a "prototype": something missing too much functionality even to be called an alpha-release.

[Jan 15, 2001] Simple File Manager SFM, a TCL file manager for X11, compatible with TCL 7.5 and Wishx 4.1.

[Jan 12, 2001] Tk Fileman A simple file manager that supports a simple GUI for tar/untar/gzip/gunzip of files.

[Jan 5, 2001] Fabio Mancinelli's Home Page

This is the final project for the Interfaces classes I've taken at the University of Nice. It's a powerful file manager under XWindow that resembles the good old Norton Commander. It's also capable of doing FTP transfers.

[Jan 5, 2001] UnixTree Homepage - XTree alike filemanager for Unix - Linux


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