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OFM Bulletin, Vol 10 (2006)

2006: 20 Years of Norton Commander Jubilee  !!!


2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 Archives

[Dec 27, 2006]  Ytree Home Page

New in 1.85

[Dec 27, 2006]  Ultimate Commander  A modern orthodox file manager.

Ultimate Commander strives to be an incredibly powerful orthodox file manager developed with a special focus on usability, extensibility, portability, and power users.

[Dec 20, 2006]  Filer  A small Perl-based OFM file manager.

It's really small and as such modifiable

Filer is a small file manager with a classic two-pane view. It supports all basic file operations like copy, move, rename, and delete.

[Dec 20, 2006] Open File Manager  A console-based Unix file manager by Raphael Bugajewski

The Open File Manager is a console-based Unix file manager with a Norton Commander look. It is based on ncurses, and it is very flexible.

[Dec 20, 2006] Rad File Manager A Web based file manager.

Two panel manager that can be used as a proxy for Orthodox manager on hosting sites without shell acess

The Rad File Manager is a file manager Web application that has the look and feel of an FTP client, but uses the HTTP protocol. Since information about each uploaded file is stored in a database, it can be easily integrated with existing Web sites and applications.

[Dec 19, 2006] A survey of Linux file managers By: Bruce Byfield

Using a command-line file manager is like stepping back in time. Most of them are based on Norton Commander, the old DOS standby. Both Midnight Commander and FD Clone display two panels and use either the function keys or keybindings to manipulate selected files. Midnight Commander even goes so far as to borrow the Norton Commander's blue and cyan color scheme.

Command-line file managers not only pack considerable functionality into small programs, but also frequently include functions not found in many desktop file managers, such as as an FTP client and advanced sorting options. They are particularly apt to support a full set of keybindings; vifm even goes so far as to borrow vi keybindings. Even if you spend most of your time on the desktop, you should probably familiarize yourself with one command-line file manager for the rare time you need it. Fortunately, that's not hard to do.

[Nov 25, 2006] Orthodox file managers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term eventually got into Wikipedia :-)

Orthodox File Managers (OFM), also known as Commander-like file managers, are the family of file managers based on the old Norton Commander interface.

The following features more or less define the class of orthodox file managers:

Other common features include:

All orthodox file managers have similar user interfaces. Interface varies among operating systems and graphic, text background. The orthodox file manager has two windows called panels where one is active and the other inactive. The idea is to manipulate files from active to inactive panel or within active panel. This gives user the ability to use only the keyboard, which makes the process much faster. Each panel shows information about the path (disk, folder, remote address...) and files with usually customizable columns that show relevant file information. Panels can be switched using tab key. Main sections of user interface are:

  1. path: shows the source/destination location of the directory in use
  2. information about directory size, disk usage and disk name
  3. panel with information about file name, extension, date and time of creation, last modification, permissions (attributes) and other
  4. info panel with number of files in directory, sum of size of selected files..
  5. tabbed interface (usually GUI file managers)
  6. function keys: F1ĖF10 have all the same functions under all OFM's: Example F5 always copies file(s) from active to inactive panel, while F6 moves the file.

Most functions are always available through shortcut keys. The introduction of tabbed panels to some managers made it possible to manipulate more than one action at the time. A frequently used feature is synchronization where multiple destinations can be updated from the same source. The ability to support many different archives, file systems and remote addresses made these file managers popular among administrators. The consistent interfaces made it possible to switch to any platform and be able to do the same work without much effort.

[Nov 24, 2006] Perl FS 1.05 - Total Commander

Perl FS 1.05

Plugin allows to write file system plugins for Total Commander in Perl language.
Simply take the plugin file that corresponds to your Perl's version (TotalCmdPerlFSplugin.ActivePerl5.6.wfx or TotalCmdPerlFSplugin.ActivePerl5.8.wfx), rename it as you like (e.g. MyPlugin.wfx) and create a new file with
the same name and .pl extension ( which will contain your Perl code.

Category: TC File System Plugins
Status: freeware
Size: 93 KB
Author: Eugeniy Ogloblin
Added: 12.03.2004
Updated: 15.05.2004

[Nov 15, 2006] Obsession Development gentoo -- GUI-based flexible filemanager for Unix

gentoo is back

Sorry for taking so long to restore this page. It got lost when switched web hotels, and I only now (late May, 2006) realized that I did in fact have a local back-up. Thanks to all of you who have e-mailed me suggesting that I just snag it from, I did end up doing that to some extent, too.


gentoo is a modern, powerful, flexible, and utterly configurable file manager for UNIX systems, written using the GTK+ toolkit. It aims to be 100% graphically configurable; there's no need to edit config files by hand and then restart the application. gentoo is somewhat inspired in its look & feel by the classic Amiga program DirectoryOpus 4 (by GP Software), but is not a "clone". gentoo has been successfully tested on a variety of platforms, including Linux (x86, Alpha, and PS2/MIPS), Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.


Some of the main features of gentoo are:

mc-light 4.1.40.p9_6* A lightweight Midnight Commander clone

Reaction to MC 6.x overcomplexity.

Maintained by: search for ports maintained by this maintainer
port added: 02 Sep 2004 12:26:58
Also listed in: misc

FSGuide - commander of the web

FSGuide is a Norton Commander-clone for the web, which might be useful when you do not have shell access to your server, but want to perform various file operations. As a hosting provider, you can even give this tool to your hosting users, so they can access and modify their files through FSGuide - or you can use it yourself as a system administration tool.

Note: Due to the limitations of running scripts in server environment, you can reach only those files of the filesystem that are available to the web user (www-data or wwwrun used by Apache). In general, it's much more than just the files and directories under document root!

FSGuide features: a page for c-c++ programmer. Beesoft Commander is a file manager (like Norton Commander) for Linux. It is based on Qt-GUI.

Author: Piotr Pszczolkowski (
Status: Stable release.
Version: 2.20
Licence: GNU GPL.
Donation: donation info

Every panel can contain many tabs that show different directories. Ctrl+T (or right position in the menu) creates a new tab in the current panel, Ctrl+W (or right position in the menu) deletes the current tab from the current panel, and Ctrl+Enter opens a new tab for the chosen directory. The combination of keys for 'searcher' has been changed, and is now Ctrl+F7 (Alt+F7 is already used by GNOME). The combination of keys to create a new file has been changed to Ctrl+N (Ctrl+T is now used for creating a new tab in a panel). There is a position in the menu for changing panel places.

[May 11, 2006] Google Operating System The Most Powerful Windows Application

How much would you pay for an application that can do:

* file-manager inspired by Norton Commander, but with a modern Windows interface
* has two panes for easy file management
* every pane can have as many tabs as you want
* advanced file search with regular expressions
* rename multiple files
* split files (useful if you want to send a large file by email)
* pack/unpack files in ZIP format
* compare directories
* synchronize directories
* FTP client with support for SFTP
* document viewer that supports: text files, source code files (Assembler, C++, CSS, Delphi, FoxPro, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, SQL, XML), HTML, RTF, Word documents, Excel sheets, OpenOffice documents, executable files, DLL, INI files, registry files, image files (PNG, JPG, GIF, Paint Shop Pro, BMP, PSD, ICO, CUR, ANI, MAC, WMF, EMF, PIC), Flash, media files (MP3, WMA, OGG, AVI), database files (FoxPro, dBase, Paradox, Access, MySQL, CSV), archives (RAR, ZIP, TAR, GZ, 7zip, bzip2), disk image files (ISO, BIN, IMG, NRG)
* AES encryptor (encrypt/decrypt files with 128bit key using password or keyfile)
* decompilation of 32-bit PE executables (EXE SCR) and libraries (DLL OCX CPL BPL), resource files (RES DCR)
* create a list file with all selected files and directories
* count the size of all files in a directory
* shows informations about solar and moon dates, celebrations and calendars
* synchronize your local computer with atomic time via Internet
* browse NT events and services faster
* view/edit/kill processes that are running currently on the system
* RSS Reader
* CD/DVD burning
* view and edit files on ext2 partitions (useful to manage files on Linux partitions from Windows)
* mount disk images as additional virtual drives in system
* much more...

You can pay $34 or you can use it for free, if you don't mind clicking on a button everytime the application starts. Total Commander PowerPack is the most powerful Windows utility you can get for free. And the setup has less than 15MB.

Just compare this list of characteristics with the features of any other application and you will get the most feature-rich and the most powerful Windows application.

[May 10, 2006] Just a blogspot March 2006

Have you ever wondered how many twin panel file managers or so called commanders are still out there? Well, I might be able to give you an impression. For some time now I was fishing for all that are still available online. Some are probably missing from the list, but there can not be many of them. The list includes only file managers with graphical user interface. Those that run in console are skipped for various reasons. List descends on release date.

The list is structured in two categories:

* boldly going on - last update is less than a years ago.
* ghostly ancestors - last update is lost but never forgotten.

Info was gathered on forums, through Google search and some user groups. Very informative sites are and I also found some sites that have listed a lot of file managers, but at closer look I found that not all of them are twin-panel file managers. I only listed those that I could confirm. If someone corrects me with fresh data Iíll promptly change the list, otherwise Iíll update on undesignated period of time. In next days this list will end up on wikipedia, where I think it will be much more frequently updated. If you are in any way associated with these projects, please take care of correct data on the wikipedia.
While browsing through this list try to think about how much programmerís power is lost in open source projects since everybody wants to start on his own. On the other hand Windows projects show that this is indeed an important aspect of file management. The most advanced ones for windows are shareware.

While gathering this info on file managers I also found that some info is very hard to find, thus was not included in the list. Iím talking about info like programming language and requirements. Some projects donít even write down the program versions or dates of releases. You have to run the program to find the numbers. Last update is march. 2006.

Ö boldly going on

Ö ghostly ancestors

Windows users mostly talk about Total Commander, Directory Opus, Speed Commander and Servant Salamander twin panel file managers. Total Commander is definitely the leader in this group, but other are closely behind it. Total Commander is from historical viewpoint unmatchable. This is also probably the reason why a lot of users still stick with it. Looking at features and user interface Total Commander is the most robust. Users on its forum get deep in the flame wars every time the improvement of GUI is mentioned. Most of the users prefer functionality over looks and great majority want it to perform fast without unnecessary bloat. For this reason a plugin system was introduced. Other candidates put a lot of time to user interfaces and feature set that has no direct connection to file management. Most Total Commander users demand those features to be kept to plugin system domain or to be connected to an outside application.

On Linux there is really only one graphical twin-panel file manager in constant development. Thatís Krusader. There is a rival that is not very frequently updated, but still holds a big share of users and thatís Midnight Commander or mc that natively runs in text mode. It was last time updated on 23.07.2005. Others that show some development are Tux Commander, natively written for Gnome and multiplatform muCommander and JFileRunner that are written in Java. Krusader is file manager primarily build for KDE desktop environment harvesting a lot of itís power and is taking a middle road in comparison to Total Commander on Windows operating system. It takes care of its GUI, but still puts a lot of focus on speed also minimizing feature set to strict file management. Other functions are integrated through KDE libraries and plugin system. Introduction of Useractions gave the user possibilities to automate procedures within the manager.
In last days, we were witnesses to resurrection of Gnome Commander in version 1.1.7. Good luck, Piotr!

Trend that is momentarily present in all leading commander style file managers, especially in Window environment is spreading functionality to image viewing of many raster and vector formats, editors for different documents metadata, thus stepping into by-file management domains. A lot of work is done on automating frequently repeated actions, parallel file operations and support for handling most (if not all) known packaging formats with encryption support. There is currently a user interface trend to have all functions open in twin panels instead of separate windows. This gives an impression that all twin panel file managers want to become multipurpose.

[Apr 28, 2006] lfm - Last File Manager Last File Manager

is a simple but powerful file manager for the UNIX console. It has been developed with the ol' good Midnight Commander as model. From version 0.6 and up lfm package also contains pyview, a text / hex file viewer to be used with or without lfm. Read README.pyview for more info about it.

[Mar 25, 2006] OFM - Norton Commander etc. (letter to the editor; received 1/23/2006 ).

It looks like the author independently invented an interface similar to Norton commander in 1983 2 years before the first NORTON COMMANDER.

I often wondered when exactly the first Norton Commander had been developed.

The reason for this is: When I was in school in Germany we had an OS called E.U.M.E.L. which was far better than any DOS that came later on. It used a programming language called ELAN and a virtual file system. Like in unix every user had his own personal directory and then there was a "father" directory to which you could copy files and an "archive" directy which was the floppy disk.

The system consisted of one PC - something like a 8086 - with a floppy drive in it and a serial connection to around five other "workstations" which were mainly only a screen and a keyboard, like the usual terminal/host environments of those days. It had two external 10MB Winchester hard drives connected, where one was backed up onto the other one every 20 mins.

I didnít know any computer system before I saw this one in our computer room at the age of 16.

Of course the UI those days was completely command based, and the OS prompt was: "gib kommando:". There were commands like "edit", "copy", "delete", "run", "insert" etc, were the editor was far better than any dos based editor I ever saw years later, with print formatting TEX-like, tiled windows so you can program in two places in the same file etc. In the programming language you could use any shell command directly in your code, like it was a program function, and the other way round.

One day after creating a kind of GUI for the floppy disk system so that you didn't have to remember the name of each floppy disk to "login" to the floppy handler, I thought of doing the same for general file manipulation, because I hated all those typing - strange, being a programmer. :-)

So I created a GUI with two windows, one left, one right. In the left window I showed the inventory of the personal directory, on the right side was the father dir. With the function keys - that were never used before by any program I knew on the EUMEL OS- one could copy (from active to non active window), delete, run, edit, print the file under the cursor.

Files were tagged by pressing the space bar when over them, tagged state was shown by inverting the "color" (on monochrom displays). Commands were executed onto the tagged files, or - when there were none - on the file beneath the "cursor" - I guess I used a ">" on the left of the file for the cursor.

My "Dateimanager" as I called it in German (file manager in english) also had a title line which showed which commands were executed with which function keys. I donít remember if it had a command line also, but due to the fact that there were only about 5 standard commands that were all on the function keys, that was not very useful anyway.

Unfortunately at that time I didn't even know that there was a "life outside of EUMEL". :-) What I had seen was the birth of the VC20 and later C64, which never were real computers in my eyes.

Then my teacher one day showed us a ďMacintoshĒ with a ďmouseĒ and a ďgraphical interfaceĒ. I looked at it and only told him: ďThat mouse will never make it in the future of computers. It is faster to press a key than to move a mouse around to try and click on small pictures.Ē

Years after I left school and my ELAN system on my own pc (bought for 13,000 DM) crashed and took all of my programs with it, I started to use DOS 3.0 and learn Pascal. I found out about useful programs as XTREE GOLD, and even later I saw the NORTON COMMANDER for the first time and could not believe my eyes. That looked more or less exactly like my file manager. I started with my file manager around the years 1983-1984 and included it in our OS so everybody could use it. So it was 2 years before the first NORTON COMMANDER.

I donít think that the programmer did see something of my original program, because it only ran on our EUMEL system. But it is a kind of strange feeling that someone writes a program with such a huge impact in the computer business that I had programmed 2 years earlier, even if it was for another OS and not as complex. But that was due to the fact that I didnít have any chance to distribute my programs to more ppl out of my school and so I hadnít any feedback, and then I left school.

I hope this information is of some worth for you. It took me some time to write it down in a foreign language.

Greetings Thomas Friedrich

[Mar 25, 2006] AutoHotkey - Free Mouse and Keyboard Macro Program with Hotkeys and AutoText Nice addition to windows.

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source utility for Windows. With it, you can:

Getting started might be easier than you think. Check out the quick-start tutorial.

More About Hotkeys

AutoHotkey unleashes the full potential of your keyboard, joystick, and mouse. For example, in addition to the typical Control, Alt, and Shift modifiers, you can use the Windows key and the Capslock key as modifiers. In fact, you can make any key or mouse button act as a modifier. For these and other capabilities, see Advanced Hotkeys.

Other Features

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