Ranger: Lightning Fast File Management

Ranger: Lightning Fast File Management

Article from Issue 203/2017

Stop fiddling around with the mouse or trackpad – do your file management in the terminal, with vi-like key bindings.

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as Linux was starting to get some serious attention, it was very difficult for Linux advocates to extol the benefits of the command line. Most DOS or Windows users had never seen a powerful command-line shell before – all they knew was the bare-bones, featureless, clumsy DOS prompt. They thought that was everything that was possible. Why switch to this weird Linux thing when you apparently have to do all the work in a DOS-prompt-type box?

Of course, you knew that Bash (like many other Unix shells) was a million miles ahead of the DOS prompt, but it was a hard sell. Over the years, however, the situation has improved considerably. Many Windows and Mac users have never been exposed to a command line before, so they have no negative preconceptions of how they work. We FOSS fans can demonstrate some cool time savers at the Bash prompt and impress potential convertees. (In fairness to Microsoft, PowerShell is a huge step up from the DOS prompt as well.)

While it's worth learning Bash shortcuts, key bindings, and scripts to make life easier, there are so many great terminal apps as well. Think of the Vim and Emacs editors, the Mutt email client, or the plethora of awesome development tools. But one thing you may have never tried is a command-line file manager. That may sound odd – after all, you can already manage files at the command line with cp, mv, rm, and other tools, right? Why would you need a separate app to do those jobs?


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