Saturday, 13 November 2010

Orthodox file managers

I remember when I was at elementary school in the computer lessons, we had XTs there (raah lovely for a Computer Hermit like me :) and I was learning to use DOS. Some guy told me "What are you doing? Try cd norton and then type nc". I am surprised now that he knew that thing because he didn't seemed like the person interested in learning what we did in the class. I didn't know what Norton Commander was then. I couldn't even imagine. I am curious about the cultural shock I might had then when I switched from the black DOS background to those two blue panels and never had to type DOS commands again (though I was pretty good at that already).

Well, I found about Norton Commander later and got used to it and loved it. I don't remember when and I don't remember my shock. I probably have missing memories. Much later I installed Windows 95 and so I was using the File Explorer. A friend introduced me to Total Commander (Windows Commander then) and since that time I can't live without it. I learn now that the whole concept of such a file manager is called an Orthodox file manager and there are a lot of managers in the similar style today. I think there is one or more in Amiga and there is certainly one in SymbOS for CPC which is called of course SymCommander :)

Not many people are using Total Commander or something similar. Of course it's hard to get into it when you are used to Windows Explorer. But I was already familiar with Norton Commander in DOS and the way I was using the arrow keys and TAB to navigate and all the other shortcuts, copying, moving, deleting, decompressing stuff in a frenzy, such way it would be not possible to do with windows explorer. I always hated when I had to open two windows explorers and move and resize the windows so that they don't overlap and drag and drop stuff with the mouse, which becomes a more cumbersome action especially if your mousepad sucks and you take a long effort to move stuff around. Ok,. it's not that bad, but when you are used into playing with the keys and copy/move stuff around and organize your directories and stuff so nicely and fast you can never go back.

People are crazed when I install Total Commander in their PC just so I can do my job. Some people hate it. I don't know why. There is even a group in facebook called "I hate Total Commander" but it's not a programm about which everyone talks, it's not a thing that is like a propaganda. It's a programm that very few know. How can they hate a thing that nobody cares about? The boss in my first job was surprised positively that I was using Total Commander and I was the only one there using it. Other people near me hate it, someone was afraid something was wrong with copying file because I wasn't using the explorer but that thing. Doh?

I thought about writting this post after reading a post in doomworld. There, people where asking how big is your Doom folder (with WADs and ports and stuff, mine is 4.5GB :). Someone said something like 20GB but he said his folder was a mess and there were many unorganized stuff that might be there twice or more. Anyway, he even asked for fun if he could pay someone to clean up that enormous mess. And then I thought, how do you organize that thing? Total commander of course. If you see how fast I can navigate around left-right panel, create/delete directories in one side, to copy stuff from the other side, make extremely organized folders/subs to copy stuff there and move stuff from where they don't belong you can understand how helpful is this for organizing messy files on your PC. Of course you can do this with explorer too but I imagine it would be quite more annoying. My other thought is, people who have a mess in their PC (desktop with random scattered files) might be too lazy to take care of this mess in the first place anyways. Total Commander makes me navigate like crazy around and organizing stuff. It comes naturally.

I am a maniac for organizing my folders. Sometimes I don't do it. Sometimes I also have mess in my desktop (but very few). I organized project folders, game folders, demo folder, all with sub-folders categorizing by various criteria (year, group for demos, genre for games, finished/unfinished projects, etc), moving old games/project/demos/etc to those folders in a speed frenzy. Love it!

p.s. I am curious, for someone who might know. Is there a file manager where you can put additional keywords on the folders? So I have my demos organized by groups and not year. Could I put a keyword of the year at each of the demo folders or also other keywords (e.g. this demo has 'plasma', crazy :) and have a file manager that you can see the folders as dir but it could also use the keywords as additional virtual folder structures to move around? Now that would be something for the folder organizing maniac like me :P

p.p.s. Oh, I used the word 'folder'. Shit! I hate it how it's not called directory anymore but got used to it. Nah..

1 comment:

  1. In KDE/Linux you can add one or more metadata (called tags) to a directory, and find them later using these tags as keywords. The technology kde using for this is called nepomuk. I don't know if there is a windows implenmetation of this, but winFS will be based on relational databases, so you will be able do it by default.

    I also condemn explorer file manger, and windows overlapping as the world default desktop behaviour.