Sunflower – A small, highly configurable file manager


© Lead Image © Larisa Kravets,

© Lead Image © Larisa Kravets,

Article from Issue 165/2014

Sunflower is a highly configurable graphical file manager with two windows that implement an unusual concept by trying to integrate the command line with the file manager.

File managers on the popular desktop environments, such as Gnome, KDE, and Xfce, use a single window. Sunflower [1], however, continues in the vein of the classic Norton Commander – or its Linux counterpart, Midnight Commander – and uses two windows and a small row of buttons at the bottom for frequently used actions.

Sunflower, which is still actively developed, is lean and fast compared with the Gnome or KDE candidates. Implemented in Python, Sunflower has an interface that accepts plugins for new features. The control concept is different from its competitors, as well: The Sunflower file manager makes intensive use of the keyboard. In this respect, Sunflower is similar to Midnight Commander, although its design is quite different and extremely effective.


The main window (Figure 1) shows the two panes between which you can move files, directories, or selections in either direction via drag and drop. Each panel manages multiple directories in tabs, which you can rearrange and move between panels. This principle is also used by Chrome, Chromium, and Firefox browsers and takes just a short familiarization period to become second nature.


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