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Midnight Commander Development Revived 304

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the always-nice-to-see-popular-packages-resurrected dept.
richlv writes "Popular Unix console file manager Midnight Commander has experienced a stall for the last few years. Most distributions (including the conservative Slackware) shipped patched packages or snapshots. Despite that, everybody had a favorite bug or two — either inability to specify ssh connection port, or problems with interrupted FTP sessions. Or maybe copying of larger datasets. Or maybe the infamous 'shell is still active' message, which often brought unexpected changes of current directory with it. Whatever it was, we either cursed it every time, or learned to live with it. It seems that finally something many were waiting for has happened — there's some activity on mc development. Check out the new homepage, and let's hope revival is both healthy and lengthy."
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Midnight Commander Development Revived

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  • Yes, and let's welcome them back by taking down their webserver.

    Nice job.

  • window maker ??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:08PM (#26612751) Journal

    I'm still waiting for a restart on wmaker's development. anyone have any news about it ?

  • great for patch work (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nevets (39138) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:09PM (#26612777) Homepage Journal

    I love mc!

    I use it all the time for patch management. One little tidbit that most people do not know about mc is that you can cd into a patch. Edit the diffs in the patch, and copy a diff from one patch to another patch file, just like copying or moving a file.

  • when he learns someone his cloning his file manager.

    I'm interested to hear from MC users the advantages of MC over say konqueror with frames and fish to do remote file management.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm interested to hear from MC users the advantages of MC over say konqueror with frames and fish to do remote file management.

      How about not needing an X-Windows environment?
    • He still alive? I thought he sold it all the Symantec anyway, including rights to use his name. Oh yea I remember now he married Gwen Adams after his divorce from Eileen Harris, further proof of the old saying that once you go black you never go back.
      • I thought he sold it all the Symantec anyway, including rights to use his name

        And I'm sure he's considering suing them for defamation of character.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Richard Steiner (1585)

      How do I use konqueror with frames and fish on my web tablet? :-)

      MC is self-contained, relatively easy to install, fast, and works with vanilla ssh. Not sure what frames and fish are (links?), but I'd be surprised if they were as easy to install for a non-root user (as I often am).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hatta (162192)

        Frames are just that, frames. Like in a web browser, but instead for your file browser. Pretty simple. MC has 2 frames, konquorer can have as many frames as you like.

        FiSH is a Filesystem over SsH. Put fish://user@host/path/ in your konqueror address bar and you can browse a remote filesystem just as if it were local. It all works out of the box too, really nice.

      • Fish [wikipedia.org] means that you can do file movement over ssh (meaning you dont need anything more than ssh running on the server)
        Frames are well frames, as in its a filemanager that has a left/right or top/bottom divide, much like mc, so you can drag files from one side to the other.

        I do think its not really fair to compare GUI tools to CLI tools as konqueror has the obvious disadvantages of being a gui tool, while i can also get an uninitiated friend to drag the music he wants to a second frame, while this is unlike

        • by jgrahn (181062)

          Fish means that you can do file movement over ssh (meaning you dont need anything more than ssh running on the server)

          Like scp(1) or rsync(1), then? Scp comes with any sensible ssh installation, and rsync is very widely used.

    • by bannerman (60282)

      I'm glad somebody else remembers Norton Commander.

      • by Atilla (64444)

        Norton Commander was great until it hit ver. 5, when it became bloatware. It felt sluggish and ate a ton of memory, which was still pretty important then (especially for those that still sported 640K-1M of RAM)... Volkov Commander became a great substitute, since it was written in assembly and the executable was quite a bit less than 100K in size (comparing to ~300K or so of NC executable).. It was so common in some places (like Russia) that people thought there was something wrong with a PC if NC or VC was

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ChienAndalu (1293930)

      1. Pops up faster
      2. Being able to use it over a tty console
      3. Hotkeys
      4. If you want to compare it to a KDE app, at least pick Krusader
      5. Profit

  • Amish (Score:2, Funny)

    by heson (915298)
    Amish 2.0, now with computers but with the ui equivilient of a buggy.
  • by Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:15PM (#26612897) Homepage Journal

    Midnight Commander is one of the tools that I could live without, but I sure wouldn't want to. I use it all over the place ... on the Solaris servers and my Windows XP workstation here at work, on my Linux, OS/2, and Windows boxes at home, on my Nokia 770 tablet, etc.

    It makes it easier to delete files and directory trees with certainty (and accuracy!), the built-in editor is good enough for modifying shell scripts and even making moderate code changes to more involved programs, its built-in FTP capability is invaluable when one has to flip a lot of files or directories between hosts, and its customizable menus and panelization capabilities can add some fairly powerful capabilities to even the most dedicated command-line user.

    I love my Midnight Commander! :-)

  • by pla (258480) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:18PM (#26612967) Journal
    ...To mistype "mv".

    Seriously, I can't say much about the merits of Midnight Commander as an actual program, but for years I've not-so-silently cursed it for its choice of executable names.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drooling-dog (189103)

      ...To mistype "mv".

      This is the first thing I thought of when I saw this article, and I had a bet with myself that someone else would mention it, too. There aren't many shell commands more common than "mv", and the 'c' key is sitting there right next to the 'v'. Yes, you can alias your way out of this, but I found it simpler and more satisfying to just "rm /usr/bin/mc".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, you can alias your way out of this, but I found it simpler and more satisfying to just "rm /usr/bin/mc".

        Um...or you could just remove the package properly. And complain to the idiot devs of your distro for installing such a niche package by default.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I've had the same problem with metafont. The 'f' is even closer to the 'v' than the 'c' is. And the worst thing is, you can't even kill mf with ctrl-c. You have to ctrl-z out of it, then `kill -9 %1`.

      • by jgrahn (181062)

        I've had the same problem with metafont. The 'f' is even closer to the 'v' than the 'c' is. And the worst thing is, you can't even kill mf with ctrl-c. You have to ctrl-z out of it, then `kill -9 %1`.

        Sending SIGKILL around should be the last resort ... Ctrl-D appears to work as expected, although it leaves an annoying log file in the current directory. Thankfully, I've never accidentally invoked Metafont.

        • by Hatta (162192)

          As the last resort, it should always work. Is there a good reason for any program to ignore ctrl-c?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by qmaqdk (522323)

      ...To mistype "mv".

      Reminds me of the time I aliased emacs with a special .emacs for editing /etc files. The alias was em, as in:

      em /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf

      Turns out "e" is really close to "r" on the keyboard.

  • As Midnight Commander is a text mode application. It can be used locally and/or remotely, on the console or under the X Window System.

    Do text apps still have a place in today's world? Heck, network speeds and capacities (read bandwidth) have improved a great deal. I would rather have these programmers focus their efforts on Krusader [krusader.org]? It seriously needs some love.

    • by CompMD (522020)

      Yes, text displays in today's environment. The vast majority of servers don't need to have a bunch of X applications on them. Its a waste of resources.

    • by ultrabot (200914) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:31PM (#26613199)

      I would rather have these programmers focus their efforts on Krusader [krusader.org]? It seriously needs some love.

      Ah, again the myth that open source developers are a free workforce you can redirect between projects on your whim... It just doesn't go like that, people work on whatever happens to interest them at the time.

      (this comes from another Krusader user btw - by the look of their web page, they seem to be doing alright)

    • by thermian (1267986) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:31PM (#26613201)

      Do text apps still have a place in today's world?

      Not on the desktop, but there are large number of computer users who work on headless computers, and frankly don't want anything more than a console open with ssh.

      I just completed a four year ph.d, during which my *entire* research effort was conducted using a linux cluster to which I connected via putty or bash, depending on where I was.

      Yes I know, and so did my colleagues, that its possible with todays faster conection speed to run a gui over that connection, but why bother when you can already get so much done in a console window?

      I use GUI apps a lot, they have an important place in the world of modern computing, but so do CLI apps.

      • Wait a minute... Midnight Commander is a Unix console file manager? Dammit! I just figured that with an awesome sounding name like "Midnight Commander" it had to be some kind of a sweet new action game, and so I pre-ordered a copy for my XBox.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by raddan (519638)
        I highly suggest reading The Art of UNIX Programming [faqs.org] to see why the CLI is still [highly] relevant, even for desktop users. Granted, I am probably in the minority, but my job would be significantly harder if I weren't able to just string long chains of arbitrary commands together. I'd probably spend a lot more time programming and a lot less time working. xargs is a fucking godsend, let me tell you.
    • by Sir_Kurt (92864)

      Text mode apps are great because they fire up quickly, look and act the same on different platforms, can be highly functional and flexible, and use moderate resources. For all these reasons, they will use less of your time. So if your time is important to you, learn to use them.

      Kurt

    • by idontgno (624372)

      Do text apps still have a place in today's world?

      I tried to reply to you in pictographs and hieroglyphs, but accursed slashcode forces me to use text.

      I would rather have these programmers focus their efforts on Krusader ? It seriously needs some love.

      So jump right in! Meanwhile, no programmers are being drafted against their will to work on one program over another.

      (This is a longstanding gripe of mine at the fringes of Free Software. "That developer shouldn't be wasting his time on <program x>;

      • I understand what you are saying. Sadly, it is this very paradigm that will keep us from "world domination" yet we have the resources.

        Sad indeed! 10 years from today, we'll still be where we are now...you might ask: Where? I would answer: STUCK in the corridors of irrelevance when it comes to the desktop.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hatta (162192)

          I'm pretty sure the people working on this project would consider anything "desktop" oriented irrelevant.

          If I can type 'mc', hit a bunch of hotkeys, and be done in a couple of seconds isnt' that a tool worth having? I can do a hell of a lot with mc before krusader even loads up. And I don't even have to take my fingers off the keyboard.

          That's not irrelevant to the desktop, that's a superior alternative to the desktop.

    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      If you made a mistake in editing say your xorg.conf file, and upon reboot X will not restart.. mc is THE easiest editor to use.. bar none.. and it is easy to use for copying, renaming, moving files etc.. especially for those who don't often use the command line. It was standard to include it in all distros by default, and that was a good thing,. sadly not so much now .. If whatever distro I get doesn't have it, I always make sure I download it so it's there for emergencies.
  • by edmicman (830206) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:32PM (#26613211) Homepage Journal
    Server is down...anyone have screenshots?
  • Magellan? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333)

    While we're resurrecting old text mode utilities, can we get a modern Magellan clone? None of the search front-ends to stuff like Spotlight or Beagle that I've tried come close to being as cool as Magellan was.

    By the way, does Magellan still work on Windows? The last time I tried was probably on XP SP1.

  • Who needs MC ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by psergiu (67614)
    ... when GNUIT [gnu.org] (previously GIT) is out there ?

    Smaller, faster, compiles fine on all platforms with any C compiler and it only requires curses.
    And most impportantly it doesn't crashes and it doesn't corrupsts files like MC does.
    • by MoreDruid (584251)

      And most impportantly it doesn't crashes and it doesn't corrupsts files like MC does.

      Uhuh... but it doesn't have a builttin spellcheckster I thinks

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by caseih (160668)

      gitfm is lacking sorely in a number of areas. Here're just a couple major ones:

      - no vfs so you can't enter tar.gz files or rpms, or cpio files
      - keybinding support is inconsistent. For example often times F10 is mapped by the terminal or the windowing system to a particular function. Normally you'd expect that F10 and Esc-0 are the same. But this is not the case in gitfm. Although Esc-0 works from the main screen, you cannot use it to exit the "view" mode.
      - no apparent way to change directories in gitfm

    • Re:Who needs MC ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by mxs (42717) on Monday January 26, 2009 @07:24PM (#26615605)

      You can FUD like the best of em, I give you that.

      I have MCs still running that were started 3 years ago (and used, too !), so bollocks on the crashes.

      Corrupts files ? Care to give an example ? At least I have not run into such a bug.

      I'll give GnuIT another look. Last time I tried it, I went back to mc.

  • IANACLH (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Monday January 26, 2009 @04:49PM (#26613515)

    I am not a command line hacker - mc has always been a VERY important tool I install in just about every box I've ever set up.

    Glad to see it's not forgotten about

  • by jhfry (829244) on Monday January 26, 2009 @05:49PM (#26614483)

    Anyone else regret not getting attached to tools like MC years ago?

    There are a few tools that pop up whenever people discuss the easiest or best way to do a task... and I always wish I had made the investment of time to get proficient with those tools. However it almost seems too late.

    For example, vi and emacs... I am sure they are great, but the investment of time to get proficient makes it hard to justify even trying. So on my headless linux boxen I use nano, I can do everything I need to do without a cheatsheet.

    MC is the same way... I have tinkered with it, but I always found myself exiting to the command line because I would find something I didn't know how to do and didn't want to take the time to figure it out.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to best add these types of tools to your tool set when you've mastered an alternative. Simply saying to use it doesn't take into consideration productivity.

    Are these tools worth investing personal time into, say instead of studying for a certification or something. Are the gains really that significant?

  • Unarguably the true descendant of Norton Commander, and it has gone open source recently!
    Proper archive support, plug-in architecture, etc,etc.
    http://www.farmanager.com/ [farmanager.com]

    I don't even consider touching any pc running Windows without a copy of this jewel.
  • by gklinger (571901) on Monday January 26, 2009 @07:25PM (#26615615)
    While I'll be glad to see the resurrection of Midnight Commander, I'm not chomping at the bit because I think that the Worker file manager [boomerangsworld.de] is a much better alternative. Its design will be immediately recognizable to those who have spent any time with the Amiga because it is based on (which is a nice way of saying it's a virtual copy of) Directory Opus [wikipedia.org]. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.
  • by Paradigm_Complex (968558) on Monday January 26, 2009 @09:32PM (#26616725)
    As much as I've tried, I can't get used to mc's rather emacs-like excessive use of modifier keys. Does anyone know of a similar program - or even better a modification of mc - which is more vi-like and uses 'modes' instead of Ctrl et al?

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