[svlug] About mc

Erik Steffl steffl at bigfoot.com
Sat Jan 19 02:58:02 PST 2002

J C Lawrence wrote:
> On Fri, 18 Jan 2002 19:07:06 -0800
> Erik Steffl <steffl at bigfoot.com> wrote:
> > I just checked LIST and it seems quite ugly, giving me the
> > straight jacket feel (no command line, didn't even find how to
> > configure it, copy expects me to type in the path? alt-tab doesn't
> > work, in-program documentation miserable (one help screen)). Why
> > would you want anything like that? (honest question, not really
> > comparing it to mc)
> Loosely what I want is single pane, single directory view with the
> ability to interactively (in the move the cursor about and hit

  mc can be configured in various ways, incuding single pane (you can
quickly change the views).

  you just move the cursor, enter to run the program (if not executable
you can define what to do with file), it's fairly intuitive, no
unnecessary fancy stuff (you can turn off status line etc.)

> command keys sense) copy, move, rename, etc files with a very fast
> large file viewer that doesn't insist on loading them into memory.

  you can use any file viewer you want with mc, even base it on file
type... same for editor... its internal viewer is fairly OK (not sure if
it loads whole file into memory, for large files I usually fire gvim
which offers better navigation (searching, marks etc)). I just tried to
open 22MB file (kernel bz2) and it opened it in lot less then 1 second,
so I am pretty sure it does not load the whole file into memory, at
least not in the beginning.

> If the command keys are letter based (c=copy, d=delete, m-move,
> r=rename, etc I'm fine and configurability is not needed.  I don't

  let's face it - c=copy, r=rename is for beginners, once you learn the
keys it does not matter which keys you use (the layout of the keys is
mnore important than whether it's c for copy). It is kinda arrogant from
a program to not let you assign any keybindings but IMO it's not serious
usability problem.

> want to launch editors, run scripts, or handle spiffy regxes -- just

  why not editors? isn't editing files fairly common task performed on

> text mode point, select, and shoot.  Not particularly interested in
> an internal command line.  Don't want help.  Copy destination can be

  aren't you using command line? why would you go to different window to
have command line available? doesn't make sense - you'd have to cd again
even though you are right in the directory you want to be in in mc...

  help: how do you know how to use it then? not everything can be
self-evident. on modern desktop machines there is no excuse for programs
not to have context sensitive help.

> typed in, or can be walked to and then copy invoked.  Can't think of

  that doesn't sound appealing at all. can't imagine doing e.g.
reorganization of mp3 files that way...

> any reason I'd be interested in ALT-TAB.

  I was talking about LIST - I tried it under win nt 4.x and for some
reason when it was active I couldn't switch to other programs using
alt-tab (which is THE program switching key in windows). quite annoying.

  you are right that you probably wouldn't be interested in alt-tab (on

> The emphasis is on speed and simplicity.  One of the things I really
> miss is an equivalent to 4DOS/4OS2's "select" command.

  never heard of it so I can't comment...

  but how do you work with compressed/tar-ed files? IMO being able to
just hit enter and have the VFS show the files inside, including ability
to view the files is quite handy. Plus you untar by simply copying the
files from tar file to destination directory (and it works with various
formats, you don't have to think about which type of compression to use

  never wanted to find files and then do something interactive with
them? VFS is your friend again (of course, for non-interactive use
find|xargs or similar is better)?

  ftp can be a VFS as well - that way you can view the files by hitting
one key (just like local files), copy files (just like from/to local
disks) etc...

  also considering that for lot of tasks shell is better then file
manager it is very convenient that you can just ctrol-o and have the
panels disappear - no need to switch context (and cd to a directory
again in different xterm) etc...

  I am kinda surprised by your negative attitude towards mc - from what
you say you need IMO mc is the best match. LIST doesn't compare (for
both beginner and power user).


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