Worker File Manager: A double-pane addicts quest for a proper file manager for UN*X systems

Worker is a double-pane file manager for the X Window System on UN*X developed by Ralf Hoffmann and released under the GNU General Public License V2 or later.

Worker is a double-pane file manager for the X Window System on UN*X developed by Ralf Hoffmann and released under the GNU General Public License V2 or later.

I was a die-hard Doplhin user when I was on KDE Plasma 5. I was squeezing so much performance out of Dolphin that it started leaking memory. Then, I migrated to Gnome many months ago due to the bugginess of KDE Plasma 5. Dolphin can be installed on Gnome. However, Dolphin pulls in a lot of KDE dependencies. To avoid polluting Gnome with KDE binaries, I killed my double-pane file manager dreams and endured Files: Simple file manager for Gnome. However, once you have tasted the double-pane elixir, single-pane is just not enough.

The Other Double-pane File Managers I Tried

My quest for a simple double-pane file manager led me to Midnight Commander. It is functional and elegant. It will always remain in my arsenal. However, it is an ncurses-based terminal app, and there are times I like to touch, feel, click... I need GUI. I was guided to Double Commander by the "eternal Linux noob":

I like Double Commander and plan to keep using it. However, it is written in Pascal and that makes it difficult for me to read the code (or contribute if I am in the mood).

Then, there is also Krusader. However, like Dolphin, it too pulls in KDE dependencies. So, I cannot use it. I have heard good things about it. Therefore, if you are not bothered about the limitations mentioned in this article, please go ahead and give it a try.

Worker File Manager

Worker is a 24-year old file manager (initial release was on 6 March, 1999). There are binaries or packages available for all important distributions other than openSUSE Tumbleweed. Such limitations cannot stop me. I will simply compile. A configure, make and make install should have sufficed in an ideal world. So, I downloaded the source archive, extracted the archive, rode cd into the directory containing the extracted source, and issued the following command:


No C++ compiler on my machine. What? Not an ideal world:

configure: error: The C++ compiler doesn't work or doesn't exists at all!
* Check your C++ installation (many distributions have a separate   *
* package for the C++ compiler).                                    *

I remedied the missing compiler problem:

sudo zypper in gcc-c++

Issued the configure command again:


Failure again. Missing libx11-dev:

configure: error: X Window libraries and headers not found!
* Check your X installation (many distributions have these files in *
* the ...devel-packages (e.g. libx11-dev or libX11-devel)).         *

Searched in openSUSE repositories:

zypper se libx11-dev

The following output was spewed by zypper in response:

S Name Summary Type
libX11-devel Development files for the Core X11 protocol library package
libX11-devel-32bit Development files for the Core X11 protocol library package

I decided to install  libX11-devel:

sudo zypper in libX11-devel

Issued the configure command again and a beautiful success message appeared:

Configuration finished:
  AVFS usage                  : no
    *** Get at least version 0.9.5 from ***

  Large file support          : yes
  Regular expressions support : yes
  X11 XIM usage               : yes
  X11 Xinerama support        : no
    *** To enable support, install libraries:
    ***  - libxinerama-dev or libXinerama-devel

  UTF8 support                : yes
  Libmagic support            : no
    *** To enable support, install libraries:
    ***  - libmagic-dev or file-devel
    *** or get a recent version from ***

  DBUS device handling        : no (fallback to fstab mounting)
    *** To enable support, install libraries:
    ***  - libdbus-1-dev or dbus-1-devel
    ***  - udisks or udisks2 (newer systems)
    ***  - hal-storage (older systems)

  Inotify support             : yes
  LUA support                 : no
    *** To enable support, install libraries:
    ***  - liblua5.x-dev or lua53-devel

  Font engine                 : X11
    *** To enable support for Xft, install libraries:
    ***  - libxft-dev or libXft-devel

  OpenSSL SHA256              : no
    *** install openssl-dev for checksumming support
  Maximum command line length : 1572864

Installation prefix           : /usr/local

 To compile do


It was time for me to issue the make  followed by the make install commands:

make install

There is nothing more left to do other than launch Worker:


What is there not to love about this beauty? Looks stunningly beautiful, has all features you would demand of a file manager, can be configured, has internal and external commands, and much more (just RTFM)

Worker supports several internal commands that work on the selected entries, as well as using external commands to execute arbitrary applications.

I will continue exploring this beauty.