Midnight Commander

I discovered and played with the CLI text based file browser Midnight Commander this weekend. It seems kinda cool; lightweight, fast to operate with the keyboard, but also has mouse support.

It took me a little while to figure out the keyboard controls, and I’m not sure I entirely like the setup, but I made a few changes to the settings to improve things.

  • In order to open files normally when hitting return on a file or double clicking, I went to ‘Pull Dn > Command > Edit Extension File’ and at the very bottom, put:
        Open=(open %s &)
  • In ‘Pull Dn > Options > Configuration’, I disabled ‘Use Internal Edit’ so that I could easily edit with vim.
  • In ‘Pull Dn > Options > Panel options’, I enabled ‘Lynx-like motion’ for simple left-right arrow key movement into and out of directories.
  • In ‘Pull Dn > Options > Appearance’, I switched to the ‘modarcon16-defbg’ skin, which is dark with green highlights.

Discovering that I can hit Esc-{number} instead of F{number} helped out on my laptop keyboard.

I’m playing with disabling ‘Command prompt’ in ‘Pull Dn > Options > Layout’, so I can type the name of a file / folder to jump to it, as well as use some of the Alt key commands that on Macs end up being typed special characters on the command prompt. Ctrl-o can be used to quickly switch to a shell in the current directory. However, it’s broken when mc is invoked from fish, which is my primary shell.

I’m not sure if I’ll actually switch away from using the Finder as my primary file manager, but it is cool. I will play with it some more and possibly add the config to my dotfiles.

I’ve also read about ranger as another terminal file manager option. It uses vi keybindings, so I may like it better since I like vim. Will have to try it out another day.