OneFinger - The One File Manager

hosted by Logo



Mailing list


Email the author


2 aug 2005.

I forgot to put a link to the changelog for OneFinger 5, released yesterday. Here it is.

1 aug 2005: OneFinger 5 released.

In this release, the user interface has changed so much as to justify a new major version number. Tab widgets are now used extensively in order to minimize clutter, and the "popup menus everywhere" idiom, introduced in version 4, has been abandoned.

The screenshots page has been rewritten to accurately describe the new version.

25 mar 2005: OneFinger 4 released.

This is a major new release. The interface was redesigned to a big extent. OneFinger is much faster, and less cluttered. Some wishes from users have been fulfilled. If you did not like OneFinger, it is the right time to give it another try.

Please delete the ~/.one-finger directory before launching the new version. This is important to ensure a correct behavior.

Please notice the screenshots page is now very outdated. The interface and usage has changed dramatically since that page was written. I will try to update that page as soon as possible.

The complete list of changes will appear here in a few hours.

22 mar 2005. There are some major changes in CVS. Who wants to try them should delete the ~/.one-finger directory before running the program.

15 feb 2005: OneFinger 3.4 released. Major new features and minor bugfixes.

The complete list of changes will soon appear in the usual place.

12 feb 2005: OneFinger 3.3 released. Major new features and minor bugfixes. Also, a lot of polish. The screenshots must still be updated.

The complete list of changes will soon appear here.

11 feb 2005: I recently had to slow down development dramatically. However, there are some important new features in CVS. But I need to fix a bug before releasing a new version.

I also added a small section in this page, describing an overlooked feature of OneFinger: the search box.

17 dec 2004: OneFinger 3.2 released. Major new features and bugfixes. The list of changes will soon appear here.

5 dec 2004: OneFinger 3.1 released. This is mainly a bug fix release. Some people were having a crash on startup. Some other people complained about the panel flashing being too disturbing. Please let me know if you still have problems.

About the new features: a new action "Open directory in terminal" was added.

3 Dec 2004: OneFinger 3.0 released. With this release, OneFinger is a completely new program: it does not require knowledge of the shell language anymore. Instead, it has two "modes": MIME mode and CLI mode. CLI mode is like the old OneFinger; MIME mode is more similar to traditional file-managers (but with the benefits of the history panel and the program panel).

The whole site has been rewritten for the occasion, starting with this page. Be my guest! :-)

A more detailed list of changes will soon appear here.

5 nov 2004: OneFinger 2.4 released. This release fixes a major bug, and introduces a major new feature: OneFinger now knows the files you opened with any KDE application. This means that the history panel now also shows files opened outside OneFinger. For example, if you open a text file in KWrite, with KWrite's file menu, the file immediately shows in OneFinger's history panel. And the files in this panel can be completely manipulated, as if you were looking at them from their own konqueror window.

A more detailed list of changes will soon appear here.

5 nov 2004: OneFinger 2.3.2 released. One major speed-up and one major new feature. The list of changes will soon appear here.

4 nov 2004: the screenshots page and this page have been modified to better point out some unique features of OneFinger.

4 nov 2004: OneFinger 2.3.1 released. One minor bugfix: the listbox items were not highlighted on mouseover when selected. This could be disturbing.

3 nov 2004: OneFinger 2.3 released. Major new features in this release. Upgrading is a must. The list of changes will soon appear here.

2 nov 2004: kicker applet 1.2.3. There was a problem with sourceforge that caused the "kicker applet" package to be unusable (the configure file was missing). This is true for both version 1.1 and 1.2 of the kicker applet. I have uploaded the applet again now, and I changed the version number to 1.2.3 to avoid confusions. So, the current kicker applet 1.2.3 should work.

2 nov 2004: Version 2.2.2 released. Two major bugfixes were done: drag and drop was not working, and the "close terminated output windows" button wasn't working either. Sorry for the inconvenience.

1 nov 2004: version 2.2.1 released. Fixed a major bug which caused OneFinger to crash at startup if you were not using the "nuvola" icon theme for KDE.

1 nov 2004: version 2.2 released. Major new features and major bugfixes. The screenshots page has been updated for the occasion, with new pictures and explanations. The installation instructions in the download page have been rewritten too. The updated list of changes will soon appear here.

30 oct 2004: version 2.1 released. Major new features and minor bugfixes. The updated list of changes will soon appear here.

28 oct 2004: A new screenshot of the CVS version is up. OneFinger can now use the KDE icons. The difference is noticeable.

27 oct 2004: version 2.0 released. Major new features and major bugfixes. The changelog is available here.

24 oct 2004: A new screenshot of the CVS version is up. The only thing preventing a new release is that the docs aren't ready. Contributions are welcome.

13 oct 2004: The OneFinger kicker applet is now available in CVS. The applet integrates OneFinger into KDE; it can replace the kde taskbar and allows dragging files from external apps to OneFinger. The applet is meant to be used with the CVS version of OneFinger. See the "download" section for info how to get the applet.

8 Oct 2004: added screenshot of the upcoming 2.0 version.

25 sep 2004: Version 1.9 released. There are major new features. Most notable:

  • Implemented drag and drop of files to a window. This is particularly useful because the target window doesn't need to be visible: it is automatically activated. So you don't need to resize any window in order to drag.
  • The taskbar now doesn't show utility windows (e.g. gimp non-picture windows, if you set the appropriate setting in gimp).
  • In the taskbar, when you activate a window, all utility windows with the same pid are brought on top. This is especially useful for gimp.
  • The program now scales its widgets according to the current resolution. This makes it usable in resolutions other than 1024x768.
  • It is now possible to sort the open windows by recent usage or creation date.

24 sep 2004: Version 1.8 released. This release contains major new features. Briefly: 1. added mime support to better suggest programs; 2. added a new panel which can act (A) as a taskbar (B) paste WIds in the command line (this is useful to simulate drag and drop, thus bypassing the individual programs' file managers).

20 sep 2004: Packages for mandrake cooker 9.1 are now available.

19 Sep 2004: Version 1.1.1 released. There are some major bugfixes from 1.0, and some new features as well.

About OneFinger

Welcome to the home page of OneFinger, a file manager and a general-purpose GUI (graphical user interface) for Linux.

Here are some unique features of OneFinger:

  • OneFinger has a dynamic panel which can contain files from multiple directories. It is called the "history panel". Depending on the situation, this panel can become:
    • a list of recently/frequently visited directories;
    • a list of favourite files or directories;
    • a list of files (and other options) used with a given program;
    • a list of the documents most recently/frequently used with any program,
    and much more. With the history panel you have the important things always at hand when you need them. Click here to read more about the benefits of the history panel.
  • OneFinger has a feature called "narrowing", which allows you to see:
    • only those programs that make sense with a given file. This replaces the context-sensitive menu in traditional file-managers;
    • only those files that make sense with a given program. This feature is unique to OneFinger.

    How does OneFinger know these informations? As time passes, OneFinger learns them by watching the way you work; it can also use the MIME informations in the system.

  • OneFinger collects statistics of your work: it can sort practically everything by recent usage, frequent usage, name, date and size. Some examples:
    • The files in a directory can be ordered by recent usage. This is surprisingly useful, because you tend to use only a small fraction of the files in most directories.
    • You can have a list of recently used files, and these files need not have been opened with OneFinger: OneFinger knows the files you opened with any KDE application.
    • Select a program and you will see a list of recent arguments passed to it.
  • OneFinger has an always visible search box which lets you quickly narrow the visible files or programs to only those matching a keyword. This features allows you to
    • keep directories with many files, yet instantly shrink them to show the files you need, and nothing else. This is useful because, very often, there is no good way to organize your data into directories. For example, you may think to organize your music by author, then by opera, then by director. But, this way, it is difficult to get a list of all the performances made by a given director. The solution is not to organize your music into subfolders, and use OneFinger to dynamically locate the items you need.
    • search for programs by keywords. For example, type "networking" and you get a list of programs related to networking. Type "appearance" and you get a list of all KDE control center modules dealing with appearance.
    Furthemore, you only need to type a search keyword once; later you can find it in a list of recent keywords.
  • OneFinger has a user-friendly approach for dragging files to another window. Most of the time, the target window (the one you have to drag to) is hidden. The traditional solution is to drag to the taskbar, wait a second, and the target window is shown. This is
    • Not discoverable;
    • Difficult because it is a point-and-wait process, where timing and dexterity are essential. Furthermore, the area to point is very small.
    • Even more difficult if you have taskbar grouping.

    OneFinger's solution is discoverable and easy to use: click the files, click the "drag" action, and OneFinger presents you with a full-screen list of open windows; then you click the target window. Then the window is brought on top, and finally you have to click the exact spot in the target window you want to drag to.

    Throughout this process, you never have to hold the mouse button pressed and never have to click in a small area.

  • OneFinger is easy to use: you only work by single-clicking on buttons, with only the left mouse button.
  • OneFinger is completely discoverable: since each functionality has a button, you cannot fail to discover it; it is very unlikely that you fail to notice a button (whereas you could fail to realize that you can use the right mouse button on something or that you can drag something).

    A side-effect is that, when you know the meaning of all the buttons, you are sure to know everything about OneFinger.

    Each button explains its purpose with a tooltip.

  • OneFinger is more expressive than traditional file-managers: it has a "shell mode" that lets you compose shell commands with the mouse. This lets you compose much more precise commands, which wouldn't be possible with traditional file managers. For example, you can invoke
    • scp -r /dat/pub/web-site
    • chmod -r g+a *
    • mplayer -vo sdl -subfont arial.ttf -sub movie.avi
    , all without typing anything (neither the program name, nor the options, nor any filename or other argument).

    Why not using the terminal instead? While at first it may seem inappropriate to use the mouse to compose textual commands, OneFinger's "shell mode" increases your productivity over textual shells, for the following reasons:

    • The file browser and the history panel can be used to insert filenames without typing them. This is much faster than the feature known as "bash-completion" (for a number of reasons).

      Also, imagine clicking a program and having a list of the files recently used with it, ready to be inserted in your command. This is more powerful than the CONTROL-r bash feature.

    • The commands you execute in shells or in graphical file managers tend to be highly repetitive, but not exactly the same. OneFinger improves your productivity by caching parts of your commands (which can be files, directories, or other options); later, you can select them from a list (usually ordered by last usage time), and compose new commands.
    • While bash is a task-oriented only language, OneFinger is also document-oriented: you can select a document and see the programs/actions that make sense with it.

    Other than using the mouse, OneFinger allows you to type any piece of the command by hand---although in practice you will only do this when typing a program name for the first time.

    OneFinger bridges the gap between CLI and graphical interfaces by giving you the best of both worlds: you can have total control over your system, without renouncing to the comfort of a point-and-click interface.

Miscellaneous informations

OneFinger is created by Maurizio Colucci (email:

OneFinger is free software, licensed under the GPL.

OneFinger works under GNU/Linux.

OneFinger is the evolution of the program Logical Desktop, by the same author.

OneFinger is written entirely as a python script, so it is very easy to run.

OneFinger is dedicated to Richard Wagner, the greatest artist of all times.