• simple, user-friendly = as Google search web page, one editbox, one button, nothing to explain, everybody grasps an idea in 1ms
  • fast = finding files and directories by filenames, not by content (!)
  • cute = it should be usable by weekend-users, so icons for files found, won't hurt

The closest project I found is Beagle (*), but it is dead now (it was canceled in 2009). It is said, Tracker is replacement of Beagle, but when I tried the GUI frontend... in short, disaster.

(*) but I am not sure if disabling in-file searching is possible.

I tried also Recoll, it is full-search program, the GUI has too many widgets, far for simplicity.

I can write such program on my own (Ligthppd+php script, that's all) but before I start, maybe you know about such tool ready to use?

Thank you in advance.

  • When you said simple, I was about to mention Tracker, but since you knock it, I am going to have to ask what's missing in it?
    – tshepang
    Apr 8 '11 at 17:50
  • Did you try the command line tool locate? The only downside is having to run updatedb quite often to keep it up to date. But that can be worked around using cron.
    – yasouser
    Apr 8 '11 at 18:11
  • @yasouser, you are not serious that weekend user will run locate. Apr 8 '11 at 19:30
  • @Tshepang, when I run myself Tracker I was a bit lost, because UI is so obscure (no text under icons, no options for that, icons misaligned, and so on), it would be fine (maybe) for weekend-user. However I didn't manage to run any query, because no matter what I enter I got 0 hits. There is no way to configure it ("options" shows statistics, not options), so I gave up. Apr 8 '11 at 19:33
  • @macias: am curious which version you used?
    – tshepang
    Apr 8 '11 at 20:18

Catfish is a frontend for locate, among others. I think it satisfies all of your requirements, except for the ultra-simple part.

  • On answers like that I wish for huge repository or finally uniform package format, as openSUSE user I can say repo here is tiny. Thank you for the answer, I will wait a bit for other suggestions. Apr 8 '11 at 18:43

Why not use gnome-search-tool, the old GNOME GUI search? It works pretty well, and you can select between full-text search and filename search.

enter image description here

It has a whole bunch of filtering options (more than anything I've seen yet). Here's all the options:

enter image description here

Note that it doesn't use an index, so full-text search is ridiculous slow, but the filtering helps eliminate that. It's also primitive in that it finds only text, so there won't be for example contents for PDFs, OOo docs, metadata (e.g. music genre, document author, video framerate), etc.

  • I don't see any resemblance with Google UI (one editbox, one button). It is not for weekend-users, weekend users "search", they don't build queries. Apr 10 '11 at 7:57
  • 1
    You mentioned that you want the ability to just search file names, so I wonder how the one-button setup will work for that. Also, are you saying that the first UI (searches only filenames) is too complex for weekend user?
    – tshepang
    Apr 10 '11 at 9:03

I think Gnome Do may be exactly what you want.

One potential problem (a show-stopper in my case) is that the index is limited to 5000 files. If you need to index more than that, Launchy is very similar, but less stable.


I am going to attempt to create a list of GUI software for searching files.


This was not installed by default in Linux Mint.

sudo apt-get install gnome-search-tool

Gnome search tool


sudo apt-get install catfish

Catfish File Search


The simplest way, you can build yourself:

locate $(zenity --entry --text "Geeklow") | zenity --list --column="files"

It can be improved:

  • Don't show results if User left entry empty or hit ESC
  • calculate width of longest filename and number of filelengths and
  • get the screen width and heigth, to make the window as large as possible, to display almost all files found, if they fit the screensize
  • More and better dialog text, frame text
  • but then it gets iffy :) and long

But: There is a reason, why people use locate directly:

  • It's the right tool for the job
  • it has options like -i (which they will find again on find -iname and grep -i and so on)
  • it's combinable in pipes
  • it's usable in $(...)
  • command completion
  • the shell is already open

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