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One of the greatest advantages of Windows over Linux is the IBM Common User Access user interface with “Open File”/“Save File as”.

It has separate bars for breadcrumbs folder navigation, search and target filename, of which the latter even supports wildcards.

In Linux file opening/saving dialogs, the only way to access the integrated search is pressing Ctrl+F immediately after selecting a bookmarked folder. Otherwise, it will open the text box to helps finding files alphabetically by typing in/correcting the first letters.

In Windows, the open/save file manager is nearly as good as Windows Explorer itself. It can not just be used to select files, but also has integrated open/“open with” and file managing functionalities.

In Windows, the file opening manager even supports instant wildcards. One can just put a wildcard into the filename box, press enter or the “Open” button, and it lists the matching files immediately. Before I used Linux for the first time, I falsely took that Windows feature for granted.

Obviously, Linux distributions have many features that Windows lacks, more efficiency, a mostly superior Window manager with foreground/background/snapping/better resizing/moving capabilities, built-in work space manager, excellent terminal, customization, modularity, etc., but if there is one area where Windows really makes Linux (Linux Mint in my case) look 15 years old, it is the stock file opening manager, which severely lacks functionality and usability. I wonder who else has noticed it yet.

The one from Windows allows me to copy the current folder path directly from the folder path bar, without needing to select a file, copy it's path and then cut out the file name at the end (adding /.. e.g. “/path/to/file.txt/..” works in file explorers but not in Linux Terminal) or navigate to parent directory and then select the folder with the right mouse click, where there is thankfully a “copy path” option, without which it would be much worse.

To open a file, I often use the main file manager for navigation to copy the file path and then paste it into the file opening manager. Because the file opening manager itself is close to useless for navigation.

Is there a way to get a better file opening/saving manager?

Does software for that already exist?

  • How many Window Managers and Desktop Environments are there for *NIX? How many are there for Windows? That gives you an idea for part of why this feature is lacking in *NIX. – 0xSheepdog Jun 5 at 0:16
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    I suspect that you're talking about the GTK3 file dialog. a picture would help. – Jasen Jun 5 at 9:21
  • did you try just starting typing? – Jasen Jun 5 at 9:23
  • @Jasen It looks much like this. – neverMind9 Jun 5 at 23:13
  • @Jasen But that does not support wildcards such as *.wav. Windows does. – neverMind9 Jun 5 at 23:16
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It's possible, but it's not easy. you need to be a programmer.

That's the GTK-3 file dialogue modifying the right parts of libgtk would change it

libgtk is written in an object-oriented style in the language C.

sudo apt-get build-dep libgtk-3-0
apt-get source libgtk-3-0

Will get you everything but the skills and knowledge needed to modify it.

gtk docs here: https://developer.gnome.org/references

It's been a few years since I explored down that rabbit hole, everything seemed to be well organized, but the complexity level was fairly high.

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