Provided by: xfm_1.5.4-2_i386
xfm - X file and applications manager
xfm [options ...]
Xfm is a file and applications manager program for the X window system.
It provides virtually all of the features that you would expect in a
file manager - move around your directory tree in multiple windows,
move, copy or delete files, and launch programs with simple mouse
operations. Directory displays are updated automatically in regular
intervals when the contents of the directory changes. The integrated
application manager provides a kind of ‘‘shelf’’ onto which you can
place your favorite applications, as well as the files and directories
you are currently working with. It also allows you to access different
groups of applications and files. User-definable file types let you
specify a command to be executed when double-clicking on a file or
dropping other files onto it. Last not least, xfm can automatically
mount and unmount special devices like floppies as you open and close
the corresponding directories (mount points).
Xfm accepts all the usual toolkit options. Furthermore, the following
options let you print xfm’s version number and control which windows
should be displayed at startup.
Print the version number and exit.
Only display the application manager window.
Only display the file manager window.
If both -appmgr and -filemgr are specified, then the applications and
one file manager window will be displayed, which is also the default.
If only -filemgr is specified, the application manager will not be
available in this session.
Most of it should be fairly obvious. There is one application window
and zero or more file windows in which directories (also termed
folders) are displayed. In order to perform an action, you either
select items and then invoke a menu operation, or you drag items from a
file window to a second (maybe the same) file window or the application
window. You can also double-click on an item to start a corresponding
action (like launching an application, editing a file, or changing
directories), and press the right menu button on an item to bring up a
menu containing operations for a single file or application. Pressing
the right button on the background of the application window displays
the application menu. File operations are accessed from the file window
menu bar as usual.
The left-hand mouse button selects an item (and deselects all others in
the same window). The second button toggles the selected state of an
A string containing the paths of the selected file items can be
requested by other applications using the standard selection mechanism
(PRIMARY selection). To provide visual feedback, the file window that
owns the selection paints its status line using a special highlight
color. You can then paste the list of selected files in some other
window such as an xterm.
You can drag with the left-hand button to another window (or another
icon, in general a valid destination will be highlighted with a border
when the cursor is over it) to move files from one directory to
another. The second button used in the same way will copy files. You
can also drag around items in the application window; again, the left
mouse button moves, and the second button copies the selected items to
a new position. Applications can be launched by dropping files on them;
and installing files and programs in the application manager can be
done by dropping files on the background of the application window.
Finally, new file windows can be opened by simply dragging a directory
icon to the root window.
The action taken when double-clicking on a file depends on the type of
the file. If it is a directory, it is displayed in the file window. If
it is an executable, the program is started. Other files are opened in
the default editor (specified by the editor resource), unless another
action is given in the xfm_mailcap file (see CONFIGURATION below).
The output of child processes invoked by xfm is captured in a special
log window. This window provides buttons for clearing the window
contents and for hiding the window. You can also specify whether you
want the window to pop up automagically when new output is available
(Auto Popup option, enabled by default), and explicitly show the window
using the Show log option of the View menu.
Directories can be displayed in three different forms: tree (display
subdirectories in tree-like form), icon (display directories and files
as icons) and text (similar to ls -l). These options are selected from
the View menu. In the tree form, clicking on the arrows takes you up or
down one level.
Directory displays are updated automatically in regular intervals when
the contents of the directory changes. You can also explicitly request
a folder update by double-clicking on the directory name field of the
corresponding file window.
A menu of recently visited directories can be popped up by pressing the
right mouse button on the directory name field of the file window.
Many menu operations can also be invoked with corresponding keyboard
shortcuts which can be changed by configuring the translations in the
applications defaults file accordingly. The default shortcuts, as
defined in the distributed application defaults file, are given in
File manipulation operations.
Create a new (and empty) file.
Rename a single item (directory or file) or move selected items to
Create a copy of a single item under a new name or copy selected
items to another directory.
Like Copy, but creates symbolic links rather than copying the
Delete (d, Del, Backspace)
Delete the selected items.
Select items by pattern. The usual metacharacters are recognized
(*, ?, [ ]). (Currently there is no provision for escaping these.)
Select all (a)
Select all items in the current directory (except the parent
Deselect all (u)
Deselect all items.
Own Selection (o)
Request ownership of the PRIMARY selection. This is useful if some
files had been selected before but the ownership of the X-selection
was lost and the user later wants to get the ownership back.
Invokes an x-terminal-emulator(1) in the current directory (using
the command specified with the defaultXterm resource).
Display a box with some information about xfm.
Operations dealing with directories and the file window.
Create a new directory.
Go to... (Shift+g)
Display the specified directory.
Display your home directory.
Display the parent directory.
Delete all items in the current directory.
Clone this file window (open another file window on the same
Close this file window.
Options for the directory display and the log window.
Select the tree form display.
Select the icons form display.
Select the text form display. An additional Option menu appears
which allows you to select the information to be shown in the text
Sort by name (Ctrl+n)
Sort directory by name.
Sort by size (Ctrl+s)
Sort directory by size.
Sort by date (Ctrl+d)
Sort directory by date.
Specify a pattern to determine the files which should be displayed
in the file window. (This only affects normal files, i.e. directory
items will not be filtered. The Clear button in the Filter dialog
form reverts to the full display.)
Hide folders (Ctrl+h)
Suppress directory items.
Mix folders/files (Ctrl+m)
Mix directories and other files.
Show hidden files (Ctrl+u)
Show hidden files (files starting with a dot).
Redisplay the log window.
FILE POPUP MENU
Operations on a single file. This menu pops up when pressing the right
mouse button on a directory or file icon.
Open a file window on the selected item. This option is only
available if the selected item is a directory.
Edit the selected item using the program specified in the editor
resource (only available if the selected item is not a directory).
Same as Edit, but invokes a program for viewing the file
Rename the selected item (same as Move, but shows the current
filename as the default).
Move the selected item.
Copy the selected item.
Create a symbolic link.
Delete the selected item.
Display information about the selected item (file size, permissions
Change the permissions of the selected item.
Operations for managing the application window.
Install a new application in the application window. Pops up a
dialog form into which you can enter the necessary information (see
APPLICATION FILES for a discussion of the fields in this form).
Simplified install dialog form for creating a new application group
(see APPLICATION FILES).
Move the selected application items into a ‘‘clip’’ file (specified
by the applicationDataClip resource). Together with the Paste
option, this allows you to move application items between different
Like Move, but simply copies the selected items instead of removing
them from the application window.
Insert the contents of the clip file into the application window.
Delete the selected items from the application window.
Display a box with some information about xfm.
APPLICATION POPUP MENU
Operations on a single application item. This menu pops up when
pressing the right mouse button on an icon in the application window.
Edit an application item. Pops up a dialog form which allows you to
change the configuration information associated with the selected
item (see CONFIGURATION for a discussion of the fields in this
Move the selected item to the clip file.
Copy the selected item to the clip file.
Delete the selected item from the application window.
APPLICATION WINDOW BUTTONS
These buttons at the bottom of the application window allow you to
navigate in the application group tree and open new file windows.
Return to the previous application group.
Return to the main application group (the one loaded at startup
Reload the current application file. This option is useful to
update the contents of an application window after manual editing
of the application file.
Open a new file window on the user’s home directory.
Various aspects of xfm can be configured by changing corresponding
resource settings in the application defaults file. Some important
resources are listed below:
The color used for highlighting selected items, as well as the
status line of the file window which owns the primary selection (if
The path on which to search for bitmap and pixmap icons,
The path to look for pixmap icons for the file types.
The names of the application and configuration files used by xfm
(see CONFIGURATION). Normally, these files will be located in
These files are used, if the corresponding described before are not
found. This allows changeable system wide defaults while users are
still able to overwrite them.
The directory in which the application files for new application
groups are located (see the Install group option of the application
menu), usually ~/.xfm. Application groups changed are also copied
here, when the original file cannot be written to.
If it does not exists, it will be generated when needed.
The ‘‘clip’’ file used in Cut/Copy/Paste operations in the
application window, usually ~/.xfm/.XfmClip.
If it begins with applicationDataDir, this will be generated when xfm
Set the time interval in milliseconds for which a sequence of two
mouse clicks should be interpreted as a double click. Default: 300.
Set the time interval in milliseconds in which to perform automatic
folder updates. Default: 10000.
Resources to request confirmation for various operations. XXX can
be any one of Deletes, DeleteFolder, Copies, Moves, Overwrite and
Quit. By default these are all enabled.
The command and leadings arguments with which xfm invokes your
The command and leading arguments with which xfm invokes your
The command and leading arguments with which xfm starts a command
within and xterm. (e.g. xterm -e)
The command with which xfm runs an X terminal emulator. (e.g.
Specifies the shell to use for running commands. (If not set,
$SHELL is used instead. If that also does not exists /bin/sh is
There are way too many available resources to list them all in this
manual page, so please take a look at the application defaults file for
Besides the application resources, xfm can be configured by means of
four different files, which are usually named xfm_dev, xfm_magic,
xfm_mime.types and xfm_mailcap, and are by default searched for in the
~/.xfm directory or in /etc/X11/xfm. Moreover, there is a number of
so-called application files, from which xfm determines the contents of
the application window, like the Apps file which usually describes the
contents of the main application group. All these files are plain ASCII
files which can be edited using any text editor. (Note that application
files are also written by xfm itself whenever the contents of the
application window changes.) Any line in these files which starts with
a hash sign (#) is interpreted as a comment; empty lines are ignored.
xfm can determine file types using the magic numbers contained in the
The magic numbers are described in a configuration file whose path is
obtained from the magicFile or systemwideMagicFile resource, by default
~/.xfm/xfm_magic respectively /etc/X11/xfm/xfm_magic. The format of
the file is the same as that of the magic(5) file, with some extensions
described in xfm_magic(1). The program xfmtype(5) can be used to test
If no file type could be obtained using the magic values, xfm falls
back to determine the type of a file by its suffix. The rules it used
are described in a configuration file whose path is obtained from the
mimeTypesFile or systemwideMimeTypesFile resource, by default
~/.xfm/xfm_mime.types respectively /etc/X11/xfm/xfm_mime.types. The
format of the file is described in the xfm_mime.types(5) man page.
xfm determines how to open files consulting the file whose path is
obtained from the mailcapFile or systemwideMailcapFile resource, by
default ~/.xfm/xfm_mailcap respectively /etc/X11/xfm/xfm_mailcap. The
format of the file is described in the xfm_mailcap(5) man page.
The device configuration file, xfm_dev, lets you specify which mount
points xfm should keep track of, and which actions to perform in order
to mount and unmount the corresponding file systems. This allows you to
access file systems on special devices such as floppies, CD-Roms, etc.
in a transparent way. See xfm_dev(5) for the format of this file.
Application files are used to specify the contents of the application
window. Normally, these files are not altered with a text editor, but
are updated by xfm whenever the contents of the application window
changes. An understanding of the application data is necessary,
however, if you want to edit an existing or create a new entry using
the Install, Install group and Edit options of the application menu.
The format of those files is described in the xfm(5) man page.
Xfm provides a number of operations which let you manipulate
application groups in a convenient manner. The items in the application
window can be moved and copied using drag and drop as usual. The Cut,
Copy and Paste options of the application menu provide a means to move
and copy application items between different application files.
Moreover, xfm keeps a stack of application files loaded from a file or
the application window via a LOAD action. The Back button at the bottom
of the application window lets you return to the previous group of
applications, and the Main button reloads your startup application file
(and empties the stack). Finally, the Install group option of the
application menu allows you to create entries for new application
groups easily. You only have to specify the name of the group, the name
of the corresponding application file, and the name of the icon file.
The remaining fields of the entry are filled in by xfm automatically.
Standard location for xfm configuration and application files (see
Standard location for system wide configuration files used when no
user specific are available.
xfm(5), xfmmailcap(1), xfm_mailcap(5), xfmtype(1), X(1), xconsole(1),
x-terminal-emulator(1), magic(5), Arnaud Le Hors: XPM Manual. The X
PixMap Format, Groupe Bull, 1993.
CAVEATS AND BUGS
Xfm catches the TERM signal to gracefully terminate the program,
unmounting all open file systems which have been mounted by xfm.
However, some window and session managers may not send TERM signals to
their client applications when terminating an X session. Therefore it
might be necessary to explicitly quit xfm or manually close file
windows mounted by xfm before exiting X.
Do not specify a relative path in the directory field of an application
item, because when you execute a push action on the application the
current directory might not always be what you expect. This will
probably be fixed in a future release. ;-)
Due to recent changes, it will propably no longer work with any shell
without a minimum of POSIX compatibility.
Simon Marlow (firstname.lastname@example.org) from the University of Glasgow,
Albert Graef (email@example.com) from the University
of Mainz, and Till Straumann (firstname.lastname@example.org) from
the Technical University of Berlin, with help from many other people:
Dave Safford (email@example.com; automatic folder updates);
Robert Vogelgesang (firstname.lastname@example.org; shell detection code);
Juan D. Martin (email@example.com; magic headers); Kevin Rodgers
(firstname.lastname@example.org; Filter option); Scott Heavner
(sdh@falstaff.MAE.cwru.edu; View option); Brian King (ender@ee.WPI.EDU;
default values in parameter dialogs), Bernhard R. Link
(email@example.com; various changes and responsible for the current
state you see).