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Although it describes itself as a minimalist file manager, I have only words of praise for Sunflower, since it rather gathers a lot of features in a compact interface, and I do believe it needs a bit more attention. Sunflower is a twin-panel file manager with a somewhat different approach compared to standard GNOME/KDE/Xfce file browsers, written in GTK with several notable features and support for plugins.


By default, Sunflower shows a twin-panel browser with files and folders listed in a detailed view mode.


There is support for plugins, with a few included by default:


Configuration is done via Edit->Preferences and Sunflower offers many options to change its appearance or behavior.


Configuring the appearance:



Changing default keyboard shortcuts:


Except for being twin-panel, Sunflower has also tabs support, and one of the nice features is that you can embed a terminal in a separate tab:


Sunflower will show information like total size in a directory, free space, file size, file permissions and modification date, has support for bookmarks and history.

As a conclusion, Sunflower is really good, and it’s worth a try, especially if you prefer rich configuration options and a twin-panel file manager.

Installing Sunflower in Ubuntu

Installing Sunflower from the PPA
Sunflower is not included in Ubuntu’s repositories but both a PPA and a standalone DEB package are provided. To install Sunflower in Ubuntu 13.10 and Ubuntu 14.04 from the PPA, use the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/sunflower
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sunflower

Notice that in Ubuntu 14.04 you will need to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atareao-sunflower-trusty.list file with superuser privileges and replace any occurrences of trusty with saucy (e.g. sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/atareao-sunflower-trusty.list).

Update: The PPA has been updated with the latest release for Ubuntu Trusty too (see the first comment). The above instructions should work for the latest version in Ubuntu 14.04 too, without the need to change the sources entries.

Installing the latest version from the DEB package
A DEB package is provided for this latest version here. You can download it from this direct link, save it somewhere on your hard disk and then install it using:

sudo dpkg -i sunflower-0.1a.58-1.all.deb
atareao says:

I updated PPA for last version of Sunflower. No you can install version 0.1.58 for Lucid, Presice, Quantal, Saucy y Trusty.

Best regards.

Craciun Dan says:

That’s great news! I’ll update the installation instructions accordingly.

John S says:

I’ve used Sunflower for about a year and with the latest update it has improved beyond an interesting “project” to a capable file manager.

Scott says:

It’s nice to see an additional Commander-style file manager under development for Linux. Very interesting feature set.

Albin says:

Thanks for the heads up – I’ve been looking for a basic but double-pane file manager (Mint 16). I’ve got Double Commander but find it kind of unintuitive. I’ll give this a try.

Craciun Dan says:

I’ve reviewed Double Commander too yesterday, and I’ve also found it quite good. But I really do recommend Sunflower.

Edit: The terminal integration inside tabs is beautiful, however I could not find a way of switching tabs from the keyboard, maybe I am missing something?

Hi Dan,

Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab should be working just fine in latest version (0.1a-58). I suggest starting the program from the terminal and see if there’s any output there. GTK+ warnings are safe to ignore for now. If you are unable to resolve this issue, drop me a note and I’ll take a deeper look.

Craciun Dan says:

Actually they do work, thanks for this tip and for the feedback :)

Thanks for reviewing Sunflower. If anyone has any questions, as a developer of this program, I’d be more than happy to answer and provide any needed help. :)

Davide R says:

Hi, nice project…we need synchronize dirs function as Total commander :). I suggest you implement it via rsync, it should be easier :)

Maximilian says:

Looks very promising! Would love to use it on a regular basic but I’m missing the bookmark panel like in Thunar. I’ve enabled bookmarks in the settings but can’t find them anywhere (e.g. mounted devices). What am I missing? Thanks!

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