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Less is More: The Orthodox File Manager (OFM) Paradigm

by Dr Nikolai Bezroukov

Content : Foreword : Ch01 : Ch02 : Ch03 : Ch04 : Ch05 : Ch06 : Ch07 : OFM1999 : OFM2004 : OFM2012

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Ch 5: History of Windows Orthodox File Managers

OFM in Windows were logical continuation of DOS line of OFMs. Panels is GUI OFMs are  more informative due to smaller fonts used.  Many GUI-based implementations of OFMs  were influenced by XTreeGold, the most advanced file manager for Windows 3.0 and provide decent history retrieval mechanism for each command. 

Here is how development  of Windows file managers was described by Dan Rose in his preface to the "Utility -- File Manager " section of his site  Dan's 20th Century Abandonware - Screen Shot Gallery - Windows NT-2000 Shareware

From the mid-1980's to the early 1990's, it seemed every programmer and their gerbil were writing DOS-based file manager programs. Some of the most famous DOS file managers were Norton Commander, PathMinder, Q-DOS, XTree, and the file managers in PC Tools and Norton Desktop -- the only DOS file managers to offer true drag-and-drop ease of use.

In the early to mid-1990's, the only commercial Windows 3.x file manager was XTreeGold 4.0 for Windows by Central Point Software.

In 1995, Symantec, after "merging" with Central Point Software (and eliminating CPS's product line), was the first commercial software company to offer a 32-bit Windows file manager -- Norton Navigator 95 which is a 32-bit reincarnation of the former Central Point Software XTreeGold 4.0 for Windows 3.1x. Unfortunately, it is optimized for 32-bit, DOS-based Windows 95 and does not run on Windows NT/2000 Professional. The only other commercial 32-bit file manager created for Windows 9x/Me/2000 was a product called PowerDesk by Ontrack Data International, later sold to V Communications.

From 1996 on, PowerDesk was one of the last commercial file managers available for Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000. A scaled-down freeware version was offered to entice you to buy the full commercial version.

Windows manager dominated OFM landscape and there are at lease half dozen actively maintained Windows implementation. Among them

GUI present some difficulties for shell integration and I do not know any that done it properly, preserving of key idea of DOS OFMs: commander is an extension of DOS shell.  Few developers of GUI based OFM  understand important of smooth integration with shell and benefits that such integration can provide to user. Even user menu, the classic feature of OFMs often implemented very weakly.

Also Windows based OFM often cut corners in informing users how operation performed. Even Total Commander which is better then average Windows GOFM has very weak menus that compare very unfavorably to FAR.

At the same time GUI significantly simplifies display of attributes and here GUI-based OFMs definitely beat their command line counterparts.

In this chapter we will discuss two leading command like Win32 OFMs: Far and File Commander. We will also discuss two GUI based OFMs: Total Commander and Norton Commander for Windows (currently abandonware).

As Windows OFM currently define state of the art of OFM development in general you will have a distinct feeling that OFM continues to evolve. For example the latest trend is to provide "hidden command line" mode in which each alpha-numeric key evokes quick search at the panel in best VI tradition without need to use Alt modified.

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Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater�s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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