fsviewer(1) a NeXT fileviewer lookalike




fsviewer is a NeXT fileviewer lookalike designed to work with the Window Maker window manager. It features Browser mode, DND and file operations.


The interface is split into 3 sections. The shelf is an area to place frequently accessed directories or files. The pathview section depicts the current selected path and the browser columns lists the directory contents of the current selected path. Icons/Actions/Events can be set in the Inspector Panel.


All keys bindings can only be accessed in combination with the Meta key. In systems without a Meta key, this should be the Alt key.


Clicking on an entry in a browser column will update the scroll view with the new selection and if the selection is a directory, it will fill the next column. It will then scroll the browser/pathview accordingly.

Double-clicking on an entry in the pathview/browser will execute it if it is executable or launch the associated editor/viewer.

Ctrl-MouseClick over an icon in the shelf will remove it from the shelf.


The inspector contains 6 different panels:

  • Attributes The attributes panel displays the file permissions, the last changed date, file size, owner and group. The link section is not working.

    • Icon The icon panel allows an icon to be selected for the current extension. If the file does not have an extension it will be associated with the full filename. The paths used are read from the Window Maker defaults domain. To add paths either edit the Window Maker defaults file or use WPrefs.app. Click 'OK' to set the new icon.

      • Viewer The viewer panel allows for the selection of the default viewer to be associated with the file extension. The list all the executables registered with FSViewer.

          Editor 4) The editor is the same as the Viewer. This becomes useful when a file requires a separate editor e.g. HTML files.

          • Executable The executable panel allows a command to be associated with the file. This panel is only accessible when the file is executable. Three shortcuts have been provided. %p for the current path, %f for the current filename and %s for the filename to be passed as an arg to the program. For example if /usr/bin/xemacs was selected:

                    %p = /usr/bin/
                    %f = xemacs

            And a possible command could be:

                    %p%f %s

            which translates to

                    /usr/bin/xemacs %s

            Any file that has xemacs as it's default viewer/editor will use this command where %s is replaced with the full path and filename.

            • File Extensions The file extension panel provides a method for associating file extensions with an app. An extension MUST start with a '.'. If a new extension is entered its icon may be set from this panel.

Magic Files

Rudimentary magic file support is available -- the app will try to figure out what type the file is if it is unknown. It will then do something based on the file type. There are 3 cases:

If it is ascii, xedit is started.
If it is an image, xv is started.
If it is a ps file, ghostview is started.

To change these settings, edit the defaults file in ~/GNUstep/Defaults.


A port of the OffiX DnD library is being used in this app. The port has been undertaken by Igor Roboul. OffiX DnD is supported by Window Maker so you can drop things on the dock/clip. Also icons can be dragged from the pathview to a folder or to the shelf, dragging to a folder causes the item to be moved into that folder. Presing the Shift key while dragging will cause the item to be copied.

Mounting Devices

The app provides rudimentary support for mounting, unmounting and ejecting file systems. A sample defaults file entry is provided below.

  DISKS = {
    devices = ((CDROM, "/cdrom", "/dev/hdc"), \
    (Zip, "/dosz", "/dev/sda4"));
    mount = "mount %s";
    umount = "umount %s";
    eject = "eject %s";

At the moment any errors from the commands are not detected.

File Settings

When an unknown file type is encountered a window will pop up prompting you for a command. For example if the file is a jpeg the command may be:

        xv %s

where %s will be replaced with the filename when the app comes across a jpeg type file. To pass something as one arguement, just wrap it in double quotes eg:

        app "-p foo"

The "-p foo" will be passed as one arguement.


Sometimes it may be easier to edit the defaults file ( ~/GNUstep/Defaults/FSViewer ) than to work with the app. Also there are some options that the currently sparse Preferences Dialog does not know about. It is worth looking at the file to see what can be changed. A more comprehensive Preferences Dialog Box, that will allow access to most if not all of the defaults file, is planned for the next version. Make sure to backup the defaults file if you plan to edit it by hand!


the systemwide configuration file.
a user's personal configuration file.


The link section under Attributes doesn't work.

Many features remain unimplemented. A list of these from the fsviewer README file:

Revert in the Inspector Panel (partially supported).
Recycler Support.
Implement a locate/find dialog. Done but it needs to be customizable.
Improve the feel of the app.
Add a panel to allow for 'quick' registering of apps.
Change cursor during busy periods.
Add in support for file completion for navigating the columns.
Provide an interface to PGP to allow for file encryption via FSViewer.
Implement other viewing modes.
Implement a full preferences dialog.
Revert in the Inspector Panel (partially supported).

Send comments and bug reports to <[email protected]>.


fsviewer is Copyright 1998/1999 George Clernon <[email protected]> and was written by George Clernon.

This manpage was adapted from the fsviewer README file by Will Lowe <[email protected]> for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.