I am looking for an interactive (graphical or text interface) file manager which would be able to manage files and directories on a remote machine over protocols based on SSH (SSH itself, SFTP and SCP). It should have these features:

  • multiple directory panels / windows (to be able to see source and destination for copying / moving / linking)
  • control by keyboard shortcuts and possibly drag & drop
  • besides copy / move must be able to create links (both hard and soft link)
  • should provide scripting (ideally both local scripts and interactive running of remote scripts)
  • should run on Linux (natively, Wine or Mono) but I am also interested in Windows-only applications

Example of a known but insufficient program: WinSCP is a very good software but it is intended mainly for uploading and downloading. Remote file management capabilities are extremely limited: Cannot display more than one remote directory. Has only limited copy and move functionality (no links). Cannot run remote scripts interactively.

  • WinSCP can remote-execute stuff. winscp.net/eng/docs/remote_command - Good question, though. – Angelo Fuchs Jan 20 '15 at 11:01
  • While more than one tab is not available, bookmarks are and can be used for this purpose. winscp.net/eng/docs/task_navigate#bookmarks It can handle links winscp.net/eng/docs/task_link - As I don't use WinSCP these days anymore, I don't want to write an answer, but if you try the links I provided and found them useful, would you write a WinSCP answer? – Angelo Fuchs Jan 20 '15 at 11:09
  • @AngeloFuchs: Thanks for your comments. --- I use WinSCP occasionally and I know many of its functions including running of remote commands. It cannot run remote interactive programs though WinSCP can ask for parameters and pass them on as command-line parameters. --- I must admit that I missed the possibility of creating symlinks / hardlinks but this function is cumbersome the same way as copying / moving. This clumsiness is caused by inability to work with two panels at the same time. Bookmarks do not help much because you do not see and update the two directories at the same time. – pabouk Jan 20 '15 at 13:03
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    @AngeloFuchs: I am still looking for something better than WinSCP but maybe later I could describe an alternative solution with WinSCP as an answer. Thanks. – pabouk Jan 20 '15 at 13:08

Midnight Commander (mc) is a two-paned file manager in text-mode (actually a Norton Commander lookalike) which supports SFTP and FTP and should be able to fulfill most if not all of your requirements.

It supports hard and symlinks, also via key bindings, but I'm not sure how well this works over SFTP.

There's also a project which offers unofficial binary builds for Windows. Main target platform seems to Unix-ish operating systems. (I have no idea how well the STFP support works under Windows.)

  • Thank you for your suggestion. I know mc but I did not expect that it could do what I need. Unfortunately it does not :( I was not able to create a hard link (maybe impossible over SFTP), created symlink was always absolute (with leading /) and when copying a file mc was downloading and uploading back the complete file. – pabouk Jan 31 '15 at 21:16
  • Ok. I only tested symlinking and read about that it also supports hardlinks. I don't know to which extents hardlinks are supported. It's not unlikely that creating hardlinks over SFTP may be impossible. – Axel Beckert Feb 1 '15 at 14:47

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