A.5. System and File Management

The following section provides an overview of Linux tools for system and file management. Get to know text and source code editors, backup solutions, and archiving tools.

Table A.5. System and File Management Software for Windows and Linux


Windows Application

Linux Application

Text Editor

NotePad, WordPad, (X)Emacs

kate, gedit, (X)Emacs, vim

PDF Creator

Adobe Distiller


PDF Viewer

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader, Evince, KPDF, Xpdf

Text Recognition

Recognita, FineReader


Command Line Pack Programs

zip, rar, arj, lha, etc.

zip, tar, gzip, bzip2, etc.

GUI Based Pack Programs


Ark, File Roller

Hard Disk Partitioner

PowerQuest, Acronis, Partition Commander

YaST, GNU Parted

Backup Software

ntbackup, Veritas

dar, taper, dump


Kate is part of the KDE suite. It has the ability to open several files at once either locally or remotely. With syntax highlighting, project file creation, and external scripts execution, it is a perfect tool for a programmer. Find more information at http://kate.kde.org/.


GEdit is the official text editor of the GNOME desktop. It provides similar features to Kate. Find more information at http://www.gnome.org/projects/gedit/.


GNU Emacs and XEmacs are very professional editors. XEmacs is based on GNU Emacs. To quote the GNU Emacs Manual, “Emacs is the extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor.” Both offer nearly the same functionality with minor differences. Used by experienced developers, they are highly extensible through the Emacs Lisp language. They support many languages, like Russian, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Find more information at http://www.xemacs.org/ and http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs.html.


vim (vi improved) is a program similar to the text editor vi. Users may need time to adjust to vim, because it distinguishes between command mode and insert mode. The basic features are the same as in all text editors. vim offers some unique options, like macro recording, file format detection and conversion, and multiple buffers in a screen. Find more information at http://www.vim.org/ or in Reference.


GOCR is an OCR (optical character recognition) tool. It converts scanned images of text into text files. Find more information at http://jocr.sourceforge.net/.

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader for Linux is the exact counterpart of the Windows and Mac versions of this application. The look and feel on Linux are the same as on other platforms. The other parts of the Adobe Acrobat suite have not been ported to Linux. Find more information at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html.


Evince is a document viewer for PDF and PostScript formats for the GNOME desktop. Find more information at http://www.gnome.org/projects/evince/.


KPDF is a PDF viewing application for the KDE desktop. Its features include searching the PDF and full screen reading mode like in Adobe Reader. Find more information at http://kpdf.kde.org/.


Xpdf is lean PDF viewing suite for Linux and Unix platforms. It includes a viewer application and some export plug-ins for PostScript or text formats. Find more information at http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/.

gzip, tar, bzip2

There are plenty of packaging programs for reducing disk usage. In general, they differ only in their pack algorithm. Linux can also handle the packaging formats used on Windows. Find more information about gzip and tar in Section, “File Administration” (↑Start-Up). bzip2 is a bit more efficient than gzip, but needs more time, depending on the pack algorithm.

GNU Parted

GNU Parted is a command-line tool for creating, destroying, resizing, checking, and copying partitions and the file systems on them. If you need to create space for new operating systems, use this tool to reorganize disk usage and copy data between different hard disks. Find more information at http://www.gnu.org/software/parted/.


KDar stands for KDE disk archiver and is a hardware-independent backup solution. KDar uses catalogs (unlike tar), so it is possible to extract a single file without having to read the whole archive and it is also possible to create incremental backups. KDar can split an archive into multiple slices and trigger the burning of a data CD or DVD for each slice. Find more information about KDar at http://kdar.sourceforge.net/.


Taper is a backup and restore program that provides a friendly user interface to allow backup and restoration of files to and from a tape drive. Alternatively, files can be backed up to archive files. Recursively selected directories are supported. Find more information at http://taper.sourceforge.net/.


The dump package contains both dump and restore. dump examines files in a file system, determines which ones need to be backed up, and copies those files to a specified disk, tape, or other storage medium. The restore command performs the inverse function of dump—it can restore a full backup of a file system. Find more information at http://dump.sourceforge.net/.