Madhav Kobal's Blog

This blog will be dedicated to Linux, Open Source and Technology news, affairs, how-tos and virtually EVERYTHING in these domains.

Desktop search engines for Linux

Posted by madhavkobal on 04/12/2009

The file system management is fine in Linux, but effectively searching the file system for specific files like mp3 (.mp3) , text (.txt), movie (.avi, .divx etc.), pictures (.jpeg, .bmp, .png) or documents (.doc) is one thing that most oflinux users miss from their Windows Desktop.

The inbuilt search interface in most of the linux distros is not so user-friendly and effective, so we here present some of the better alternative Desktop search engines for linux:

Beagle is one of the most useful and exhaustive desktop search replacement we could find for linux.
The list of supported files types is very large ranging from images, audio, video, documents, DEB and RPM packages, Email from Evolution and Thunderbird , IM logs and even RSS feeds.
You can even add a new file type by editing the file at : /etc/beagle/external-filters.xml

Beagle can be invoked and run either from Command line or Web interface, while Command line is more powerful as you can specify exact phrases, words or even logical operators (AND, OR) or even use metadata of audio and image files.

Beagle achieves efficiency by building non-redundant index of files, which is comparatively smaller than other engines.
For a 45 Gb partition, index was around 700 Mb.
Google Desktop Search

Google Desktop search for linux also supports many file types like Openoffice and MSoffice files, PDF, Html and others.
But downsides are:

1. It does not index zipped archives.
2. You cannot add new file types at all.
The noteworthy feature is you can point ot the exact directory where you are looking for a particular life. Otherwise, it is just useful for average office use and is useless for a power user like me.

Supported file types: HTML, plain text, PDF, Microsoft Office (doc, xls, ppt), Microsoft Office 2007 (docx, xlsx, pptx), Writer, Calc, Draw, and Impress, RTF, AbiWord (abw, abw.gz, zabw), CHM, Visio, SVG.

DocFetcher is coded in Java, so naturally it is fast in indexing and easy on CPU resources.
It also supports regular expressions, phrase search and logical operators (AND, OR, NOT). Like GDS (Google Desktop search) it also does not search zipped archives.

One interesting query feature found is: Boosting terms, using which you can assign custom weights to words, thus increasing or decreasing the level of matching of words.

Tracker is a part of Gnome project.
It introduces the concept of file tags, which is in my view overcomplicates the file system management.

The list of file types supported is quite large, still there is no Bookmarks, EMails or Contact search support.
The biggest downside is that indexer is the slowest among all those we compared.


3 Responses to “Desktop search engines for Linux”

  1. […] the original post:  Desktop search engines for Linux « Madhav Kobal's Blog By admin | category: google desktop | tags: around-700, desktop, file-types, google […]

  2. Thanks for this blogpost, I’ve learned a lot more now about mp3’s. My personal place is a open directory I found somwere on google. It has storaged thousands of music files. I have added the link in that website url option. I hope to see a lot more posts from you!

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