A Look At Dolphin

While looking at the packages available in Adept, I saw that Dolphin was available. I was a bit surprised, considering that Dolphin is still in beta stage but nonetheless decided to have a look at it

For the uninitiated, Dolphin will be the default file manager in KDE4 breaking away from the tradition of Konqueror being the web browser/file manager combo. While Konqueror will still be available in KDE4, it will no longer be the default file manager. I really like Konqueror, especially with its integrated KParts-based document viewing, something which I initially detested, and now can’t live without.

Coming to Dolphin, it was a small (really small to be honest) download,with a download size of 1.2MB and an install size of 2.4 MB.dolphin.jpg

Dolphin loads really fast, unlike Konqueror which takes a good 3-5 seconds. Looks wise,it looks a bit like Nautilus, with the “bread crumbs” style of Navigation present in Nautilus and Vista. The individual path elements in Dolphin’s navigation bar act as menus that enable users to switch to sibling directories. This feature, which is also found in Windows Vista, is unfortunately absent in Nautilus. Clicking on the button at the side of bread crumbs, shows the full URL, Konqueror style. In addition Dolphin also has some nifty features like the split view, indispensable for copying/moving files. In addition, each of these splits can be independently set to “Icons”, “Details” or “Preview” mode. This is really useful, say when you want to transfer some pictures or documents to a removable drive. Just split into 2 views, with left side having the default Icons view and the right side, containing your pictures in “Preview” mode, thus you can transfer only the documents/pictures that you need, without having to open and examine each document individually. The status bar at below shows the percentage of hard disk space used, and the total number of files and directories.


Coming to the bad parts, What I missed in Dolphin the first minute is the tree view in the left column. Also in the extended menu noticed that Actions menu only has option to send file/folder via e-mail, no burn with k3b, send via bluetooth, and others. Another great feature that Konqueror has and Dolphin is missing, same as Konsole for example, is able to have multiple tabs in one window.

Considering that Dolphin is still under development, I’d like to see these features to added.

Despite these shortcomings, Dolphin is pretty nice and useful to use, especially for newcomers. For me, though I’ll stick to Konqueror, wait for the final release of KDE 4 & Dolphin.



  1. Nice review of Dolphin. As far as I know they have added Tree view into KDE 4 version of Dolphin a few months ago (see this post from Aaron J. Seigo). So this shouldn’t be a problem anymore. I’m almost sure that Actions menu will be back when Dolphin get more integrated into KDE 4 and when KDE 4 applications start installing entries for actions menu. For other wishes it is always good to add them to KDE Bugzilla. If the proposal is well argumented and explained.

  2. Thanks for the encouraging words, and for the link. Well I’d downloaded Dolphin via adept, and not the svn version(which has the tree view) so I guess that’s why it hasn’t shown up. I will give a report to KDE Bugzilla, the coming few releases should be interesting. thanks for your thoughts!

  3. thanks for sharing this news and I first came to know from your post that it can be downloadable in KDE 3.xx version.

    I download it…..Is there any way to start/use it instead of Konqueror by default ?
    If I want to use Dolphin then everytime I need manually start it from the program menu.

    Please if you know, kindly share the steps….Please.

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