How to install the Polo file manager – and why you should

Learn how to install a lesser-known Linux file manager that has tons of possibilities.

The Linux desktop has a lot of options. There is not a single application, which does not have several competitors ready. A perfect example is the file manager. There’s Nautilus, Thunar, Dolphin, Konqueror, Midnight Commander, Krusader, PCMan – the list goes on and on. Add another to this list: Polo.

Polo is an advanced file manager for the Linux desktop, which offers a number of features that you will find in similar tools of this type, and some that you would not have. The feature list includes the likes of:

  • Support for multiple layouts (single, dual, quad) with multiple tabs in each pane
  • Creation, extraction and browsing of archives
  • Cloud storage support
  • Run and manage KVM images
  • Edit PDF documents and image files
  • Boot ISO files into KVM
  • Write ISO files to USB drives
  • Connect to FTP, SFTP, SSH and Samba servers
  • Support for checksum and hashing
  • File comparison
  • And more

SEE: Server deployment / migration checklist (Tech Pro Research)

However, there is one catch that most Linux users are not used to: a paywall. That’s right. To access some features, you must stand up. The features that you can only access once beyond the paywall are:

  • Write ISO to USB device
  • Image optimization and adjustment tools
  • PDF Tools
  • Video download via youtube-dl

How much does the paywall cost? A Paypal donation $ 10 USD is enough to get you over the wall. But even without going beyond the paywall, Polo is still a file manager worth your time.

A word of warning

Outside of the paywall, another issue (which might give some users pause) is that Polo’s last update was six months ago, and it was nothing more than a model update. . And given that Polo is still listed as beta, that might not be a good sign. Whether Polo is still in active development remains to be seen. Even so, this lesser-known file manager is worth a visit.

Let’s install Polo and check.


There are two ways to install Polo, via a .deb file (for Ubuntu based distributions) or a .run file (for Red Hat, Debian and Arch based distributions).

For Ubuntu, the installation is as follows:

  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. Add the necessary repository with the command sudo apt-add-repository ppa: teejee2008 / ppa -y.
  3. Update apt with the command sudo apt-get update.
  4. Install Polo with the command sudo apt-get install polo-file-manage -y.

For all other distributions, do the following:

  1. Download the .run file In your ~ / Downloads phone book.
  2. Give the file executable permissions with the command chmod u + x ~ / Downloads / polo * .run.
  3. Install Polo with the command sudo sh ~ / Downloads / polo * .run.

Once installed, locate the app launcher in your desktop menu and start the app. You will need to go through a standard welcome wizard, where you can select your layout style (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A: Selecting the layout style for Polo.


At this point, Polo will look and behave like a fairly standard file manager, with the addition of a few handy features. Even the interface of Polo (Number B) indicates that there is more under the hood than the usual rate.

Number B

Figure B: The Polo file manager in action.

For example, click Terminal (on the main toolbar) to open a terminal window in the bottom half of the application (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C: The Polo terminal window ready to use.


One feature that power users will really appreciate is the ability to create and save workspaces. With this, you can configure Polo in a specific way (say a perfect setup for development) and save that setup as a workspace. To do this, configure Polo exactly as you want it, then click Workspace | Save as. Give the new workspace a name and click OK. You can save as many workspace configurations as you want.

To open one of your workspaces, click Workspace and select the one you want to use (Number D).

Number D

Figure D: Selecting from a list of workspaces.

I encountered a problem when I added a terminal window to a workspace. After saving this workspace, the terminal would no longer open. The only way to get the functionality back was to reset the session, by clicking Tools | Reset the session and restart. The caveat about this is that Polo did not restart automatically. After a manual restart, everything returned to normal.

Why should you use Polo

Other than this issue, Polo performed as well as any other file manager available. It is also very capable of being exactly the file manager that you want (instead of becoming the user that the file manager wants you to be). And with the addition of additional features, Polo is a file manager that would make any Linux user (whether novice or experienced user) happy.

Polo is a very promising file manager, so much so that it could easily become the default file manager on many distributions. The only thing holding Polo back is its beta status and the lack of recent updates. If the developer continues to work on this app, it might become something very special (as far as file managers are concerned). If, on the other hand, development is going at a slow and haphazard pace, I imagine Polo will land squarely on the stack of apps that could have been. Which would be a shame.

Even with the caveats, Polo is a file manager you should try, especially if you find that your distro’s file manager lacks features or flexibility.

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Image: Jack Wallen

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Donald E. Hollingsworth