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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

By Nathan Willis on August 31, 2007 (9:00:00 AM)

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FileZilla is one great open source FTP client that -- up until now -- was available only for Windows. Version 3 is a ground-up rewrite that makes the application available for the first time on Linux, too.

You can download the latest FileZilla release either from filezilla-project.org or through the project's SourceForge.net page. In both places, you will find the older FileZilla 2.x series for Windows only, and the 3.0 series for Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, and Windows.

Despite the similarity in names, FileZilla is not built on top of Mozilla code, nor does it use Mozilla-derived technologies like XUL. It does use wxWidgets for its cross-platform user interface elements, and is built on top of the standard GNU toolchain.

The current Linux download is a tarball containing the filezilla binary, a command-line SSH FTP (SFTP) utility called fzsftp, and various editable configuration files. Since the Linux download does not include an installer, make sure that you have wxWidgets installed before you get started.

Dust off those files

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By default FileZilla's interface takes the two-pane approach common to many FTP applications -- one column for the local machine, one for the remote machine. Above sits a message window that tracks status messages from the FTP server. You can rearrange the basic layout of the local and remote window panes through the Preferences dialog; you do not have absolute power to rearrange the panes, but can hot-swap between four horizontal and vertical arrangements.

You can also switch icon themes, although there is little variety among the supplied alternatives. I did not find any information in the FileZilla documentation or wiki relating to how to create a new icon theme.

Getting FileZilla to work is simple; you can enter FTP, SFTP, or FTP-over-SSL sites into the Quick-connect fields at the top of the window and connect fast. You can save settings for regularly visited sites (including details like starting directory) in the site manager. In other words, so far, FileZilla is exactly like any other FTP client.

FileZilla does do one thing differently from other FTP clients: it queues file transfer operations until you hit the "process button" on the toolbar. At the bottom of the window, FileZilla lists the current queue -- as they are processed, successes move into the "successful transfers" tab, and failures into the "failed transfers" tab. With failed transfers so grouped together, you can get a quicker overview of any connection problems, and retry them without having to dig back through the message log. Whether the queue approach is desirable or not is largely a matter of individual taste, but I find it superior to the instant-transfer-only approach.

Compare and contrast

I use an FTP client only when I have more than a handful of things to do -- otherwise, I can just use my hosting provider's secure Web upload facility. File transfer is such a monotonous task that the less noticeable it is, the better. In the past I have generally used gFTP on my Linux systems, but I always found its interface getting in the way: overloaded and unorganized menus, mis-sized username and password fields, unclear options, and graphical elements that appear unchanged since the 1990s.

KDE's Kasablanca isn't much better. My suspicion is that both major desktop environments want you to use their desktop file managers to do FTP. That, too, is acceptable only for minimal tasks. File managers always seem to want to open multiple windows, create thumbnails, hide extensions and ".dot files," and in general optimize the experience for visual inspection of the directory contents.

FTP work is more often than not a matter of getting updates transferred as quickly and simply as possible. At this, FileZilla is better than the alternatives. Both the local and remote views separate directories and files into different panes, which aids navigation. You can toggle the display of ".dot files" on and off on the fly. The site manager is simple and well laid out. Even the firewall/router configuration wizard is designed right, explaining the various options (e.g., active versus passive FTP mode) succinctly but in plain English.

More to come

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There are a few features lacking in this release of FileZilla that some users will miss. One is a simple sync command, to compare and synchronize the remote and local directories. Another is so-called local editing of remote files. In most cases, this is actually performed with sleight of hand by copying the remote file to a temporary local directory and then re-uploading it on save. Still, it is a function a lot of people take for granted, and you will have to work around its absence in FileZilla for the time being.

I tested FileZilla on FTP and SFTP sites and have yet to encounter any bugs or crashes. I did notice some focus weirdness in the interface, though, which may be the fault of wxWidgets. I could not triple- or quadruple-click to select entire lines or paragraphs, which was an annoyance when adding sites to the site manager. Every new site you add starts off named New Site, so you must rename it -- but you can't select the words "New Site" by clicking on them. Instead you have move the cursor to the end of the text with the arrow keys and backspace it out. Trust me, the third time in a row that you do that, you will appreciate the mouse selection behavior you take for granted in every other app.

Slightly more important was the fact that it often required multiple mouse clicks to get the cursor to move from one field to another. That is not a showstopper either, but it is irritating to click into the password field, start typing, and only then realize that the cursor is still up in the username field.

The FileZilla development team plans to add both sync and local editing features in future releases. Although the project lacks a firm road map, you can follow the app's progress in the development journal thread at the project's discussion forum.

FTP is one of the oldest Internet protocols still in use. A lot of Linux users expect FTP and SFTP support to be integrated into other tools these days -- if you are developing Web apps, for example, you probably want it in your IDE. But there will always be individual files out there that need to be transferred. Having used FileZilla with great success on Windows, I am glad that Linux users now have it as an option for their desktops as well.

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on FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

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Krusader is nice, too

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 194.100.160.60] on August 31, 2007 11:57 AM
Personally I don't touch GUI clients very often, but if Konqueror for one reason or another is not enough for me, then I tend to use Krusader, http://krusader.sf.net/

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Re: Krusader is nice, too

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.240.117.109] on August 31, 2007 05:15 PM
or konqueror... or kde... for the kio slaves which let any application use ftp, and many other protocols (smb comes to mind)... ;-)


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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.110.134.243] on August 31, 2007 01:41 PM
There's still Linux people using FTP? I thought everyone moved on the ssh by now.

In case you didn't know, Nautilus supports ssh file transfers. In Gnome, go to Places --> Home Folder. Then, click on the location icon (looks like a pencil and paper in the top left) so that you see an area where you can type (it should say /home/your_home_directory right now). Clear the location out, and type in ssh://username@ipaddress and you're there. You can open a second nautilus window and drag and drop between the two.

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Re: FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 193.138.250.164] on August 31, 2007 01:47 PM
even better, you use filezilla to do ftp-over-ssh :) That way you have a gui for doing scp :p

works great.

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Re(1): FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.201.53.40] on September 03, 2007 11:12 AM
Or mount it as filesystem and use ordinary file manager ;-)

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.241.29.154] on August 31, 2007 04:38 PM
FireFtp plugin for Firefox is a good choice too.

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Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.112.91.123] on August 31, 2007 05:09 PM
I applaud Linux for using screenshot (for once! :)).

I also used gFTP on Linux, and used FileZilla on Windows.
I am very happy that FileZilla is now coming to Linux.

The theme on your screenshots sucks, use something that looks more modern, like the Ubuntu look.

The "treeview" widget in Windows looks much better on Windows than on Linux (GTK?).

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Re: Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.240.117.109] on August 31, 2007 05:21 PM
> GTK?

wxWidgets, as mentioned in the article, check <a href="http://www.wxwidgets.org/">http://www.wxwidgets.org/</a>

From the homepage:
wxWidgets lets developers create applications for Win32, Mac OS X, GTK+, X11, Motif, WinCE, and more using one codebase. It can be used from languages such as C++, Python, Perl, and C#/.NET. Unlike other cross-platform toolkits, wxWidgets applications look and feel native. This is because wxWidgets uses the platform's own native controls rather than emulating them. It's also extensive, free, open-source, and mature. Why not give it a try, like many others have?

also have a look at <a href="http://www.wxwidgets.org/about/screensh.htm">http://www.wxwidgets.org/about/screensh.htm</a> to see some screen shots

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Re: Hmm

Posted by: Michael Shigorin on September 01, 2007 03:47 PM
LOL :)))) friendly advice from ubuntu noob?

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FileZilla 3 icon themes

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.39.242.178] on August 31, 2007 05:48 PM
I am the designer of the third icon set for Fz3. From the screenshots, it looks like you reviewed rc1, but the icon set was added in rc2. So, there is now 1.5x the icon theme variety!

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 124.43.212.216] on August 31, 2007 06:06 PM
FlashFXP is the best client i have ever used.

http://www.iwantdollars.blogspot.com

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Slow SSH transfers on previous versions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 193.69.236.2] on August 31, 2007 06:18 PM
I ended up using WinSCP to transfer files on boxes that didnt have regular FTP, since there was a significant slowdown on FileZilla. Hope this issue will be solved in FileZilla 3, as the program is really good in other areas.

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Re: Slow SSH transfers on previous versions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.24.142.99] on August 31, 2007 06:25 PM
I second that sentiment.

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.173.172.228] on August 31, 2007 06:20 PM
Whats next? "HyperTerminal port brings Windows Telnet goodness to Linux"?

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 201.43.57.243] on September 01, 2007 02:15 AM
> FileZilla does do one thing differently from other FTP clients: it queues file transfer operations until you hit the "process button" on the toolbar.

Nope. LeechFTP has this feature and it's much older than FileZilla (actually, LeechFTP
isn't even developed anymore).

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Some other good choices

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.209.68.66] on September 01, 2007 04:14 AM
KFTPGrabber and CrossFTP are good choices too.

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.232.192.69] on September 01, 2007 02:04 PM
"Windows FTP goodness" ..lol ..obviously windows biased author ...who needs "windows goodness" a.k.a. shit

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Michael Shigorin on September 01, 2007 03:48 PM
Thanks, if it packages easily (which isn't always the case with wx*) and actually works, maybe I'll have another FTP client for cherry-picking when needed (third to lftp and seamonkey at hand).

PS: the desktop theme of the screenshot is clean and elegant too :)

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FileZilla 3 is in Debian Etch

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.152.175.225] on September 01, 2007 04:09 PM
Filezilla 3 is also part of current stable Debian release, Debian 4.0 'Etch'. Filezilla works just fine on my computer. This is how you can install it:
# apt-get install filezilla

[Modified by: Anonymous on September 01, 2007 04:32 PM]

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.24.16.25] on September 16, 2007 01:52 PM
I don't understand this piece of news..??! I've been using FileZilla on my Mandriva distro for more than half a year. What am I missing?

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Re: FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.24.16.25] on September 26, 2007 11:35 PM
.. or was that just alpha's, beta's and rc's going a looooong way back? I don't remember :p

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FileZilla 3 brings Windows FTP goodness to Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.166.99.83] on January 29, 2008 02:04 AM
I've tried others, but I seem to always end up returning to FileZilla. I just need to find a link to install in on my new Linux box, as I've dumped windows. RonPaul2008.com

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