Gnome Commander

A powerful file manager for the GNOME desktop environment

Installing on Ubuntu 20.04 and Mint 20 28 January 2021


Gnome Commander is no longer available in the Debian, Ubuntu, Mint and some other repositories due to the removal of old libraries used by GCMD. Until such time as that can be resolved it is necessary to manually install GCMD on Linux Distros which derive from Debian. Part 1 of this document will provide step by step instructions for compiling and installing GCMD from its source code. Part 2 will describe a method for installing GCMD on multiple computers without having to install all of the development packages on each computer.

The approach described below has been updated to work on Ubuntu Mate 20.04 on an Intel PC. The main issue is that several required packages are not in the 20.04 repositories. As a workaround it is possible to add the Ubuntu 18.04 repo to Ubuntu 20.04 in order to install those packages in order to build GCDR. Once this is done it is probably a good idea to disconnect from the Ubuntu 18.04 repo.

UPDATE (February 09, 2022)

Since February 05 2022 with the release of Gnome Commander 1.14.0, the program is not depending on gnome-vfs anymore. The installation of Gnome Commander in Ubuntu should therefore be much simpler than described below.

Part 1 - Installation from source

The first step is to create a development environment with the necessary tools to compile GCDR. This can be done on an existing Ubuntu installation or to a new installation on a test computer or a virtual machine. Starting from scratch:

Add the Ubuntu 18.04 repo by editing the sources.list file with vim or your favorite text editor.

sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list

add the following line to the end of the file and save

deb bionic universe

Install the development environment by opening a terminal (command window) and executing these commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y build-essential itstool gawk libxml2-utils libglib2.0-dev 
sudo apt-get install -y libgtk2.0-dev libgnomevfs2-dev

The computer is ready to build GCMD. Now it is time to obtain the source code.

Get the latest gnome commander source code from the Download section (currently gnome-commander-1.10.3.tar.xz). Right click on the link and “save as” to a convenient location on your computer. You may optionally verify the file with the sha256 check sum or gpg signature provided on the web site.

Locate the downloaded file and open it with your Archive Manager. Extract the contents of the archive to a convenient location (e.g. ~/development/ - it does not matter - even Desktop will work fine.)

If you prefer to do it all from the command line (make sure to check the web page for the location of the latest source tarball)…

mkdir ~/development
cd ~/development/
wget .
tar -xvf gnome-commander-1.10.3.tar.xz -C ~/development

In the terminal navigate to the top directory of the source (e.g. ~/development/gnome-commander-1.10.3/ ) and enter the command:


This will verify that all necessary packages are available and that the environment will support compiling GCMD. It should end by stating:

Type 'make' to build gnome-commander-1.10.3 and then 'make install' to install

Next type:


and when that is complete type:

sudo make install

When the process completes, GCMD should be ready to run. Try it by typing gnome-commander. You will probably see some error messages. They seem to relate to the old libraries used by GCMD. However, the errors do not seem to impact any GCMD functions. In your applications menu the GCMD icon should appear on the menu under “Accessories”.

Note: If you experience any errors while using GCMD on Ubuntu 20.04. PLEASE file a bug.

It is possible to build GCMD so that it includes the option to only run a single instance. The above instructions do not include this option. It will be possible to open Gnome Commander again and again and again.

If you desire to include the single instance option it is necessary to add the following package to the machine on which you are compiling the application:

sudo apt-get install -y libunique-dev

Once this is done it is necessary to run ./configure; make and sudo make install as described above. A new option will appear under Settings in GCMD:

   Multiple instances
     [X] Don't start a new instance

On a new installation this option is checked by default. If you are upgrading an existing installation from a .deb package this option may be unchecked.

Part 2 - Creating a deb file

If it is desired to install GCMD on multiple computers without installing all of the development packages on each one and without going through the build process on each computer, these additional steps will help.

In the terminal of the computer used to compile GCMD type the following:

Update from September 2021: Don’t execute the following command if you’re working on Ubuntu 20.04, it can make your system unusable. See the following link!

sudo apt-get install checkinstall

With the terminal pointing to the same directory as in Part 1 (e.g. ~/devel/gnome-commander.1.10.3/) type the following command:

sudo checkinstall

When this process completes you should find a file gnome-commander_1.10.3-1_amd64.deb in the current directory. Copy this file to the target machine where you wish to install GCMD. Open a terminal on the target machine, point it to the directory where the .deb file is located and issue the command:

sudo gdebi gnome-commander_1.10.3-1_amd64.deb

This will result in gnome-commander being installed. However, there is a dependent package which gdebi will not install (two packages if you chose to build gnome-commander with the unique option.) The packages must be obtained from the Ubuntu 18.04 repo. As was done for the initial build, add the necessary repo to /etc/apt/sources.list.

sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list

add the following line to the end of the file and save

deb bionic universe

Install the needed package by issuing the commands:

sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get install -y libgnomevfs2-0

If using “unique” to enable the option to limit gnome-commander to only a single instance, install the neessary package.

sudo apt-get install libunique-1.0

It would probably be a good idea to comment out the 18.04 repo in /etc/apt/sources.list by placing a # at the start of the line. Gnome commander should now be installed and ready to run and the Gnome Commander menu entry should appear on the menu under “Accessories”.

Note: These instructions have been tested on Linux Mint 20 and seem to work fine. The only difference is in the handling of the 18.04 repo. It needs to be added to the file:


The repo may added using the Software Sources GUI tool. The referenced file warns not to edit manually as it might be overwritten by the Software Sources tool. However, to temporarily enable the 18.04 repo in order to build GCMD, editing the .list file directly will do the trick.

Again, If you experience any errors while using GCMD on Ubuntu 20.04 or Mint 20 or a recent version of Debian, PLEASE file a bug.

To top of page

Valid html 5

Background image by Mojie & hcorleybarto (CC-BY-NC-SA)