Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ubuntu Desktop Search Tools

Two primary search tools are available for your Ubuntu desktop: Search For Files and Tracker. Search For Files is installed by default and is accessible by choosing Places Search For Files. The Tracker search and desktop indexer is accessible from Applications Accessories Tracker search tool. When you start using Tracker, a Tracker icon will appear in the top panel. Tracker will actually index your files, making access more efficient. The GNOME file manager also provides its own search tool for quickly finding files. As an alternative, you can use the DeskBar search applet, which also makes use of Tracker indexing.

Tracker: Indexed Search
Tracker is a GNOME desktop indexing search tool ( that’s technically named Meta-Tracker. Tracker is turned off by default as its indexing function can be resource intensive. You can enable Tracker by choosing System Preferences Search And Indexing and checking both the Enable Indexing and Enable Watching check boxes on the General tab. If you find that indexing is consuming too many resources, you can turn it off by unchecking the Enable Indexing check box. You can still use Tracker to perform searches if you have Enable Watching checked. Once enabled, the Tracker applet appears on the right side of the top panel. You can right-click the icon to display a menu for selecting preferences as well as to start Tracker or pausing indexing. Tracker indexes not just by name or location, but also by metadata and content of files and directories. Indexing is performed by the trackerd daemon.

To use Tracker, click its icon to open a search window, where you can enter your search and display the results. You can also open this window directly by rightclicking the Tracker icon and choosing Search. Search results are organized into Categories in the side pane. The results for a selected category are shown in the top-right pane. Information about a selected result appears in the lower-right pane. Tracker also has an indexer that can be configured using the Tracker Preferences window. Right-click the Tracker icon and choose Preferences, or choose System Preferences Search And Indexing. You’ll see tabs for General, Files, Ignored Files, Email, and Performance. On the General tab, you can enable or disable indexing. On the Files tab, you can specify what directories to index. Your home directory is already specified. You can also choose to index the contents of files. The Ignored Files tab lets you exclude directories from indexing, as well as files with certain patterns in their names. On the Email tab, you can index e-mail clients such as Evolution or Thunderbirds, as well as specify particular mbox files. The Performance tab lets you control the amount of resources indexing will use.

Search for Files
The Search For Files tool performs basic file searching. It uses a GNOME front end for the Linux grep, find, and locate tools. Choose Places Search For Files and enter the pattern for which you want to search. File-matching characters (wildcards) will help, such as an ampersand (*) for filename completion or brackets ([]) to specify a range of possible characters or numbers.

Enter the pattern of the search in the Name Contains text box, and then select the folder or file system in which to search from the Look In Folder drop-down menu. The user’s home folder is selected by default. You can then elect to specify advanced options such as the Contains The Text text box for searching the contents of text files (grep), or additional file characteristics such as the file date, size, or owner type (find). You can also use a regular expression to search filenames.

GNOME File Manager Search
The GNOME file manager uses another search tool with similar features. You enter a pattern on which to search, but you can also specify file types. The search begins from the folder opened, but you can specify another folder to search (Location option). Click the plus (+) button to add location and file type search parameters. In the browser mode, you can click the Search button on the toolbar to make the URL box a Search box. Pop up menus for Location and File Type will appear in the folder window, with + and – buttons for adding or removing location and file type search parameters.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Ubuntu The Complete Reference

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