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Catfish is a simple graphical file searching front-end for either slocate or GNU locate on. It is written with Xfce in mind and it can be used on any desktop environment running on GNU/Linux or *BSD systems. It can be a bit useful for finding files in a folder tree or a computer in general but its usefulness is somewhat limited.

Features and Usability

Catfish in action.

Catfish has a folder selector in the upper left corner and a big search bar which looks similar to a web browsers search bar. Entering a search term into the search bar will search the selected folder and folders below it.

Catfish uses the systems standard mlocate.db database created by the updatedb command (typically invoked by mlocate-updatedb.timer which is provided by the mlocate package on distributions using systemd). Catfish searches the locate database the same way the terminal command locate[1] does.

Catfish does not substitute white spaces with _ or add any regular expressions to search terms. Further, user-entered regular expressions similar to the locate commands --regexp[1] option are not supported.

Searching for a simple term like "hot" will find files named hot_potato.jpg. That file would also be found by searching for "hot_potato" but it would not be found by searching for "hot potato".

Searches are limited to one single word or string. There is no way to search for long filenames containing this and that and wildcards are not supported (no-no using this*that to find a file with this and that).

Catfish will by default ignore case distinctions (similar to locate -i). There is an option to "Match results exactly".

Catfish with its optional sidebar shown.

Catfish has a hidden by default sidebar which can be enabled by pressing f9. It allows search results to be filtered by file type (documents / folders / images / music / videos / applications and other) as well as modification time.

Catfish has support for GNOME and Wayland as of version 1.4.12.

Catfish can be configured to either have a classic look with a titlebar or a "CSD" look with no window title bar. It supports Wayland and the GNOME shell as of version 1.4.12.

Verdict and Conclusion

Catfish is alright if you want a graphical front-end for the systems locate command. It is not a great file search tool and it is not very advanced. It is severely limited.


Catfish has a homepage at

Most distributions have it available as a package named catfish.

Catfish was originally written by Christian Dywan. It has since 2012 been maintained by Xfce developer Sean M. Davis.



Anonymous (39f55ffe06)

5 months ago
Score 0
Catfish is now at version 4.16.0 and is significantly better.
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