Easily Manage Remote Filesystems with Gigolo In Linux

Some file managers, such as KDE’s Dolphin and GNOME’s Nautilus, already integrate the management of remote filesystems – but these file managers aren’t for everyone. If you’re using a lighter-weight desktop, or you just want a dedicated application for viewing and interacting with your remote filesystems, check out Gigolo.

Gigolo’s tag line is “It mounts what it is told to.” Gigolo is a graphical frontend for the userspace virtual filesystem GIO/GVfs, which handles remote files. While GVfs is the successor of the old GnomeVfs, don’t get confused; it isn’t dependent on GNOME. Gigolo is also part of the Xfce Goodies project, but it doesn’t depend on Xfce either. Its only hard dependencies are GTK2 (2.12 or newer), DBus, and GLib (2.16 or newer).

Installing Gigolo

If Gigolo isn’t available in one of your distribution’s repositories, you can download it. As of this writing, the latest release is 0.41. You can also grab the most recent source code from the Xfce Goodies Git repository:

git clone http://git.xfce.org/apps/gigolo

There are two ways to build Gigolo from source. To use the included Waf build system, you’ll need Python. Go into your Gigolo directory and run the following commands:

./waf configure
./waf build
sudo ./waf install

The other way to build Gigolo from source is to use autotools with the command:


According to Gigolo’s developer, the latter method is more appropriate for distro packagers and special use cases, but either will work.

Running Gigolo

When you run Gigolo for the first time, it will show you thumbnails of all the local filesystems it has detected.


Go to “View -> Side Panel” to show the side panel, which is where your bookmarks will go. There won’t be any bookmarks at first.


Hit [ctrl]+[B] to open the bookmark manager.


When you add a bookmark, you’ll see that you can use the following protocols:

  • FTP
  • Obex
  • SSH
  • WebDAV
  • Secure WebDAV
  • Custom

This example shows how I created a bookmark for an SSH connection to another computer on my local area network (LAN):


After I added the bookmark, Gigolo prompted me for my password. Then the location showed up in my side panel with the nickname I gave it (which was just the LAN IP address in this case, but it can be anything you want). There was also a new icon for it in the main display panel.


When I double-clicked on the SFTP connection icon, the location automatically opened in my default file manager, Dolphin. The FTP location, on the other hand, opened in my default browser. I was a bit disappointed that Gigolo couldn’t handle file management natively, but this is part of what makes it such a lightweight application.

By default, Gigolo uses “gvfs-open” to decide which applications to launch for exploring your remote filesystems. If you wish to change this, go to “Edit -> Preferences”.


There you can replace the “gvfs-open” command with an alternative of your choice, such as Nautilus if you want Nautilus to handle all of your uniform resources identifiers (URIs).

Overall, Gigolo is a nice, low-resource frontend for storing bookmarks to a number of different remote filesystems.

Image credit: Network drive icon by Evgen

Rebecca "Ruji" Chapnik

Ruji Chapnik is a freelance creator of miscellanea, including but not limited to text and images. She studied art at the University of California, Santa Cruz and writing at Portland State University. She went on to study Linux in her bedroom and also in various other people's bedrooms, crouched anti-ergonomically before abandoned Windows computers. Ruji currently lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find her experiments at rujic.net and her comics at dondepresso.rujic.net.

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