Question about baloo file indexer in Plasma, what about other DEs?

I just learned about baloo. It pays to read the Arch wiki.

Do all the major desktops have something like this?

I’m particularly interested in Gnome, Xfce, and LXQt.

I have a perfectly good terminal with a find and locate command and if that isn’t enough there is grep. Are all the DEs building in an indexer for the gui on top of the unix-style locate database? I’d really like to know. A quick search seems to indicate that on Xfce, catfish indexes by name but not the contents of the file. On gnome, gnome-search-tool seems to also index the files name and contents. It seems that LXQt is capable of using baloo by pulling in a lot of KDE dependencies but it is not included by default.

Am I understanding this correctly?

By default I think only kde and gnome are using an indexer by default.

Of course, you can either disable baloo or limit it to only indexing filenames if you are struggling with it.


Thanks much. Limiting the index to just the file names and not the contents is a reasonable solution for me and my older hardware.

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I am using KDE and one of the first things I do after a new installation is to disable Baloo. I prefer to use RECOLL, available in the extra repository and which – in my opinion – gives much more configuration options than Baloo.
Recoll works with any DE, as far as I know.
The first indexing may take some time. Furthers ones are lighters, of course.
You can choose scheduled, automatic or manual indexing update, exclude or include files and directories, specific content, etc… It may be worth for you having a look at it.

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Some other good alternatives are FSearch and AngrySearch.

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I often limit baloo on setup. I know gnome also uses a file indexer by default however it’s been quite a while since I’ve turned on baloo with default settings or used gnome

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I’ve got a Baloo file and content index running fine on a 10 year old laptop. I’ve been careful to exclude a few folders (like “VirtualBox VMs”). It takes ages to do the first index, but after that I never notice it running in the background.


Thanks for all the great suggestions. It might take me a few days to work through all of them but I’ve got options now. Options are good.

If you’re on older hardware, like I am also, you might love this little program in the AUR named fsearch.

I’ve kept using it for years, and during startup it does a quick file-indexing (not content). It is way faster than catfish and others that I have tried out: