Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently found the following gvfs commands :

gvfs-cat (1)         - Concatenate files
gvfs-copy (1)        - Copy files
gvfs-info (1)        - Show information about files
gvfs-ls (1)          - List files
gvfs-mime (1)        - Get or set mime handlers
gvfs-mkdir (1)       - Create directories
gvfs-monitor-dir (1) - Monitor directories for changes              
gvfs-monitor-file (1) - Monitor files for changes
gvfs-mount (1)       - Mounts the locations
gvfs-move (1)        - Copy files
gvfs-open (1)        - Open files with the default handler
gvfs-rename (1)      - Rename a file
gvfs-rm (1)          - Delete files
gvfs-save (1)        - Save standard input
gvfs-set-attribute (1) - Set file attributes
gvfs-trash (1)       - Move files or directories to the trash
gvfs-tree (1)        - List contents of directories in a tree-like format

Now, how do these differ by the common commands like cat, cp, mkdir, etc.

In other words what is the difference between the following commands respectively:

  • cat and gvfs-cat
  • cp and gvfs-copy
  • mkdir and gvfs-mkdir etc. and so on.

or what for gvfs-* commands stands for?

share|improve this question
up vote 13 down vote accepted

gvfs-... type commands can process remote locations based on a url.

From man gvfs-cat:

gvfs-cat works just like the traditional cat utility, but using gvfs locations instead of local files: for example you can use something like smb://server/resource/file.txt as location.

For instance

You can use gvfs-cat to do the following:

gvfs-cat smb://server/resource/file.txt

But cat can only be used to do this:

$ cat /path/to/some/file.txt

cat can only access local files, making it useful for local drive lookups. gvfs-cat is used for remote lookups with a valid GVFS url.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.