It appears the gnome-search-tool is not available in Bionic. On https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/bionic/amd64/gnome-search-tool/3.6.0-2 it says status Deleted.

I've downloaded the deb from Wily Proposed repo and installed that on Bionic and it works just fine.

So why has it been removed? And what are good alternatives, specially if you want a GUI to search for strings (or regex?) inside file content not just file names?

  • To grep all files for a strings (or regex) in a few minutes instead of 53 hours from the CLI see this Q&A: askubuntu.com/questions/1005437/… It's not what you are looking for because a GUI front end using zenity or yad would need to be put into a bash script. Commented May 7, 2018 at 10:55
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    Try recoll. It's in Bionic.
    – DK Bose
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 11:19
  • It says in the publishing history that it was removed upstream in Debian because of "unmaintained limited usefulness". I suggest that the part about alternatives be split off into a different question or made the main question, since the reason for removal is of little utility and has no bearing upon recommendations for alternatives.
    – muru
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 13:56
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    Or better yet: askubuntu.com/q/198110/158442
    – muru
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 14:02
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    Wow... "unmaintained limited usefulness"? It seems to me to be the best default/starter GUI out there simple interface, relatively powerful search. Recoll seems a bit (way!) too complicated for beginners. Ah well... I'll have to teach my mother to use the command line then :(
    – user17254
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


It was removed for being unmaintained, but you can use mate-search-tool instead which is available from the repository and is exactly the same thing.

sudo apt install mate-utils

As an alternative you can use searchmonkey which performs the same task.

I've been using it for awhile now and I like it a lot better because it will show you a preview of how your search phrase is used in each file allowing you to quickly scroll though the resulting files without having to manually open each one up.

As a side note, if you're searching the entire filesystem, searchmonkey gets lost in /proc and takes forever. To solve this I use the find command with -xdev to search only real files in the current filesystem like so:

find / -xdev -type f -print0 | xargs -r0 grep -Hi 'your search string here'
  • searchmonkey is much slower on my system. Is that your experience as well?
    – JoshuaD
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 0:44
  • @JoshuaD I haven't had any issues with it. Can you elaborate on what slows it down? Searching through large sized files for text? Searching through large numbers of files? Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 4:39
  • I pointed both of them at a disk and asked them to search for a string in a filename. gnome-search-tool finished in a few seconds. I closed search monkey after it searched for a bit (20s?) and still was searching and didn't yet find anything.
    – JoshuaD
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 5:33
  • For me searchmonkey yields inconsistent results (misses files), mate-searchtool is much faster and finds everything.
    – Yrogirg
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 3:41
  • @Yrogirg Can you reproduce the problem consistently? If so, you can file a bug here: sourceforge.net/p/searchmonkey/bugs Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 22:52

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