File Management Software that uses extended metadata

I manage photos using exif tags and digiKam. I have looked unsuccessfully for a similar facility for managing other types of files. I am aware of document management software like Sharepoint (I know it is from MS and it is evil, but it is just an illustration) and others, but such things are more complex than I would like.

I see that Caja appears to support searching based on tags, but I have not found how to add tags to a .txt file (for example) in a way that Caja “sees.” I have tried “notes” and “extended attributes” in file properties.

In lieu of using metadata embedded in files, an application that uses a database similar to digiKam would be fine.

Probably this is a complicated issue because of all of the different file types, but I thought that I’d see if anyone can suggest an existing tool that would come close.

Thanks for considering this.

Disclaimer: I’m not using extended attributes. But I did a little searching, and offer a couple of possibilities:

It appears that while extended attributes are enabled in the default kernel, they are not a default mount option in Ubuntu. Did you mount the pertinent partitions with the “user_xattr” option in /etc/fstab?

The tools (getfattr and setfattr) to manipulate extended attributes are in the “attr” package, which is not installed in my default 18.04 LTS, so you may need to install this package. There is also an “xattr” package. Not sure of the difference; one may already be a dependency of the other.

However, caja, on my default installation, does have the packages “caja-xattr-tags” and “caja-eiciel” which are used to manipulate xattrs. You might check to see if they are present.

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the response. It was helpful and I have tried some things . . .

  • installed the attr and xattr packages, which had not been installed
  • checked the “caja-xattr-tags” and “caja-eiciel” packages. (They were installed and perhaps this is why I was able to enter a tag and associated value.)

After installing the missing packages & restarting, I tried again to search using tags, but the results were the same.

The one thing that I did not do was to make the fstab change to add “user_xattr” to the (root) partition. - I am a little afraid of changing the mount of root as I am pretty green at this. So, for now, I’m going to wait for a little more courage and preparation before venturing farther. (BTW, I’m using an up to date install of Ubuntu-Mate 18.04.)

Again, thanks very much.

I understand your concern.

With the caja packages installed, caja would have the capability to see and edit extended attributes. However without user_xattr as a mount option, the underlying ext4 file system will not feed the attributes to caja. —so it won’t work. My understanding is that user_xattr is the default in Debian and some other distros, but is not the default in Ubuntu.

I don’t know how your disk and filesystem is partitioned–you would only need to enable the user_xattr mount option on the partition which contains the data you want extended attributes on. Many people put at least /home, /tmp, and sometimes /usr or /usr/local on separate partitions from root for various reasons. If you are all on one partition, you would, indeed, have to change the mount on root; if /home is a separate partition, you need only enable it on /home–you should be putting all of your user data in /home/ somewhere.

Your explanation makes sense and explains what I have seen.

I currently have a single partition, so my plan is to separate out /home as you mention into a separate partition, to which I can then apply the correct configuration. I will likely do a “nuke and pave” by the end of the year and will incorporate this into the effort.

Thanks for your help!

Sorry for reviving this ancient thread. I've been looking for similar info, and I wanted to ask if there is anything similar to caja packages.

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It can definitely be a challenge to find a tool that meets specific requirements. I personally use digiKam for managing my photos with its great support for exif tags. However, I haven't come across a similar solution for managing other file types.
I did some digging and found that Caja, the file manager in Ubuntu, does support searching based on tags. To add tags to non-image files like .txt, you might want to check if you have the ""caja-xattr-tags"" and ""caja-eiciel"" packages installed. They should help you manipulate extended attributes and add tags to different file types within Caja.
Alternatively, you could explore tools like ""getfattr"" and ""setfattr"" from the ""attr"" package, which allow you to manipulate extended attributes. It might be worth checking if the package is already installed or if you need to install it separately.
Also, I recently discovered the Planfix system, a project management system that might help organize different types of files using extended metadata.

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