When comparing Midnight Commander vs nnn, the Slant community recommends nnn for most people. In the question“What are the best Linux file managers?” nnn is ranked 1st while Midnight Commander is ranked 7th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Intuitive interface
Midnight commander uses the full screen of the terminal in a very efficient way. It displays two panels for files horizontally. On the bottom it has the most useful commands with their corresponding key attached. All of this makes for a very intuitive interface both for beginners and experienced users.
Pro Can be run in the terminal
Being a terminal application means that it's suited for people who spend most of their time on the terminal because they don't have to switch windows in order to open their file manager. It also means that they can use it both locally and remotely.
Pro Easy to use
Midnight commander is easy and intuitive to use. The most common commands are displayed in the bottom (move, copy, paste, delete, edit, view, make directory). Files can be selected with the arrow keys which move the cursor through them. The Enter key goes down in a directory. To move the focus between two panels the tab key is used.
Pro Often available in default repository
and hence easy to install by usually package manager.
Pro Lynx-like motion
Cursor+left to go to parent directory, cursor+right to go into child directory.
Pro Rich set of plugins
Pro Extremely lightweight (120 kb)
Pro Unique navigate-as-you-type mode
Pro Awesome new features being added in every release
Pro Minimal configuration with sane defaults
Default options and navigation is simple to grasp.
Pro Has a great wiki
Save and resume sessions.
Pro Supports cd-on-quit
Allows for quick switching between nnn and the terminal.
The file manager has recently added support for preview hovered files using various methods.
Pro Integrates with the desktop environment and opens files in the default applications
Pro Reasonably well-documented
However, it requires some prior knowledge of inner workings of Linux and there are no tutorials (yet). NNN author is making up for this by actively responding to GitHub issues.
Pro Customizable icons and colors
Con File viewer: searching can be quite cumbersome
Especially searching next or previous.
Con No directory bookmarks
Con No easy way to change colors matching certain files
There probably is a possibility, but it is not easy.
Con Quirky and hard to remember shortcuts
E.g. when trying to take the current directory's path to the command line.
Con Lacks drag and drop feature
With midnight commander you cannot drag and drop files to move them around. Instead, you have to do the necessary actions in order to move files around (cut and paste or copy and delete).
Con Can only be run in the terminal
MC lacks a standalone GUI option.