9 Best File Comparison and Difference (Diff) Tools for Linux

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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18 Responses

  1. Henry says:

    I’ve been using BeyondCompare for years and although it’s not free so once in a while I venture off and try other diff tools, I always come back to BeyondCompare for its strong feature set and overall well thought out design. It basically does everything well to very well.
    Some things off the top of my head:

    • smart diffing algorithm
    • subjectively simple and well thought out color/highlighting that’s easy on the eyes
    • diffs and merges just about everything I can think of including text files, binary files, directories, BMPs / images, etc.
    • useful report features such as generate diff report to PDF or HTML
    • good integration with RCS / Version Control tools
    • good command line features
    • good support
  2. Don says:

    I use Double Commander. Its technically a file manager but the built-in file/directory sync is amazing.

  3. John says:

    Not sure whether this fits the criteria because it’s an online tool, but it’s a very handy utility for small code snippets: http://linediff.com/ – you can take two snippets of code, diff them and it’s render a nice github like html page that you can then share with coworkers.

    • Ravi Saive says:

      @John,

      Thanks for sharing, its really nice online tool for comparing difference between two files, I think it should make it to this list..I ask author to add this tool to this article..

  4. Alan Schmidt says:

    Unfortunately, directory comparison in “kompare” has been broken since 2010 (see: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=257558) if (1) any of the files in one directory is missing in the other, or (2) if there is a binary file in either directory.

    It will still display differences in these cases, but will not allow you to save any merges.

  5. David Pérez says:

    I also use kdiff3

  6. Stephane says:

    There is also TkDiff ( https://sourceforge.net/projects/tkdiff/ ).

    For me, its main advantage is that it is composed of a single executable Tcl/Tk script file that can easily be installed by a regular user on any system where the tlc and tk libs are available.

    On Debian based system, tkdiff can be bound in the package tkcvs

  7. abc says:

    I use kdiff3 (http://kdiff3.sourceforge.net/) which can compare three files (or directory trees) and has a nice interface for merging

  8. Diarmuid O'Briain says:

    You forgot to mention ‘diffpdf’ which compares two PDF files textually or visually.

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