Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's Up With PCManFM2?

PCMan File ManagerImage via Wikipedia

PCManFM has been a popular replacement for the Nautilus file manager on the GNOME desktop because its light and fast, though still featureful enough to handle automatic mounting of hotplugged drives and other modern advantages. The file manager is probably best known for its placement in LXDE and, by extension, the new Lubuntu. I've written about and praised LXDE many times before for its ability to revive Win2000-era laptops.

Well, Hong Jen Yee has decided that several prominent bugs cannot be solved without a major rewrite of the file manager. He has chosen to break out the basic file management functions into a separate library in order to make embedding into other applications easy.

What are Hong Jen Yee's goals?

  1. Support glib/gio and gvfs but still keep the original performance and memory usage.
    I know many people don't believe this and think using gio/gvfs from gnome will make it slower and heavier. Indeed many program using gio/gvfs/gnome are slow, but trust me our PCManFM won't be one of them. Many people said that GTK+ programs are slow and not lightweight, but as you know, PCManFM already prooved that they are wrong.
  2. Seamless access to remote file systems such as sftp, smb, and ftp (provide by gvfs)
  3. Trash can support (provided by gvfs)
  4. Separate the core functionality to create an independent library named libfm for use in other desktop applications and make it a seperate project
  5. Better drag and drop handling and supports XDS (X direct save)
  6. Smaller code size and better structure
  7. Better compatibility with other programs (Due to use of glib/gio)
  8. Make best use of the new features provided in the latest gtk+
  9. Better desktop and volume management
  10. Use the file manager widgets provided in libfm to replace the default file dialogs in gtk+ by preload the lib with LD_PRELOAD
  11. Gvfs dependency is only optional. If the dependencies of gvfs is not acceptible, we would like to fork gvfs and provide a stripped down version without gnome dependency. (long term goal, low priority)
PCManFM version 2 is still under heavy development but is now available in the Alpha3 of Lubuntu, available now. You can try it out there. The final version should be out by the end of March, in time for a Lubuntu 10.04 release.

I'll put up a review of the file manager and LXDE desktop soon. Until then, see the screenshot from OMGUbuntu (link below under "related").



If PCManFM starts usig gvfs, i’m out!


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