Category Archives: Development

Finally, Directory Tree is Back!

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Directory tree demo

The directory tree is not yet added to PCManFM itself. This screenshot is the demo program included in libfm. A very primitive directory tree is finished. Later I’ll add this to PCManFM.

Many people are curious about this feature since it used to be available in old PCManFM 0.5 series, but why it’s not implemented in the new series?

  1. We want a better one which supports asynchronous I/O and does not block the UI.
  2. It supports gio. So later we may add remote filesystem supports to it.
  3. It might run faster than the old one
  4. The source code is cleaner and more well-structured
  5. The “<Empty>” items look weird and less elegant, but detecting whether a folder contains sub folders and keeping all the nodes updated in real time requires much more resources since you have monitor all of them one by one. On Linux it’s not an issue since inotify supports monioring of tons of files. On other POSIX systems, this can potentially use up all file descriptors available to a process. So, finally I do it like this way.

Please, stay tuned. I’ll put this in PCManFM soon.

Status Update for the File Manager

OK, it’s time to tell the world what we’re doing to the file manager Here is a status report for PCManFM.

  1. Several bugs are fixed, and others are not. I’m currently working on fixing them.
  2. Directory tree will be available from side pane again in next release. I have finished 50% of the feature and hope that I can make it in the following weeks
  3. Tabs now takes less space when showing filenames that are too long.
  4. The location bar is re-written. Now auto-completion for directory paths works more correctly.
  5. I have implemented a simple button-style path bar recently, but to add it to PCManFM, some changes to the UI are needed so this might not be available yet in the next release.
  6. Integration with lxshortcut is planned. So you can create new application shortcut on the desktop easier, but this is not yet implemented.
  7. Status messages are now more correct and human readable.
  8. Some code cleanup was done to make the source code more readable to future contributors.
  9. While fixing bugs of PCManFM, I found a severe bug in udisks regarding to CD-ROM polling. This bug leaves the filesystem on CD-ROM mounted even after the media has been removed via pressing physical eject button on the device. I made a patch for it, but upstream authors did not accept the patch. They came up with a new solution utilizing the latest in-kernel polling provided by Linux kernel and did some fixes themselves. So in the near future, this bug will be resolved anyways.

So these are basically what I’m doing on the file manager recently. Please help if you can. Thanks a lot.

Transifex is out

Effective immediately we have stopped using for translating LXDE components. All translators and prospective translators inside the LXDE project have been informed about this move via the platform itself. We have removed the possibility to submit strings in the tool but unfortunately for people who have submitted stirngs there in spite of the earlier warnings we can not recover the strings. If you have done work and the file appears more complete in Tx than in git/pootle please contact the lxde-i18n mailinglist to get advice on how to proceed.

It’s sad to be forced down this path but as with every decision there is a rollback option. If the time changes we might consider to use again in the future. This is however way out of schedule by now.

Thanks everyone using Tx to do translations for LXDE – it’s been valuable and we hope you will switch to use Pootle instead (as upload service or as a online tool).

Thank you Transifex developers, we do know you a great guys doing a great deal of work but the connection between the projects just weren’t there for the time being. If you make changes that we might benefit from we love to here from you again!

Will LXDE continue to use

We’ve dropped transifex by now.


The recent weeks have been interesting in the world of online translation management as Transifex got promoted to 1.0. As we are one of the project using the hosted service at since almost a year now it was with both joy and disappointment we read the changelog. While bringing many nice features and awesome changes it also dropped the key advantage feature and the real killer, direct integration with VCS (in our case git at

For the time being we can not guarantee that changes made in LXDE translation files at will be integrated in the main LXDE component code. The general rule of thumb is to not use to do updates to LXDE components until further notice because the risk of changes being in conflict it might make your changes corrupt. We still have the Pootle server running and as long as nothing changes there it is a good way of doing the translations. For a limited time period we will also accept changes via e-mail, send a message to the LXDE i18n mailinglist to get this sorted out for you.

We will try to get going again. There is a possibility that we will fail and decide to not support it.
Either way we will state that here at the blog and in the LXDE i18n mailing list so just check back here in some days.

LXDE Buildbot!

A way to strengthen the qualityof your software is to test it as fast as possible with the needed code. For this purpose I just launched a buildbot master and slave running Debian testing. It is not automatically run against the code yet but I will include that functionality in the future. Having a buildbot that doesn’t build is not much worth =)

For the time being one can force a build from the web interface (given the right credentials and so on. just ask…), the code is update in CEST: 01 05 08 12 16 20. I would like to have more systems running as slaves to make the testing broader. I have some ideas on how to do it but nothing firm yet. First thing is to get it to autobuild on updates to the source tree. That and making LXMusic build, there is some dependecy problem floating around.

Desktop icons are now freely movable!

I just merged the latest movable desktop icon support to master branch.
So now it’s available in git repository. If you’re installing from git you’ll get it.

There are still some usability issues, but it mostly works quite well.
After two years, finally we have movable desktop icons. Really thank you all for the patience.

To test the latest source code and help debug, please follow this guide:


Desktop icons of PCManFM becomes movable!

I just did very primitive partial support for moving desktop icons.
Let’s see a screenshot.
Now the position of icons can be saved and restored, but there are sitll some bugs. As a proof of concept, however, it works already.
For the interested, the source code is in “move_icon” branch of our git repo.
So the desktop icons will become movable in version 0.9.8, finally.
Now PCManFM is much closer to a final stable release. This can become one of the best lightweight file manager ever. If you’re a programmer who is familiar with C language and GTK+ and want to help, please contact me. Help is needed! Or if you’re not coders but still want to contribute, my PayPal account is “”. (Special thanks to Mihai Militaru and Seth Smar who did donations to support the development!)

New Mailing List lxde-i18n for translators

In the past we used <> to coordinate translation work for LXDE. This mailing list server, however, suffers from unexpected downtime sometimes recently and has some maintaince issues. To eliminate the maintaince load and provide more stable service, we’re moving to a new mailing list hosted on after some discussions. Since all other LXDE-related mailing lists are all on, it’s quite natural to do so for translations as well.

Address of the new mailing list is: <>
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please go to:

Current and potential future translators of LXDE, if you see this message, please subscibe to the new mailing list instead. We already start using the new mailing list to coordinate translation work. The traffic of the list is low and we call for translations when a new release is being planned. The lxde-i18n list is specifically used for translation and related discussions only. General development issues are discussed using the “lxde-list” mailing list.

Some new releases of LXDE components are now being planned. So let’s do it!

LXAppearance – OpenBox Integration is Finished!

Since LXAppearance now supports plugins, it’s possible to add new features to it with third party plugins. Today I ported the GUI configuration tool for OpenBox obconf to LXAppearance. Now a plugin for seamless OpenBox integration is available.

A picture is worth a thousand words:

No additional dependencies are added to LXAppearance. You get this “Window Border” page and the openbox support only when the plugin is installed. In addition, the plugin won’t be loaded if openbox is not in use. Perfect!

The source code is here for the brave:;a=summary

Note: Ubuntu 10.04 users cannot get this correctly compiled and linked due to a bug of Ubuntu 10.04. The bug will be fixed in Ubuntu 10.10. So don’t bug report to me if it doesn’t compile/link on Ubuntu 10.04. That’s normal.