Updated roadmap of new PCManFM

As the development of next generation PCManFM continues, there are many questions from the community and there is even some FUD regarding to comparison with previous 0.5 series. It’s time to have an more clear and updated roadmap.

  1. Volume management: Currently, gvfs is used for this, but this dependency is temporary and it will be changed later and be based on Udisks + udev directly if possible.  Then we won’t have to rely on gvfs for volume management. The reasons to use gvfs now are as follows:
    1. Recently upstream author of HAL has dropped it and it will be removed from Linux later.
    2. Its author develops udisks and is going to replace HAL with it.
    3. Udisks force the use of PolicyKit, which is one of the new emerging standards
    4. Much has been changed greatly in Linux desktop and old programs are broken due to these incompatible changes done by upstream maintainers. PCManFM is one of the victims of these incompabilities.
    5. There are at least four to five different ways to manage volumes on Linux and all of them are not compatible with each other. So, no matter what you do, you cannot get a properly working program without quite a lot of workarounds. Since “they” are the ones breaking the compatibility, they should be responsible for fixing this mess. So, let them do the dirty work.

    Now, there is a stable release of udisks. So maybe it’s time to write udisks-based volume management, but I’m not sure if doing this will cause incompatibility with programs relying on gvfs.

  2. File searching utility needs to be re-design and rewritten, too.
    1. The old one is actually broken and there are many limitations and bugs.
    2. With the new design of libfm, there exists much more possibilities then before so it deserves a rewrite.
    3. Remote files should be supported as well
    4. Before I come up with a good enough new design, there won’t be file searching utility in PCManFM, but I promise there will be once later.
  3. Desktop icon management
    1. After dnd problems are all fixed, I’ll try to finish custom icon sizes. (make icons movable)
    2. Need to find a good way to add some icons to the desktop, such as “Computer”, “Documents”, and mounted volumes.
  4. Thumbnails
    1. Support external thumbnailers. This is quite easy, but the problem is, for gnome, thumbnailers are registered in gconf. If we want to read thumbnailers from gnome, this can drag in gconf dependencies, which I don’t like. However, asking the users to manually add thumbnailers is a very poor UI design and this is against the principle of PCManFM. So I need to think more.
  5. Customization
    1. Columns shown in detailed list view should allow customization
    2. More UI customization options arranged in a logical way
    3. Support adding custom tools to “Tool” menu.
  6. Custom actions
    1. Adding custom actions to the file manager is one of the LXDE Google SoC 2010 project. Let’s see if the student will make it.
  7. May try to add two-pane support if I have enough spare time.
  8. May try to make PCManFM work properly in multi-monitor environments if someone can donate a second monitor to me or donate money to me to get a new monitor.
  9. Loadable plugins. This is planned, but how to implement this still more thoughts.

Here are current plans for PCManFM 2.0. I’ll post updates of the progress on this blog. Please stay tunned and don’t spread FUD. This will be a great manager once finished but since it’s half-done at this moment, don’t expect too much.