PCManFM 0.9.7 + libfm 0.1.12 (RC1)

The new file manager, next generation of PCManFM, is now entering RC1 (release candidate for 1.0).
Most of the bugs in pcmanfm bug tracker are cleared and the stability is quite good. As we are now in feature-freeze, no new features are added and this is a major bug fix release.
Please get it heavily tested. If you want to help the development, you can:

  1. Help the test and debugging. Please read this guide.
  2. Promotion, spread the word, and show off to your colleagues
  3. Help answering questions in our forum or forums of some Linux distros or just redirect them to this detailed guide.
  4. Donation is welcomed. My PayPal account is: pcman.tw@gmail.com

No new screenshot this time as this is a bug-fix release without any change in UI.
Some major changes are:

  1. The binary name is now changed back to pcmanfm since it’s stable enough for daily use and is ready to replace the old pcmanfm 0.5.x series. So packagers please be careful when packaging this since it cannot be co-exist with the old pcmanfm from now on.
  2. Resize of desktop when screen resolution is changed now works
  3. Mid-click on side-pane now open folders in new tabs
  4. Better compatibility with gtk+ 3
  5. Use “tab-new” icon for new tab tool button rather than “gtk-new”
  6. Fix several seg faults
  7. Fix some missing icons for desktop entry files (*.desktop)
  8. Merge directory contents correctly when pasting to an existing folders
  9. Fix auto-scroll during drag and drop in folder view
  10. Translation updates

The goal is to make a stable 1.0 release with production quality as soon as possible and deprecate 0.5 series. We’re in feature-freeze period so there won’t be new features added until 1.0 is released. My current plan is to make 2 ~ 3 RC release before the final stable release. I’ll make RC release when I fix most of the solvable problems. However, I won’t decide when to release final stable version myself this time.
I leave the decision regarding to when to make a 1.0 stable release to our package maintainers for ArchLinux, Debian, Fedora, SuSE, and Ubuntu and our translation coordinator. If all of them agree that the file manager is stable enough and there should be a 1.0 stable release, we can make one. If the quality doesn’t meet the requirements for a stable release, then I’ll keep fixing it until it’s suitable for production use.
This should ensure enough quality assurance for this major component of LXDE.

P.S. The new PCManFM can manage the desktop icons, but you need to start it with “pcmanfm –desktop”

Thank you all

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.

LXMusic 0.4.4 released

Most important changes include:

  • Use XMMS2 Collection API
  • Translation updates

By using Collection API, performance improved dramatically on large
play lists. Loading time for 3030 entries  reduced from 7 to 0.5 seconds on a Core 2 Duo T6500 system.

Please help to advance LXDE development and test releases, help with translations and update the wiki.


Lubuntu 10.04 Beta 2 is Released

The lead developer of Lubuntu, an Ubuntu variant featuring LXDE, Julien Lavergne just announced the availability of Lubuntu 10.04 Beta 2. Here is his release note on the mailing list:

The Lubuntu Lucid Beta 2 is now available. Don’t forget that it’s build
with Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) which is still in Beta state of development,
so same warnings :

“Pre-releases of Lucid are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable
system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even
frequent breakage.  They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu developers
and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing bugs.”

We passed Feature Freeze, that mean most of the features should now be
available. It’s now time for testing and fixing bugs.

== New stuff since Beta 1 ==
* Auto-login at install time
* Support encrypted home directory
* Up-to-date lxdm, libfm and pcmanfm2

== Specific Lubuntu changes ==
Lubuntu still contains modifications not available in the official
repository, you can see them in the Lubuntu PPA [1] :
- New pcmanfm2 and libfm (LP: #523433)
- lubuntu-default-settings with pcmanfm2 support
- Fix for blurry shutdown-icon from elementary-icons (LP: #527345)
- Autologin support in ubiquity (LP: #546445)
- New lxdm

== Testing needed ==
I’ll appreciate some feedbacks about the followings recent additions :
- pcmanfm2, the new filemanager, is still in beta state. Please report
bugs on
- The new lxdm may fixed some issue regarding the keyring and PAM
support, but it needs more tests.

== Known bugs ==
* If you test on a USB, the first screen will freeze for a moment when
you click on “Try Lubuntu …”. Just wait, it will continue as normal.
* See also https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lubuntu/SubTeams/TestingSubTeam

== Reporting bugs ==
Bug reported during testing :

If you want to create a bootable usb system, please use the usb creator
directly on Ubuntu.

Please follow the testing process described on this page :
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lubuntu/SubTeams/TestingSubTeam . You can also
report problems and bugs relative to the tests on this page.

Torrent: http://people.ubuntu.com/~gilir/lubuntu-lucid-beta2.iso.torrent
Download: http://people.ubuntu.com/~gilir/lubuntu-lucid-beta2.iso
MD5: http://people.ubuntu.com/~gilir/md5sum.txt

Julien Lavergne

[1] :  https://launchpad.net/~lubuntu-desktop/+archive/ppa


For those who haven’t try Lubuntu or LXDE, it’s a good chance to do it. The Lubuntu team did a great job to integrate LXDE and Ubuntu. This might be one of the best LXDE-based Ubuntu variant ever.
Kudos the Lubuntu team!

Important Updates for Google Summer of Code

Hi all potential students,

Since most of the previously proposed items are not suitable for Google SoC because they are not challenging enough, I rewrite the whole page and list some real projects which can be done for the whole summer. Some of previously proposed items are too easy and some can even be done within one week. Then students will get nothing to do later. Google summer of code need something of larger scale and they should be projects which spend your whole summer.

So here is the new idea list. For students who want to join LXDE GSoC, please read the page and send your application now. If what you want to do is not on the page, mail your idea to our mailing list and we’ll review your idea immediately.

This is the updated list:

Happy coding!

Make conky work with LXDE desktop manager.

It’s reported by many users that conky doesn’t work with desktop management provided by PCManFM. Personally I do not use Conky, but many of our users use it. I’ve been seeking for a solution for our users but didn’t find one. Recently I saw a blog post containing a screenshot with working conky + pcmanfm. So I mailed the author Dom and he shared his config file. I post it here in the hope that this can help our users. However, I’m not sure if it’s guaranteed to work. Try it yourself if you use conky.

This is from the blog: http://sixpack75.blogspot.com/2010/03/lubuntu-1004-der-erste-testrechner.html#comments

use_xft yes
xftfont Dejavu Sans:size=8
xftalpha 1
own_window yes
own_window_type normal
own_window_transparent yes
own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager
own_window_hints below
#update_interval 1.0
double_buffer yes
alignment top_right
gap_x 5
gap_y 18
maximum_width 190
#default_color white
update_interval 6
total_run_times 0

Google Summer of Code

Since LXDE is accepted as a mentoring organization, we’re preparing for the event.
Here are the current idea list and some guides on application for potential participants:
The idea list of LXDE for Google SoC 2010: http://wiki.lxde.org/en/Google_Summer_of_Code_2010
Except the items currently in the idea list, it will even be better if students can have their own proposals for new projects, such as some new components for LXDE. The idea list is just a place for ideas, but students are not constrained by those ideas. Feel free to have your own ideas for LXDE. If you have better ideas, don’t hesitate. Write a proposal now!
Students can submit their applications via the Google Summer of Code 2010 site from March 29 – April 9, 2010. Before submitting your applications, it’s good to discuss in mailing list with us and please read the guides provided in above links first.
Hope that developers/students interested in LXDE development can join us! Let’s make desktop experience smoother together!

LXPolkit – Simple policykit authentication agent.

Generally when one needs to use policykit, he or she needs to install policykit-gnome. Now we have our own. A new component LXPolkit was added. It’s minimal policykit authentication agent.

Here is a screenshot:

LXPolkit screenshot

To test it, grab the source code from git.
git clone git://lxde.git.sourceforge.net/gitroot/lxde/lxpolkit

After translations get updated and it has been better tested, there will soon be a tarball release.


Standard LXDE project template containing a good set of automake/autoconf/gettext rules

For the upcoming Google Soc, I just created a standard LXDE project template. This template can be used as skeleton of future LXDE projects.

It’s here:
Online browsing or download latest snapshot:
The following command should help you get it from git.
git clone git://----escape_autolink_uri:ea2deaab94ee74bcac743b0eca388170----

Currently this template contains:
1. Our project standard autogen.sh
2. A basic configure.ac getting gtk+ and gettext configured.
3. proper Makfile.am to build *.c and to install data files
4. Gettext/intltool integration
5. Handling of glade/ui files installation and optimization
6. An about dialog data/ui/about.glade.in automatically updates its
version number everytime.
7. Automatically generate po/LINGUAS from the result of `ls po/*.po`
so you don’t have to maintain a list of available languages and this
can work nicely with online translation service.

This should save quite a lot of time when creating new project.

Please consider making use of this standard template when creating new
projects for LXDE.

Cheers and happy hacking!