Have trouble with PCManFM 0.9.x? Read this FAQ!

After the release of the so-called RC1 (actually 0.9.7) of PCManFM, I got some bug reports, which are not bugs.
Please, read this document before you submitting a bug report. At least packagers need to read this before packaging. Otherwise you’ll end up with something that never works. This guide is very complete and it contains information enough for you to build it from source, get it running or packaged, and even to debug it.

Most of the problems are caused by missing or malfunction of gvfs caused by incorrect installation or configuration.

Here is a list the most important FAQs:

  1. Voume mounting or trash is not supported? Make sure you have properly working gvfs. Read the preceding guide to fix it.
  2. Why use gvfs? I think this is well explained in my previous post. I say it again. Gvfs is optional. PCManFM will work well without gvfs. So stop spreading the FUD that pcmanfm becomes gnome-dependent.
  3. Where is tree view? I want to redesign this and get it implemented in a better way. Due to some limitations of UNIX-like systems, file monitoring can be a problem and it’s a limited system resource. So to keep the dir tree up-to-date and sync with the filesystem, it requires very careful design. I need to think it more and get it well done for the rewrite. So in 1.0, tree view is temporarily removed. In 1.x series I’ll add it again when it’s ready.
  4. What? PCManFM2 doesn’t manage desktop? It sucks!¬† Yes, it does but you forgot RTFM. The command line used to lauch desktop manager is now: pcmanfm –desktop
  5. How to access the configuration dialog of desktop manager? Did the author forget this? It sucks. Well, I thought about this for some time and found it better to leave desktop configuration in a separate dialog specifically designed for desktop management options. Now to access it, right click on pcmanfm managed desktop and choose “Properties”, just like what you do in Windows. Or, you can use this command (can be called from openbox menu, for example): pcmanfm –desktop-pref
  6. If you see no icons, make sure¬† you have a properly installed freedesktop.org compliant icon theme. If you don’t know which to use, download lxde-icon-theme from http://sf.net/projects/lxde/
  7. If you still see no icons, and you’re using gtk+ ourside any desktop environment, make sure you specified “gtk-icon-theme-name” in ~/.gtkrc or just use tools like lxappearance to set a proper icon theme.

If you find someone in some internet forum who asked questions about PCManFM, please be kind and refer him/her to this guide. If any errors are found in this guide or you think any important topic is not covered, feel free to mail me and I’ll update it.


5 Replies to “Have trouble with PCManFM 0.9.x? Read this FAQ!”

  1. Having a set of features that most won’t want to do without, that relies on an optional gnome dependency, makes it gnome-dependent in my book.

    How about you don’t use gvfs. Hell, I thought that’s what you were doing with libfm?

  2. I read TFM. The current pcmanfm man page in debian sid mentions no options:
    pcmanfm -d
    is not the same as
    pcmanfm -desktop
    is not the same as
    pcmanfm –desktop
    Only the last one works.
    My /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart
    used the first one.
    So, I found out about other ways to get a wallpaper [ eg with nitrogen –restore ] and the wonders of openbox menus.

  3. Thanks for a great environment – I love LXDE, especially with PCManFM 0.9.7. Using gvfs makes sense to me, as repeatedly stated it’s *optional* so nobody’s forcing you to have gnome installed [gconf… shudder… ]

    My biggest gripes with PCManFM are the (IMHO) poor multi-monitor handling and desktop icon management; but I prefer these drawbacks to other environments with all the attendant bloat! Arguably, the desktop semantics shouldn’t be managed by the FM anyway and I’m just lazy wanting it.

  4. pcmanfm –help-all
    pcmanfm [OPTION…] [FILE1, FILE2,…]

    Help Options:
    -h, –help Show help options
    –help-all Show all help options
    –help-gtk Show GTK+ Options

    GTK+ Options
    –class=CLASS Program class as used by the window manager
    –name=NAME Program name as used by the window manager
    –screen=SCREEN X screen to use
    –sync Make X calls synchronous
    –gtk-module=MODULES Load additional GTK+ modules
    –g-fatal-warnings Make all warnings fatal

    Application Options:
    -p, –profile= Name of configuration profile
    –desktop Launch desktop manager
    –desktop-off Turn off desktop manager if it’s running
    -d, –daemon-mode Run PCManFM as a daemon
    –desktop-pref Open desktop preference dialog
    -w, –set-wallpaper= Set desktop wallpaper
    –wallpaper-mode= Set mode of desktop wallpaper. =(color|stretch|fit|center|tile)
    –show-pref=n Open preference dialog. ‘n’ is number of the page you want to show (1, 2, 3…).
    –no-desktop No function. Just to be compatible with nautilus
    –display=DISPLAY X display to use

  5. I had the same problem here. The last LXDE upgrade in Sid totally screwed up EVERYTHING! I was able to get the desktop set back to how I originally had it. However, when using pcmanfm, all of my folders AND files are completely out of order. I have tried the various sorting options, but NOTHING will put them BACK in alphabetical order. As a result, it takes me FOREVER to find whatever folder or file I need. All of my pcmanfm bookmarks are also gone.

    This is a shame. I have my 75 year old mom on LXDE on Lenny, but I know I will have to move her off of it when Debian moves to Squeeze. I am ditching LXDE because it is no longer usable. I will move back to KDE, which I have so far avoided throughout the entire 4.x series. The recent versions do not have the issues the earlier versions suffered. If I have any issues with KDE, I will opt for openbox and rox. I am done with LXDE. It simply is no longer usable and the posted FAQ has no information whatsoever as far as how to re-alphabetize files and folders, nor does it contain information on how to regain lost pcmanfm bookmarks. I also can no longer access my USB flash drive in the new LXDE. And the ‘Applications’ link in pcmanfm does not follow my custom LXDE menus. This is clearly a case of taking something that was totally usable and changing it too many steps too far. I am done with LXDE.

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