A few months ago, I had tripped upon a post in Ubuntu’s forums that the PCMan file browser was restarting development and became a bit curious. A year or two ago there have been postings that I had seen in the Gentoo forums about how good a lightweight file browser it was. Then yesterday, I saw that Tombuntu had an overview of the new PCMan and then I just happened to see an ebuild made for it. So I decided to give it a try.
Currently, I use the brute horse (Nautilus) for file browsing. Nautilus is a really good browser but on this old klunker it cold-starts in 15 seconds and warm-starts in five and it would be nice if I could find something quicker. Before, I have replaced Nautilus with Thunar as the default browser, but Nautilus caught up a lot in speed when I removed the Enlightenment Sound Daemon as a variable, and frankly I had just become too lazy to change it back when I updated to Gnome 2.22.
The ebuild compiled PCMan painlessly – thanks George for the update. For the ebuild UsE flags, I built with and without the ‘desktop’ flag. The ebuild notes the desktop flag as ‘desktop integration’ but I didn’t notice a difference either way. Perhaps it is for desktop-less installs (fluxbox,…). The ‘fam’ flag is necessary for file monitoring support, it works in conjunction with gamin which is already built along with Gnome. Also, I took out the confirm delete patch as PCMan-4 has a confirm dialog when deleting a file/folder (I’m guessing the patch was for PCMan-3.*).
I found PCMan’s menu entry in ‘System Tools’ and loaded PCMan. PCMan cold-started in about 5 seconds.
Beginning thoughts: I liked PCMan. First, PCMan recognized my GTK and icon theme and also recognized the bookmarks I previously made in Nautilus. Big pluses. PCMan feels alot like Nautilus which is great because I am used to Nautilus’s behavior. The response time was nice as well (changing from one folder to the next took about one second). Picture previews are a must for me and PCMan did that just fine. PCMan also has tabbed browsing. I heard about this coming to Nautilus 2.24 and I like the thought of it. PCMan has the ability to drag between tabs and the ability to reorder tabs, very nice.
Ubuntugeek has a post that will launch PCMan for folder’s in the Place’s Listing in the Gnome Menu. I could probably use the Thunar script I previously used and link /usr/bin/nautilus to make PCman my default browser but I don’t feel like doing the work – be lost on the next update anyhow. Besides, I want to keep Nautilus as my desktop browser because it does a damn good job at it. For now I’m going to keep using PCMan and be content on opening folders on the desktop by right-clicking them and choosing PCMan. Lightweight desktops should think about giving PCMan a try.