A Walk with PCMan

A Walk with PCManA 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.

Pic PCMan boot

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.

A Walk with PCMan

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.

About Todd Partridge (Gently)

Good times, good people, good fun.

Posted on 2008-06-02, in Linux. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. What font are you using in those screenshots?

  2. i also would like to know the name of the theme icon :)

  3. Brian the font is… Candaras?? It’s part of the MS font pack. I’m at work but I’m pretty sure that’s it. The fonts can be installed pretty easily:



    the theme is Buff Duece:


  4. Some tips:
    1. “pcmanfm -d” can make it stay in memory. So next time you’ll get it showing up in one sec.

    2. desktop integration means, it does desktop icons. Not very good, but generally enough. Try it because its very fast.

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