After using XFCE as my main desktop environment for over a month now, I've concluded that while it's mostly good, there is one aspect of it that needs much work.
It's Thunar. And it totally blows. Let me explain why;
For a start, it's unnecessary. XFCE is not, and never will be, as light weight as LXDE (see http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux_desktop_vitals&num=1 ). Therefore the argument that a new lightweight file manager needed to be written from scratch is ridiculous - What has resulted is a large amount of wasted effort to produce a file manager that is severely limited in its functionality. If a user needs a seriously lightweight system so badly that they are going to care about the file manager, they will use LXDE, not XFCE.
What should happen is the porting of Nautilus from Gnome 2.x, a much more fully featured file manager, and in my experience, not too heavy a footprint to warrant writing a new file manager. Unfortunately I can't, because installing Nautilus makes my Xubuntu system incredibly unstable, not to mention you need to remap every single menu item from the main panel.
So if we overlook the fact that Thunar shouldn't exist in the first place, we are slapped in the face with how fucking terrible it is at odd moments:
- The name is stupid. I understand like how like, totally like lame a name like “File Manager” is and like how awesome and cool like a Nose God Thunar is. But seriously did your twelve year old name is? To add further insult to the injury, the black and white logo from the about screen looks like it was cut and pasted from some geocities website:
- The main window is really ugly too:
Notice how the side pane extends the full height of the window, yet the navigation bar mysteriously starts at the top of the directory view pane? Why? It just looks odd. The navigation bar should be above the side pane and the directory view pane. And the navigation buttons are rounded, rather than arrows pointing into each other. This immediately doesn't make it obvious what you're looking at is a directory, and virtually every other linux file manager on the planet does the arrow layout. It's like the godamn hipster of file managers.
- There are no tabs. Seriously what is that like, 15 lines of code to implement? Come on.
- Wanna see the size of my folders brah?
That's right, you are literally seeing, the size of my folders. Not what's in them. How retarded is that? Why the hell would anyone EVER want to know the size of the actual folder rather than the size of it's contents. I can't even change it to something more useful like “number of items” because Thunar is so impoverished for functionality. Also how is a "/" 4.1 kB? That seems huge.
- Thunar is unable to remember the size and location of windows. Annoying.
- Thunar has virtually no support for removable media. You can mount/unmount and browse them, and that's pretty much all folks. You cannot format them, view or use any special permissions and half the time, you can't eject a mass storage device because something is still using it, despite Thunar giving you no clue what that something actually is. Also, certain removable media stays greyed out in unmounted mode on your desktop for weeks even after it has long been physically removed from your system.
- When you make an alias/link in Thunar, if you move the original file, The link no longer works.
- There's no “undo” option.
- There's no merge option
- Contrary to the “Linux philosophy”, an excuse given by my best friend whenever I moan about annoying I find many aspects of open source software, Thunar is almost Mac like in its inablity to be customised. Go ahead, open up the preferences menu and take a look for yourself.
- Thunar has extensions, of which exactly zero of which are desirable. All I want is drop box. Seriously.
And that's it for now, I have been compiling a list of what I found annoying over the last week, but it's mysteriously gone and Thunar has no menu for recently viewed documents. Urgh.