Xfce and Thunar rants

For quite some time now, the movie “Lovers of Six Years” has been sitting on my hard disk, with a view towards a possible screening if I ever booted into windows, because the official (and for that matter, many others that I downloaded) subtitle file (the one by Noir) was lagging. And mplayer didn’t work because apparently there is no Xvideo support for my video card :(.

So I set the video out to X11, and adjusted the subtitle file. In case anyone wants to know about it, +26700ms will fix the official Noir subtitle file.

Oh, and I tried KDE in the meantime, thinking that may be I should give the whole with-more-configurablity-comes-more-power thing a try. To be honest, I dumped KDE after logging into it only once, so this is not some serious criticism of KDE. It was so frigging slow that I knew I was never going to use it, so I made the decision without wasting any more time. And I have a P4 SSE3 processor with 1GB ram, so it’s not exactly a very slow machine.

KDE was not terminally slow though, and I guess those who want the power have to put up with it. For my part, I am happy with Xfce, which is lightning fast compared to KDE. Now I am thinking in the other direction, Fvwm. The question to be settled is, with the amount of usability I am going to sacrifice up front, will there be any significant performance boost?!

Can anyone give me some pointers comparing all these -wm variants (Fvwm, Icewm, etc etc)? I can google too, but I wanted to hear from someone who has actually used them and faced the issues.

And given someone like me who needs to peddle so many large files, the one complain I have about Thunar in Xfce is the recycle bin. Recycle bins have always been shitty in Linux, whereas Windows had it right from the beginning more or less. But Thunar takes the incompetence to another level entirely! While deleting, it copies everything to the home trash folder! I can add a few custom actions to make life easier, but I want trashing to “top directories,” which is what Gnome and KDE and Windows and every other sensible desktop does.

The release note of Thunar 0.8.0 says that they have fixed this issue (I am using 0.9.0), making Thunar the second desktop ever to fully comply with the “Desktop Trash Can Specification,” but it doesn’t seem to be the default behaviour, so I hold them responsible anyway :). And given the poor documentation they have, I suspect it is going to take time to figure out how to change this behaviour!

So custom actions are nice, but they lack the breadth of nautilus scripts back in gnome (obviously because gnome has a larger user base). I would love to be able to right click on an iso file and select a script which will mount the image to a folder inside /media (for the windows users – this is almost the same thing as creating a virtual cd drive and mounting an image file, minus the pirated softwares and superfluous clicks). I’ll take Anshul’s usual advices in such matters and one of these days I’ll stop whining about the missing features and get down to implementing them myself.

(For the gnome users – try g-scripts. It has been a while since I used gnome, but I think the script I talked about above is the mount_loopback one under File System Management (the obvious guess :)). In fact, I don’t even remember if I used this set of scripts back then! And here is another plea for help – does anyone remember the option for nero image files (like iso9660 for iso images)? It think it was something like type2***, and I had to google a lot to find it last time!)

In the meantime, I would like to hear from other Xfce users. And anyone else who has anything to say about it. :)

Going to watch “Lover of Six Years” now. :)

The windows boot freezes while trying to load mup.sys driver, which is the last safely loaded driver! The problem is, it doesn’t say the name of the culprit driver! There are at least two sources suggesting two different drivers responsible for this, and I think I’ll go by Microsoft assuming that the display drivers for my monitor are broken and try to load the default one. :)


Incorrigible Introvert

I wouldn't pretend I have a worthy tale to tell, I have only the ramifications of a twisted mind to sell.
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2 Responses to Xfce and Thunar rants

  1. Just out of curiosity, which version of KDE did you try? I’ve been using 3.5 for a long time, and that has been stable, fast and comfortable. A few months ago, I upgraded to KDE 4, didn’t like it all that much and subsequently switched to XFCE.

    XFCE seems pretty good so far. I’ve tried Fluxbox, but there was way too much configuration required before I could have a usable environment. Most of the problems I’ve faced with XFCE have been pretty trivial. (As far as trash is concerned, I’ve never cared – shift+delete does the trick.) What do you use Nautilus/Thunar scripts for?? It’s more convenient to use the shell for almost everything. Here’s what I call comfort -
    * Mutt for email, with a little bit of config hacking in the beginning, keyboard shortcuts to start it up, and a mail checker applet running in the background
    * Audacious for music, again with global shortcuts to do most tasks
    * Pidgin for IM
    * irssi or xchat for IRC
    * zsh as the default shell (way better than bash)
    * compiz-fusion for some great utilities that improve productivity (and also desktop effects, if you are so inclined)
    BTW, XFCE 4.6 is coming out in a month or so.

  2. I tried KDE 4.x, whatever the latest version was at the time of writing the post.

    Whatever little experience I have had before that, it was with Gnome (I hadn’t been a power user or anything).

    And yes, shift+delete does the trick, but it erases the file entirely. But I am used to trashing to top directories, which somehow seems to be absent in spite of the promise made in the documentation!

    The Nautilus/Thunar scripts are useful for the odd tasks that you really don’t do that often to remember them well. Say you want to convert a cue/bin image to iso and mount it in some folder. The terminal is the ideal way of doing it, but I guess I’m lazy and I prefer right-clicking and selecting the script which’ll do the job for me :). And so on. And no, my excuse of laziness is not a defence against the shell, I actually do think that using the terminal is more useful, if not faster!

    Compiz and Pidgin are indispensable. :) I am waiting for the new XFCE too, they need to improve the usability of the desktop.

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