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Re: [K12OSN] lightweight file manager?

This is a somewhat long-winded assessment of idesk:

I installed idesk and icewm on my Xandros (debian) laptop this past weekend. idesk worked well with icewm, providing desktop icons for launching applications, and both loaded quickly and don't seem to consume much memory. idesk is similar to icewm in that everything is configured with some short text files, which I ended up doing by hand. There's a graphical config tool called idesktool, but I couldn't make it work. Curiosly, idesk is available in debian unstable, but I couldn't find an rpm for it, while, conversely, idesktool is available in rpm or source but not DEB.

The icons that idesk provides are just application launchers, similar to icewm's toolbar. They don't provide folders or drag-n-drop features, etc. And you can't right-click on the desktop and create a new icon. But, as part of my pursuit of a quick system on lesser hardware, I did create a Home icon that calls xfe*, a light and quick file manager, and it pops up instantly. xfe doesn't show you thumbnails of images like Nautilus, but it doesn't require anywhere near the resources, either. But it does give the user access to files, allows files to be moved around, supports selecting/copying/moving multiple files at once (unlike Rox, according to Robert A.), and allowing users to double-click on files and have the correct app load the file.

So, idesk won't meet Les's requirement of icons including folders. And it doesn't really offer anything that you can't do in IceWM itself--that is, the icons just launch apps as does IceWM's toolbar and menu. But it works well for dressing up IceWM's spartan desktop without incurring the overhead that Nautilus does. If one is building an LTSP server on a shoestring, I think it adds enough glitz to be worthwhile. It makes the desktop more akin to what users expect, for a "cheap" price resource-wise. I think it's pretty cool!

I'll try to get it installed on my home K12LTSP 4.2 server (which is broken at the moment--don't ask) and then write some how-to's for the wiki, if anyone is interested.

*Somebody was asking about a lightweight file manager last week; I had recommended XWC, but xfe appears to be newer, is still being actively developed (I think dev on XWC has stopped--but how much can one add to a file manager?) and is available in rpm for Fedora releases. They are similar in performance, i.e., fast, and appearance.


Eric Harrison wrote:
On Fri, 2005-01-14 at 15:35 -0600, Petre Scheie wrote:

I don't think so; or at least I don't run it that way. One of the gee-that's-cool-but-not-everyone-liked-it features of Nautilus was its ability/insistance on taking over the desktop. I never cared for it mostly because it was so slow and made everything else drop to a crawl also. It has since gotten much better, but it still requires a fair amount of horsepower. There's the idesk project for creating desktop icons in lightweight window managers. I haven't tried it yet, but hope to soon. It might make for a good alternative to Nautilus-with-Icewm for K12LTSP.

Yeah, lightweight "desktop icons" would be a great addition. I note that
both Windows and Macs tend to have fewer and fewer icons on their
respective desktops, but users still expect that feature.



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