The Thunar Path

Don Christensen djc at
Wed Nov 16 22:51:11 CET 2005

Benedikt Meurer wrote:
> aussiefax at wrote:
>>Interesting article off Slashdot today about Type Managers replacing
>>the standard File Manager.  I thougth perhaps the Thunar team should
>>take a look at it.
>>Point being.  Why develop a new File Manager only to turn around and
>>have it be outdated.  Linux has a LOT of files and the average user
>>doesn't care about 99% of them.  A Type Manager system closely
>>integrated with something like Beagle, in my opinion, is the best
>>path to take for XFCE.  I know it's easier said than done, and I am
>>no programmer.  But as a user I know the Type Manager system is what
>>I'd like to see in my favorite linux desktop.
> I wonder if you read the article.
> "Type Managers are intentional interfaces for files that have similar or
> the same type of data. [...] They present a user interface for a
> specific file type."
> So, a "Type Manager" and a "File Manager" are different in design. A
> "File Manager" would be useless if limited to a certain kind of file
> (who would use a file manager that can only handle plain text files?).
> The paragraph that deals with "File Managers" doesn't tell much
> actually. The "Type Managers" should be integrated with the file manager
> to generate thumbnails (guess how Thunar generates PDF previews), the
> file manager should provide access to file management tasks (surprise,
> surprise) and it should display remote filesystems (just wait for D-VFS).
> I kinda missed the paragraph with the "Type Managers replacing the
> standard File Manager" sentence. Also, I don't get your point. What do
> you want to tell us exactly (except that you read slashdot)?

Personally, I think the article is very interesting, but it
doesn't really have a lot to do with Xfce, or even Thunar.

What we as technical users have to remember is that most computer
users in the world are non-technical.  They don't necessarily want
to even know about the filesystem.  All they want, like the
article says, is to stick a CD in and have the MP3s of the songs
available to play on the computer or put on an MP3 player.  They
don't care where or how they are stored.  As such, a File Manager
is an unnecessary application.

This does not demote the importance of a good file manager.  There
are still a lot of technical users, and as the non-technical ones
get more comfortable with the technology, at least some of them
want to know more about what is going on "under the hood".

Where this all will get really interesting is when filesystems
become databases.  This is something I look forward to (despite
the fact that Microsoft is a major proponent of this).  Imagine
the possibilities for managing all of our data, the myriad views
into it that will be available to us.  Of course, the file manager
as we know it today will have to evolve into a sort of data
mining application, but that's okay, too.

Anyway, as much as I think a discussion of this is really fun,
it's way-way-way off topic for this list.


Don Christensen       Senior Software Development Engineer
djc at         Cisco Systems, Santa Cruz, CA
   "It was a new day yesterday, but it's an old day now."

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