Thunar update

Jannis Pohlmann jannis at
Sat Jun 20 16:59:00 CEST 2009

Hey guys,

I didn't sleep last night. Instead, I finished the work I've been busy
with since the beginning of April: Get rid of all references to
ThunarVFS in the Thunar and Thunarx code. I think this is a good time
to post an update on this list (especially because some of the commit
mails don't seem to have reached the commits mailing list).

Remember, we're not talking about Thunar trunk here yet. All the
changes were made in the migration-to-gio branch of Thunar.

Status of this branch as of today:

  - ThunarVFS has been moved out of Thunar and into its own SVN
    repository ( It passes
    make distcheck and is essentially just a stand-alone copy of the
    ThunarVFS parts from Thunar trunk.

  - Thunar doesn't link against ThunarVFS anymore. Instead, it uses GIO
    to query information about files and volumes. File monitoring and
    volume management (not talking about thunar-volman here though) is
    all done with GIO. It passes make distcheck and runs pretty well
    for such an experimental stage.

  - Another big change: thumbnails are now requested from a D-Bus
    service. An implementation of this service is Tumbler
    ( which I wrote in the last 1.5
    months and which will see a release soon. I know this is a
    controversial decision. 

  - The API version of Thunarx has been bumped to 2, which means
    plugins will have to depend on thunarx-2 instead of thunarx-1 if
    they want to support the next version of Thunar. The only change
    in Thunarx is that

    ThunarVfsInfo *thunarx_file_info_get_vfs_info (ThunarxFileInfo *)

    is gone and there are three new functions now: 

    GFileInfo *thunarx_file_info_get_file_info (ThunarxFileInfo *)
    GFileInfo *thunarx_file_info_get_filesystem_info (ThunarxFileInfo*)
    GFile     *thunarx_file_info_get_location (ThunarxFileInfo *)

  - All plugins shipped with Thunar have been ported to thunarx-2.
    thunar-uca and thunar-sendto-email need testing due to non-trivial

  - If GVfs is installed, Thunar can browse/open files over

      - SFTP (sftp:// and ssh://),
      - SMB (network://, smb://),
      - FTP (ftp://),
      - computer://, and
      - HTTP (http://)

    and possibly more (like gphoto). I tested SFTP, SMB, FTP,
    computer:// and HTTP and they seem to work reasonably well.

Missing pieces:

  - GIO itself has no volume management feature. This is provided by
    GVfs in the form of a HAL volume monitor. The problem is, GVfs
    depends on GConf and gnome-keyring. While gnome-keyring is really
    useful, GConf is something we probably don't want. In their Git
    repository, GVfs even depends on gnome-disk-utils because they
    decided to use that instead of directly talking to DeviceKit-disks.
    So, as a consequence, we're in need of a HAL or (preferably)
    DeviceKit-disks backend for GIO that we can ship and default to with
    Thunar. I guess I have something new to work on, eh? ;)

  - With thumbnail generation having changed completely, we're at the
    moment missing backwards compatibility support for ThunarVFS
    thumbnailers. There's also no JPEG and font thumbnailer yet. I'm
    planning to write three plugins for Tumbler which do that.

What I need from you:

  - Testing! Please check out the migration-to-gio branch of Thunar from

    and give it a spin. There's lots of room for improvements (e.g.
    there is no way to remember non-local URIs e.g. as bookmarks yet)
    and I suppose there are ways to lock the GUI or make it crash.

    If you want thumbnails for most common image types, try to install
    and run Tumbler. It ships a GdkPixbuf plugin (which for JPEGs is
    slow compared to the EXIF+JPEG plugin ThunarVFS had).

    When you install Thunar from the branch, make sure not to remove
    the thunar-vfs-1 and thunarx-1 libraries from $libdir/, because
    otherwise xfdesktop and others won't run anymore.

I guess that's it for now. Going to spend the rest of the day on the
couch now, lazy as I am ;)

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