Back in January 2015 we carried a blog post about DFileManager noting it was a real gem of a file manager sporting a unique Cover Flow display, together with an accessible bookmark system and customizable thumbnail preview for media files, but absent from the standard Ubuntu repositories.
At the time of the article, we were mostly testing software using Ubuntu 15.04 systems. That distribution offered approximately 39,000 packages in its Universe repository, and around 8,500 packages in its main repository. Those numbers sound a lot. But there was a smorgasbord of open source applications, utilities, and libraries that didn’t have anyone generating an Ubuntu package. And more importantly, there were some real treasures missing from the repositories which could only be discovered by compiling source code. DFileManager was one such utility.
We concluded that DFileManager was not a replacement for KDE’s Dolphin, but encouraged readers to give it a go. It was a file manager that was a mouthwatering prospect with more development.
Let’s jump forward 5 years. What happened to DFileManager in the intervening period?
First, the project’s website doesn’t appear to have been updated at all, and the screenshots are broken. That never bodes well. The software saw its last update in April 2016, but there’s no download link on the SourceForge project page.
For testing software we moved away from Ubuntu and test most software with Arch or an Arch-based distro. This is, in part, because Arch offers access to the Arch User Repository (AUR), a community-driven repository for Arch users.
Undeterred, we checked the AUR to see if there’s still a package available. Yes, there’s a package in the AUR that points to git://git.code.sf.net/p/dfilemanager/code, so source code is still available. But the package failed to compile on our systems.
After a bit of digging, there’s a GitHub fork that has a commit which lets the compilation complete. The creator of the fork has also made an AppImage (AppImage is a format for distributing portable software on Linux without needing superuser permissions to install the application).
Here’s the steps to compile from the GitHub fork.
$ git clone https://github.com/probonopd/dfilemanager.git
$ cd dfilemanager
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake ../ -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr -DQT5BUILD=ON
$ make -j4
$ sudo make install
Remember that DFileManager hasn’t seen any new public releases since 2016. The GitHub fork is essentially just a fix to allow the software to compile on current distros.
DFileManager seems to run satisfactorily although we couldn’t get the Cover Flow feature to display thumbnail previews of images.
It’s a real shame that DFileManager was abandoned, with some fixes and a few feature additions it could definitely rival the best file managers available.
All the articles in this series:
|Now and Then - See How Promising Open Source Software Has Fared|
|DFileManager||A venerable file manager|
|More Distributions||The fate of 15 more distributions|
|Programming Languages||Go, Rust, Dart, Julia, Clojure, Elixir and more|
|File Managers||SpaceFM, gentoo, Marlin, Eagle Mode, and Beesoft Commander|
|Distributions||The fate of 15 distributions|
|Lean Desktop Environments||Xfce, ROX Desktop, LXDE, FVWM-Crystal, EDE, and Étoilé|
|IDEs||Brackets, Light Table, Julia Studio, Dart Editor, and Aptana Studio|
|Music Players||qomp, Lollypop, Yarock, Pragha, and Volumio|
|Web Browsers||eww, Liri, Vivaldi, Ubuntu Internet Browser, Fifth, Dooscape, and Breach|
|Terminal Emulators||Terminology, Cool-Retro-Term, and Final Term|