Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
PCMan’s file manager has hit a stable 0.3.6, and I compiled one in Arch just to see it in action. This is still one of my favorite file managers, regardless of the system.
I’ve always preferred this one over most others. It’s very intuitive, and that’s something I enjoy about it. It’s light, although it wants fam/gamin and a few other things running at the start, which I don’t like.
If you don’t like two-pane file managers, like emelFM2 for example, it’s a big step forward from the immense bulk that Nautilus comes with. It’s far lighter than Thunar (Thunar wants all that XFCE stuff, or at least it used to), but Thunar probably has a few more features than this does. Whether or not you can live without those is for you to decide.
Give it a whirl and see how it goes. There’s a downloadable deb for Ubuntus on the PCManFM home page. (The Arch package is still at 0.3.5-something; I see it’s already flagged as out-of-date. Arch users do not suffer obsoletion well. Edit the PKGBUILD for the new version number, comment out the md5sum, and it will compile perfectly.)
As a side note, it’s fantastic to see PCMan back at work again. His software is all exceptional, and fantastic for older systems. For a great lightweight desktop, try his LXDE series. You will be pleased, I can almost guarantee that.