Two nifty non-repository apps

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

Here are two lightweight and crafty applications that you’ll want to try if you’re into a sparse setup like me, and don’t want to add the bulk of a gargantuan file manager or the hassle of a DE-based theme changer.

Neither one is in the repositories, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your philosophy. However you look at it, it does show that some very strong software is found beyond the limits of your default sources.list file.

The first is PCManFM, a fantastic little explorer that has forever banished Xfe from my systems. PCManFM looks a lot like Thunar, but has the added benefit of tabbed explorer windows.

It can also manage your desktop icons and wallpaper for you, a la Rox-filer and feh, but it’s far more intuitive than Rox and doesn’t require a terminal command like feh. And it can thumbnail jpg and png (and other) files, the same way Thunar and Nautilus can.

And perhaps best of all, it comes in a 208Kb package with no dead weight.

You can get PCManFM from; here‘s the download page. One word of note: If you don’t have an icon theme installed (like I commonly don’t), it will warn you. It will still run, but it’s worth installing tango-icon-theme-common and tango-icon-theme-extras so it can show folders properly. 😉

gtk-theme-switch is a necessary evil, unless you’re one of the three people on the planet who like the default GTK2 theme that comes with a minimal Ubuntu installation. The switcher itself is less than cozy; it’s a little cumbersome and doesn’t give much help, even if it does get the job done.

Here’s an improvement: gtk+ 2.0 Change Theme. Packaged as an rpm, but convertable to a deb file via alien, this one does a much better job showing you what you’ve got, what it looks like and what you can expect from something else.

Since most DEs have their own version of a theme switcher, most people won’t fully appreciate this application. But if you’re like me and you keep things simple and clean, this does a marvelous job. Total weight after conversion? A mere 24.1Kb, and all of it loveable. Get it here.

More about PCManFM is discussed here; I learned about gtk-chtheme here.


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