Rarely Asked Questions
- Why did you write 4Pane?
I used to use a free MSWindows file manager called PowerDesk. When in 2003
I upgraded to Linux, I couldn't find an equivalent dual twin-pane file manager. There were various half-written, unmaintained efforts;
and there was Nautilus (which wasn't exactly feature-rich) and Konqueror (which was slow, bloated and crashed twice a day). So I decided to
write my own. It took a bit longer than I expected...
- What toolkit does 4Pane use?
It's written using wxWidgets, which is a cross-platform toolkit that tries to look native on each platform. As a result, 4Pane has a gtk appearance (though recent versions of gtk-qt-engine give a good kde look).
- Does that mean that 4Pane will work on other platforms?
No, there are lots of Unix-only bits in it. I've not tried it on other Unices, but it might build and work on any that use the GNU C library.
As I understand it, that means that it won't work on BSDs (though it could probably be adapted if there's overwhelming demand).
- What about older hardware, and previous versions of distros?
I've tested 4Pane on an old machine with an AMD K6-2 150 processor. It ran surprisingly fast, and was quite usable. (It took 10 minutes to build, though!)
The only problem with old equipment is likely to be the display size: you won't enjoy using it at 800x600, and some of the configuration
dialogs won't fit on the screen. (Update: since 0.7.0 they will.)
Old distros shouldn't be a problem. 4Pane builds and runs on Redhat 7.2, which is 2001 vintage.
- Which version of wxWidgets should I use?
Many distros provide wxWidgets as a binary package (.rpm or .deb or whatever: the name usually starts with wxGTK-). 4Pane-0.6.0 and earlier will work with any version
from wxGTK-2.4.0 upwards, but peeking into archives is only available from 2.5.4. 4Pane-0.7.0 and later requires wxGTK-2.8.0 or better. All the main distros have at least 2.8.
If you're building wxWidgets from source, use the latest stable version. The only exception to that is if you want to use gtk1.2,
in which case consider wxGTK-2.6.3 (it's the last wx version extensively tested against gtk1.2) and use 4Pane 0.6.0, as later versions of 4Pane won't build against it.
- Huh? Why would I want to use gtk1.2? It's old and less pretty.
wxWidgets applications display noticeably faster using gtk1.2. Also, if you're not using gnome as your desktop, and your distro is a 2005/6
version or older, the way gtk2, wxWidgets and the theme engine interact results in severe ugliness. It's not a problem nowadays, and almost everyone should use gtk2.
- And what about wxX11?
wxX11 is a wxWidgets port that doesn't use either version of gtk. You might want this if you're using a really minimalist distro, and you don't have
the space for either gtk. It's not beautiful, but it works (though tooltips don't, and scrolling/resizing corrupts the screen a bit, and...).
Very few people should choose it; but if you do, use the latest wxX11-2.8.