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.
4Pane is known to work on Linux and (since 4Pane 3.0) on GNU-Hurd. 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-). Early 4Pane versions would build and work with any version
from wxGTK-2.4.0 to wxGTK-2.8.12. 4Pane 6.0 requires wxGTK-3.0.0 or later. Since 2018 all the main distros have at least wxGTK-3.0.0.
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 or 3.
- 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 wxX11-2.8.12 and 4Pane 2.0 (later versions won't compile).