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Tumbler - Thumbnail Service


Tumbler is a D-Bus service for applications to request thumbnails for various URI schemes and MIME types. It is an implementation of the thumbnail management D-Bus specification described on


written in an object-oriented fashion using GLib and GObject. Its modular architecture makes it very flexible and useful in many situations. It provides plugin interfaces for extending the URI schemes and MIME types for which thumbnails can be generated as well as

for replacing the storage backend that is used to store the thumbnails on disk. Tumbler's functionality can also be extended via specialized thumbnailer services implemented in accordance to the thumbnail management D-Bus specification.

Tumbler is used by Thunar, Xfce and MeeGo.


You can override the default cache directory $HOME/.cache in which, besides other non-essential files, thumbnails are stored:

  • D-Bus/ systemd
    • create a file below ~/.config/environment.d/ and inside set XDG_CACHE_HOME. E.g:
    • XDG_CACHE_HOME=$HOME/.my_new_cache
  • Other
    • Extend $HOME/.profile, $HOME/.bash_rc or similar
    • export XDG_CACHE_HOME=$HOME/.my_new_cache

After that, re-login, make sure the variable is set, and check if it works fine.

Available Plugins

Tumbler allows to load a number additional tumbler plugins to support different file formats. Most plugins are loaded by default, if the required libraries are provided.

Standards compliance

Debugging Support

Tumbler currently supports four different levels of debugging support, which can be setup using the configure flag `–enable-debug' (check the output of `configure –help'):

`full'  Use this if you want to debug Tumbler to locate a bug. The
  build will most probably be noticably slower. This is also
  recommended for people that want to develop Tumbler stuff.
`yes'  This is the default for git snapshot builds. It adds all
  kinds of checks to the code, and is therefore likely to run
  slower. Use this if you want to develop for Tumbler (e.g.
  writing Tumbler extensions and such).
`minimum'  This is the default for release builds, and presents the
  recommended behaviour.
`no'  Disables all sanity checks. Don't use this unless you know
  exactly what you do.

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Required packages

Tumbler depends on the following packages:

  • glib-2.0 >= 2.26.0
  • gio-2.0 >= 2.26.0
  • gthread-2.0 >= 2.26.0

Tumbler can optionally use the following packages:

  • gdk-pixbuf-2.0 >= 2.14.0 (for a pixbuf thumbnailer plugin)
  • FreeType 2.x (for a font thumbnailer plugin)
  • libpng >= 1.2.0 (for the Thumbnail Managing Standard storage backend, gdk-pixbuf-2.0 is also required for this)

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Latest Release

Previous Releases

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Source Code Repository

Reporting Bugs