Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Nine Things You Should Know About Nautilus 257

Posted by Hemos
from the use-your-system-better dept.
lessthan0 writes "The Nautilus program in GNOME is not only the default file manager, it creates and manages the desktop. While it looks simple on the surface, there is a lot of hidden power under the shell. The latest version of Nautilus is 2.14.0, which is included in Fedora Core 5. article covers a few non-obvious things about how Nautilus works."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nine Things You Should Know About Nautilus

Comments Filter:
  • The most useful feature of Nautilus is the scripts functionality, so simple & elegant.

    I have a lot of iso cdrom images, that I use occasionally - I popped the iso mount script [wordpress.com] in my ~/.gnome/nautilus-scripts & off I went, merilly mounting & using iso files.

    I looked for equivilant functionality under windows recently & just couldn't find it - this microsoft app [softwarepatch.com] wouldn't mount (map, whatever you whacky windows guys call it) lots of my isos, rar was nagware (and required you to extract, rather then giving you a virtual drive), nero's expensive, etc etc.

    Anyway, back on topic - go download Nautilus scripts from g-script [sourceforge.net] they've got loads of scripts, which solve a lot of problems in a very unixy way. All in all, handy.
    • by D4rk Fx (862399) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:12AM (#15301123) Homepage
      Daemon Tools [daemon-tools.cc] is what you're looking for, for mounting ISOs in windows.
    • > I looked for equivilant functionality under windows recently & just couldn't find it Check out http://www.gratis-webserver.de/ClonyPage/2.html [gratis-webserver.de] seems to work pretty well.
    • Nautilus Actions (Score:4, Informative)

      by tjwhaynes (114792) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:48AM (#15301423)
      The most useful feature of Nautilus is the scripts functionality, so simple & elegant.

      I used to think so but then I discovered Nautilus Actions [grumz.net] and things have been a lot better since then. But don't throw away your Nautilus scripts - you can use them with Actions. The beauty of Actions is that it is sensitive to the current selected file/files/directory/directories/mix so that only Actions that are appropriate are visible.

      For example, if you have a script to make a thumbnail of one or more JPEGs, then you can set the criteria for Actions to only show you that action for selections of just JPEGs.

      Give it a try - it's a really nice feature. Hopefully it will be part of GNOME 2.16.

      Cheers,
      Toby Haynes

    • Yeah, the scripts functionality is cool! I found this the other day quite by accident. Found the 'nautilus-scripts' folder and saw it was empty. While I was moving some other things around, I accidentally moved a script in there and lo and behold -- a 'Scripts' submenu appeared on my right-click menu! And underneath it was the script I just threw in there. To steal a line from Keaunu Reeves, "Whoa!"

      I thought about some of things I wished Nautilus could do, and one of those was being able to edit files
    • Sorry but this isn't a nautilus feature. Oh yes you can do this using nautilus but all it really is a a short bit of code to do this

      mount -o loop [ insert variable name of some.iso ]
      and then point a file browser at it by iconifying the command. AKA mime types, and default actions. I can do the same thing with Konqueror, Midnight Commander, Rox File Manager, Krusador and more. Yes Windows can't do this. Windows doesn't have by default a loopback mount system. However programs for windows have provi
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:13AM (#15301139)
    The only thing I've ever bothered to learn about Nautilus is how to disable it after every upgrade.
    • The only thing I've ever bothered to learn about Nautilus is how to disable it after every upgrade.

      Exactly!

      What are these file explorer / desktop things for, anyway? A shell window with cd, ls, tab completion, and wildcards usually gets me where I want to be faster, and when I want to look at the file tree in a more "browsing" fashion, I use dirmode in EMACS.

      Now I'll go back and RTFA, but if anyone who uses the tools I mention switches to using Nautilus (or similar) for some particular task they find eas

      • I'd like to see you select the correct jpeg out of a directory of 500 without an icon preview.

        Using a GUI also takes less learning and less mental effort. I'd be intersted to see actual timed comparisons of the two as well, I've read that command line users often think they are being quicker than GUI users, but acutally aren't because of the way the brain senses time.
        • Not to mention that you can use a mouse effectively with one hand while laying down. I'm not saying people can't type one handed, but I think the performance hit is a little greater. I'm a lazy man and sometimes I need to stretch out for six hours at a time.
        • I'd like to see you select the correct jpeg out of a directory of 500 without an icon preview.

          That is something I don't do very often, and when I do I use FireFox pointing at my html photo album.

          I think what an individual's common activites are may have a lot to bear on this. I'm much more likely to search for a text string in a tree of source code than search for a particular .jpg in a single directory of 500.

          e.g. emacs [M-x grep-find "what I'm looking for"] which runs "find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 -
          • Selecting pictures or movies out of a directory is something I (and I imagine many other people) do all the time. As for your search example, I think most people just use a decent text editor that has that funcionality built in, without relying on arcane command line commands. Textmate has find in project, jEdit has hypersearch and all sorts of options, even SCiTE does find in directory.
        • I'd like to see you select the correct jpeg out of a directory of 500 without an icon preview.
          Using a GUI also takes less learning and less mental effort. I'd be intersted to see actual timed comparisons of the two as well, I've read that command line users often think they are being quicker than GUI users, but acutally aren't because of the way the brain senses time


          I hope you don't really believe such BS.
          Because you chose one specific application that is faster with a GUI does not mean what you say after t
          • I know there are situations where having a programming language available is useful, I've done it myself. That is a different application, however, and you can always launch a terminal window in the current dir using a Nautilus action if you need that.

            The GP was apparently only talking about situations using cd, ls etc. I wish I could find the report I read about the command line vs GUI timings.
          • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:57PM (#15301990) Homepage Journal
            Applications->Accessories->Text editor; Write script; Save script; Right-click->Properties; Click Permissions tab; turn on execute; Close; Double-click script.

            Not everything done through the GUI has to be 100% visual. That's the whole point to combining the metaphors via nautilus scripting and actions, for example.

            The point is that when working THROUGH a GUI, you can choose to use a command-line or not as you go, and for the most appropriate jobs.
          • Actually, you don't have to use SED. Unix has a "rename" command that accommodates SED expression renames. It's a real godsent, so if you don't have it installed on your distro, do yourself a favour and use this PERL replacement:
                    http://www.greenfly.org/rename [greenfly.org]

        • With proper naming done for those images it's not hard at all. I even have scripts that add to the begining and end of filenames(before ext's) so I can name them all quickly and then move them to the mass storage directory.

          A gui is faster for some items, but a commandline is faster for most tasks. With KDE I usually create a transparent Konsole window the half the size of the desktop for running those commands. With OS X I have a hotkey toggling iTerm to either open or close a terminal window.
        • > I'd like to see you select the correct jpeg out of a directory of 500 without an icon preview.

          There are plenty of applications you can use to browse your pjorn. You don't need something that poops all over your desktop.
        • > Using a GUI also takes less learning and less mental effort.

          It depends on what you do. If you only do one thing with your computer, all you need is a power switch. If you're a power user you probably find a command line more effective than a GUI. On those rare occasions that I use Windows I'm often annoyed by having to click through a dozen menus, tabs, and pop-ups to reach something that I can get within half a second by typing a few characters on my shell command line.

          Also, most CLIs are Turing compl
  • Trash Dot (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:22AM (#15301206)
    One: Adding Delete
    The ~/.Trash directory is where files are moved if you delete local files. On mounted volumes, Nautilus will create a hidden .Trash-uid directory if you move a file to the trash, as long as you have the file permissions.


    So will /. sue for copyright infringement? Or is it DRM? Or is it just some Trashy slander?
  • by gimpimp (218741) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:32AM (#15301275) Homepage
    if you like nautilus, but you'd like something faster, smaller etc, take a look at thunar [xfce.org]. It's the file manager for the xfce project. works well in gnome as a nautilus replacement, and where nautilus has extensions(scripts), thunar has plugins. have a look.
    • by baadger (764884)
      Other things to note about thunar:

      1) It's nowhere near as functional or customiseable as nautilus...yet
      2) It's in quite early development and only ships with XFCE 4.4 beta at the moment, so isn't really the official current file manager :)
      3) It's very promising.

      I'm currently using Xfce 4.2.x (the current release xfce) after having a bad experience with the 4.4 beta but I have the Gnome suite installed and using Nautilus for my desktop and file manager.

      Nautilus is quite heavy and uses a hefty volume of RAM,
  • One good tip. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by reed (19777)
    OK, that was a completely useless article.

    The nautilus-scripts thing is useful however. There is a script to upload photos to flickr at http://nozell.com/blog/archives/2004/09/04/flickr- upload-for-gnomes-nautilus/ [nozell.com] though the progress bar doesn't update right. I also made some shell scripts that resize images using 'convert' from ImageMagick to thumbnail size and webpage size (e.g. max 700 px wide).

    One thing it shows though is that there is still a lot of confusing inconsistency on where Gnome-related app
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:33AM (#15301284) Homepage Journal
    Just a few weeks ago I posted a JE asking people what is so special about the spatial file management metaphor. Not so much because I'm bitching about it, but because I was genuinely curious about how my Slashdot friends feel. I got some good responses as well as some really good conversation going about Nautilus and GNOME. I'd been on a KDE journey (I prefer GNOME and no I don't want a flame fest both environment have their good and bad points) since November to really kick the tires and just switched back to GNOME. I decided to take the suggestions from my friends and post them in another more cohesive JE [slashdot.org] in the hopes that it would be helpful. I have to say with my new found knowledge about Nautilus plus what the article posted on the front page today reveals, I'm really enjoying Nautilus a lot these days.
    • 1. Konsole was THE killer terminal app. Not quite where I think terminal apps should be, but nonetheless leaps and bounds over all others.

      Yakuake [kde-apps.org] is even better. Konsole in a Quake-like terminal that pops open when you hit F12. I always used one of my desktop for Konsole-only and was constantly switching between the different desktops. Yakuake is much better =)

      The thing Gnome should learn from KDE is more flexibility. When using Gnome I constantly run into walls when I try to do something in a way Gnome

  • that there's tabs or split level viewing SOMEWHERE hidden in Nautilus. I don't see how tabs go against the HIG guidelines but maybe I just don't get it.
    • I don't see how tabs go against the HIG guidelines but maybe I just don't get it.

      Tabs would provide additional choice and hence complexity, which would make Gnome users feel scared and helpless. Hence, like an address bar, they must be shunned in Nautilus.

      Having lived with an ever decreasing feature set and usability in Nautilus, and Gnome in general since FC2, I can safely say that when FC6 rolls around, I'm switching my desktop to KDE. Because if I stick with gnome in FC6, I literally won't be able to swi
      • The thing is I like Gnome, specifically the OSX like layout but I hate being treated like an idiot with all of the crippled and obscure features. Is there a way to make KDE more like OS X as far as the layout?

            Any Gnome devels reading, please explain why we can't have an address bar and tabs in Nautilus!
  • Nautilus is one of the most annoying interfaces ever. I generally like a lot of the other gnome apps I use, and find gnome in general to be pretty usable, but I don't rely (knowingly) on nautilus for anything, and I don't go to it as a tool to do anything.

    My apologies if this is incorrect, but I believe nautilus is responsible for the disgustingly *bad* interface that pops up when you run firefox under gnome and want to choose an application to open something with. I can't just type in a command and hit ent
    • With the current file chooser in GNOME you can just start typing to specify a file in the currently viewed folder. Or you cna hit ctrl+l and type in an absolute path to any file.
      • And in KDE, you can switch to thumbnail views to get "that picture of the cat named NIKON_somenumber.jpg that doesn't have that glare in it", or to details view to get "whichever of the training docs with almost the same name I updated yesterday".

        I don't care so much that gnome hides some basic features behind a hotkey, but a lot just don't seem to be there at all.

        And both still lack support for virtual folders or any kind of "narrowing search" feature. People spend a lot of time in file pickers. Make 'em
    • by fader (107759) <fader@nosPaM.hotpop.com> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:10PM (#15301603) Homepage
      My apologies if this is incorrect, but I believe nautilus is responsible for the disgustingly *bad* interface that pops up when you run firefox under gnome and want to choose an application to open something with. I can't just type in a command and hit enter... that would be too easy.

      Yup, you're incorrect. That's the GTK2 file dialog, not Nautilus. They look similar because they're both GNOMEish, but the file dialog isn't actually a part of Nautilus. Oh, and you *can* type in a path... did you try to just start typing? As soon as you hit that first /, a textbox will appear. It even automagically completes as you type. It's extremely slick and fast if you already know the path you want.
      • Oh, and you *can* type in a path... did you try to just start typing? As soon as you hit that first /, a textbox will appear.

        Genius. Sheer genius. Provide a textbox address bar functionality, but make it invisible until the user decides to type an address. Because, you know, users will be able to psychically sense its presence and decide to start typing, rather than just assuming it hasn't been implemented.

        Whoever is in charge of UI at Gnome is obviously a double agent engaged in sabotage. Either that or to
  • Hiding the desktop (Score:3, Informative)

    by xav12 (602450) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:50AM (#15301439)
    The most useful tip I know for Nautilus is how to stop it drawing the desktop:

    Launch GConf (gconf-editor on the Dapper command line), navigate to /apps/nautilus/preferences and uncheck the "show_desktop" option.

    This is especially useful if you connect to a Linux box using XDMCP from a machine using a rootless X server. I use Cygwin/X in rootless mode, and this switch means that bringing a Linux application to the top doesn't cause the root window (i.e. the Linux desktop) to be drawn, obscuring the Windows applications behind.
  • the .trash is just the trash folder which is on the desktop, from what I read in the article i thought it was doing the windows thing of not deleting even after you remove it from the trash can, which is not the case... I don't know why they even bothered to mention it... I suppose it gave me something to do looking for it and then testing my sending something there. One interesting thing I did notice is that when I had what is ostensibly 2 versions of the same folder and deleted a file from one it went fr
  • I once worked at an unnamed institution which had a large Windoze network and some smaller "research" Linux labs. Just like everyone else's story for the most part the IT guys didn't have a clue about the Linux side of things. For some reason, which I could never figure out, trying to connect to people's Windoze home directories through SAMBA (smbmount) would never work properly--we'd always get some weird auth error or something. Just for kicks I tried to smb://hostname/share one day with Nautilus and i

  • Does anyone actually use these?

    Four things would make them actually useful:

    1. The fact that it only displays one emblem in list view mode is unfortunate -- if in list view there was a column for each emblem (or a "subcolumn" for an "emblems" main column), which you could use as a sort criteria, then you could very easily find files with certain emblems.

    2. Automatic and dynamic emblems based on combinations of things like current age, original directory of creation, current directory, file type, size, patte
    • Yes I use emblems. To warn a user to be extra careful when using something. Like, I have to have gprename on one machine for some users, and I have a swiss army knife as the icon. But I want to warn occasional users to be very careful, so I put an exclamation point emblem in it.

      You probably have other ideas about how you would do it, but in the social context of the organisation I did it for, it works, its accepted, and lots of other neater solutions would not be. Its accepted, the simple rule is, if an
  • One thing I never got used to (don't know if it is a Nautilus thing or a GNOME thing) is how hard it is to make a new association between a file and an application. Apparently, you have to go to gconf, and create a new association, by extension and type. And I could never get it to stick (as in, log out, go back in, and the association disappeared). And god forbid, if you want to associate xml and xhtml to different applications. In KDE, right-click on the file, open with... option, type in the applicat
  • by TractorBarry (788340) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:31PM (#15301798) Homepage
    Nine things I should know ? Sorry but there's only one thing I know about Nautilus and that's that I can't stand using it. My reasons:

    1 The whole Spatial browsing idea. Yes you can turn it off (The is the first thing I do when I come across it) but it's a rotten idea. You can tell it's a rotten idea from the recent introduction of the "expanding folders" paradigm which is attempting to return "left hand " tree view functionality into the "single pane" spatial paradigm. Spatial browsing should have been left with the early MACs and the Atari, Amiga etc.

    2 Poor keyboard support. My main gripe with Nautilus is that you can't navigate by pressing a key to "walk round objects whose name starts with a letter" as you can in Konqueror, Windows Explorer etc. etc. For me this makes finding files a complete pain in the arse. It's such basic obvious, useful functionality I can't believe it's missing.

    3 Poor right mouse button support. Select some files and try to right click so you can select the "copy" option from the context menu. You can't. As soon as you right click then your current selection is discarded and the item nearest the mouse pointer is selected. This also has the added effect of changing the right click context menu. Great.

    4 Similarly when you've got several files/directories on the clipboard and you want to paste them into a folder with a mouse click you can't. The right click once again selects an item etc. etc.

    Personally I find Nautilus to be the single biggest impediment to me using Linux as my primary O/S. I run Ubuntu and for some reason Konqueror doesn't look quite right. But Nautilus sucks... it's as if the developers have never used a computer with a fully functional file manager.

    And yes I have tried raising the issues on Bugzilla but my impression is that the Gnome developers aren't interested in adding functionality. They only seem to be interested in simplifying things as much as possible ("Oh that might be difficult for some users to use so we're not adding it...")

    But in the time honoured tradition of open source I've given up on Nautilus and have started writing my own file manager using Mono (not being a proficient C# coder it'll take me a while) It'll probably be pretty crappy in general but it'll at least allow me to perform my file management in a sensible way.

    On day the Gnome desktop will have been reduced to a single button and then you'll be happy ;)

    Ho hum, c'est la Vie.

    • I run Ubuntu and for some reason Konqueror doesn't look quite right


      I recently installed Kubuntu and found it necessary to install the kdeartwork-theme-icon package and switch my icons to the "kde classic" theme. Much better looking, IMHO, than the default that Kubuntu uses.

    • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @01:37PM (#15302381)
      1 The whole Spatial browsing idea. Yes you can turn it off

      So turn it off!

      2 Poor keyboard support. My main gripe with Nautilus is that you can't navigate by pressing a key to "walk round objects whose name starts with a letter" as you can in Konqueror, Windows Explorer etc. etc.

      Umm - it works for me with GNOME 2.14. Pretty much everywhere too. If the backdrop has the focus, then I can choose items on the backdrop. If a filer window has the focus - yep - works there too. If I want to switch from window to window - Alt-Tab. If I want to switch from window to desktop, Ctl-Alt-Tab. If I'm in a loading dialogue, yes. If I'm in a save dialogue - it still works there too. Completion works too in those load/save scenarios - just hit Tab. I rarely take my hands off the keyboard - it's an essential feature for me.

      3 Poor right mouse button support. Select some files and try to right click so you can select the "copy" option from the context menu. You can't.

      Right click applies to the object you click on. So if you select a group of files and right-click on something else, you get the Context menu for that object. If however you select a group of files and right-click on *any* member of that group, you get the Context menu for that group. It's not that hard.

      4 Similarly when you've got several files/directories on the clipboard and you want to paste them into a folder with a mouse click you can't. The right click once again selects an item etc. etc.

      I thought you wanted to use the keyboard? Try select the group of files, Ctl-C, open the directory you want to paste things into, Ctl-V. Easy. Or you could have selected the group of files, right-click and choose cut or copy. Open the new location and right-click->Paste.

      I used to be a hardened command line user. These days, using GNOME, I find myself using the Nautilus interface more and more. Along with Nautilus Actions, it allows me to get what I need done, quickly and easily.

      Cheers,
      Toby Haynes

    • 1. Obviously there are people who like it and don't like it. I've been using spatial mode for 9 months now, and I can definitely say this:
      * It doesn't suck like the Windows 95 one.
      * It works pretty well. In fact, when I'm in Windows I'm having trouble navigating around because I can't easily open a new Explorer window like I can in Nautilus.

      2. Huh? Type-ahead-find has been implemented in Nautilus for as long as I can remember. I use Nautilus 2.10 and type-ahead-find works just fine.

      3. What version of Nautil
      • 3. What version of Nautilus do you use? I use 2.10 and when I rightclick on a bunch of selected items, the selection doesn't disappear AND the Copy item is enabled. This has been the case since Nautilus 2.0.

        4. What are you talking about? It works fine here.


        I did some experimenting and it seems that his problem is that he's extremely inaccurate with his mouse. If you select a group of files and then right click on some other file not in the selected group then it cancels the selection, selects the file you r
    • I guess you must be using some strange ancient version or something. I have tried some of the stuff you said and the results where not quite like what you described:

      1 The whole Spatial browsing idea. Yes you can turn it off (The is the first thing I do when I come across it) but it's a rotten idea.

      So what? You can turn it off, period. Some people like it.

      2 Poor keyboard support. My main gripe with Nautilus is that you can't navigate by pressing a key to "walk round objects whose name starts with a le

    • Personally I find Nautilus to be the single biggest impediment to me using Linux as my primary O/S.

      Install ROX [sourceforge.net]: intuitive, lightweight, and lightening fast. It works under any window manager.

      Phillip.
  • until you become a programmer, and then everything is strikingly non-obvious.
  • Since I tried ditching Windows for day to day workstation use over a year ago, I've been using Gnome and Nautilus as defaults on FC. FC3 and now FC5. After reading of just a few things I could do, and the answer to some questions on other things that weren't as cool but totally necessary to getting things done, I found Nautilus was more than useful.

    KDE on the other hand was unstable no matter what until recently (at which point xcompmgr also became stable and so did transparency and shadow effects for some
  • I'd like to give Linux a spin so I downloaded the Ubuntu (breezy) dvd install. Installed on my external firewire drive but 75% of the way through it told me it couldn't install the boot loader. Did some googling and it seems you have to jump through some hoops to get it to work right.

    My question is this, are there currently any distros that can install and boot from an external firewire drive without having to monkey around with RAM disks, etc.? I don't have the space on my internal drive to sacrifice so
  • I don't greatly care for it either, and prefer the traditional two pane file manager. But, you install Gnome and Nautilus for a naive user, you can walk away and get no calls about it. Never a single one about how to find my files. Spatial browsing is fine too, and if they find it irritating, which they may after a while, you just have it open files in the same window.

    I don't know that its a lot better than Konqueror in this respect, but if all they are doing is finding their files, and doing Office type
  • Man... (Score:3, Funny)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @04:15PM (#15303708) Homepage Journal
    I was hoping for a Jules Verne post.

Nobody said computers were going to be polite.

Working...