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Nine Things You Should Know About Nautilus 257

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."
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Nine Things You Should Know About Nautilus

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  • Re:bah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tchernobog ( 752560 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:27AM (#15301236)
    Yes, it's very basic, targeted mostly at newbies. However, bringing also these articles to the attention of the masses isn't inherently bad. There could be always new ./ visitors who can benefit from a simple tutorial about a (for some of us) well known feature which is obscure to them, or people that can point out a simple article like this to a not-so-tech-savvy friend of theirs.

    I would rather complain about the increasingly frequent Slashdot dupes and karma-pumping tabloid stories than these articles (although I admit a less "epic" title from the editor would have been preferred).
  • by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:36AM (#15301311)
    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.
  • by Slashcrap ( 869349 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @11:47AM (#15301409)
    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.

    And I'm really enjoying repeatedly slamming my testicles in the refrigerator door.

    It's a big change from my previous hobby of not slamming my balls in the door, but I guess that my new hobby and your love of Nautilus proves that people can get used to just about anything.

    Although frankly, I think you might be a little bit weird.
  • by stevewahl ( 311107 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:00PM (#15301541)
    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 -e grep -n -e "what I'm looking for". (Is there an easy way to do that in the typical GUI file browser?)
  • by HaydnH ( 877214 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:17PM (#15301655)
    Nautilus controls the desktop aswell as being a file manager. If you just want the file manager use "nautilus --no-desktop", alternatively set GConf, see this post. []
  • by nutshell42 ( 557890 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @12:21PM (#15301706) Journal
    You know GNOME supports something like kioslaves: GNOME-VFS. SFTP, FTP, CDDA, HTTP, DAV and many other things (apparently on the fly decompression too but I don't know how that works or if that works -- file roller sucks).

    But I don't think it's as well integrated as kio-slaves. Correct me if I'm wrong but I remember that in one of the Gnome 2.14 new-features articles we had on /. they mentioned that gedit now supports opening ftp etc like local files.

    This implies that Gnome-VFS has to be integrated seperately in every app while I can use kio-slaves in every input field that accepts uri's in every app that uses the kdelibs.

  • 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.

  • 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 too busy taking HIG surveys to bother actually coming up with a usable interface.
  • by ajs ( 35943 ) < minus berry> 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.
  • by wjeff ( 161644 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @01:08PM (#15302101) Homepage Journal
    but my god, what a piece of crap. Gnome is bad enough, a swollen, parasite ridden pig, with dystemper. But Nautilus twice as bad, and is the epitome of everything that is wrong with gnome, take a simple task, to wit, visually representing a hierarchal file system in a easy to understand way, and simplifying the manipulation of that file system, and instead create a file manager that does everything else (that is rightly the purview of other utilities) but manage files well. If want a desktop/window manager, I will install a desktop/window manager. Worse like a lot of gnome applications, Nautilus requires a number of additional huge footprint modules to be running in the background that either start with Nautilus, but don't shut down when Nautilus is shutdown, or just start no matter what when X is started.

    Anything further from an idea file manager I couldn't imagine, it is almost identical the role Windows Explorer plays in Windows, but manages to use even more resources (I never thought I would see the day when a UNIX program would out bloat a Windows program.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @01:40PM (#15302407) Journal
    Sigh. That's what firewalls are for. Spyware is rendered useless if your firewall says, "Umm, no, you can't connect to the Internet. Aren't you a filesystem utility anyway? How naughty! No Internet for you!"

    This is the modern users view of their computer. It is full of things that they don't understand, and they'd rather have some authority figure give them the illusion of safety so they can poke around oblivious than be burdened with the necessity to cultivate enough understanding to make intelligent choices. Even if they know that the authority figure is only peddling illusions, that will not sway their choice.

    Kind of depressing, really...
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @01:54PM (#15302525)
    > 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 complete. I can do amazing things by typing a complex instruction at the command line and walking away from it.
  • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@xoxy. n e t> on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @02:08PM (#15302633) Homepage Journal
    Actually on OSX, the system just opens ".dmg" and ".iso" files with a little application called "" (I think that's its name, I am likewise not at a Mac right now) which calls hdiutil (presumably) and mounts it on the desktop. (Actually, in /Volumes/, but to the user it appears on the desktop.)

    If you right-click on an image file, you can choose to open it either with the mounting program, or in Disk Copy, or in Adaptec's Toast if you have it installed.
  • by someone300 ( 891284 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @02:09PM (#15302642)
    Well it's a bit more complicated than this. Technically, an application that wants to be able to use GNOME-VFS has to use the GNOME-VFS functions instead of the stdio functions (obviously), but since GTK+ is cross platform (e.g. the GIMP), but GNOME-VFS isn't enabled automatically, rather an app needs to initialise that library.

    It's very simple to do and aside from that, GTK can be fully integrated with GNOME-VFS, but it actually requires, like kioslaves, that you don't use stdio. A significant number of applications are written using only GTK and none of the GNOME libraries. I'd consider any program in the GNOME platform not working with GNOME-VFS as buggy or inconsistent behaviour.
  • by Allnighterking ( 74212 ) on Wednesday May 10, 2006 @03:05PM (#15303113) Homepage
    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 provided overly inept versions of this, often at huge prices.

    The only real damage here is glorifying nautilus as if it where something new and exiciting when in fact it's not really that different from all of it' peers. The article is good yes. However to be touted on /. as a new and extremely innovative approach is both incorrect and voraciously inaccurate.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.