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3 New features for Nautilus 3.10 that promise a better File Manager!

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There is nothing bad to GNOME’s philosophy “Less is More” as long as is combined with the “Do Less, but Do it Better“.

A File Manager is just a File Manager and nothing more. File Manager duties and responsibilities are well defined and almost unchanged (with the exception of Online Storage)  through  the last 30 years. Therefore when you are trying a File Manager, you don’t really examine what it does, but how good does it.

That means that people don’t care if GNOME Files has 1 or 30 different views (List, Grid, Tree, Compact, More Compact, Even More Compact etc)  but they care to discover and organize their files in the best way possible. Having many options for doing the same task it pretty much means that “We can’t think of a good way, so we are giving you all the choices“. Even the choice to do things “wrong”.

A major work in Nautilus 3.8 went towards to the DnD (Drag n Drop) support. While Devs did some cool things there (like previewing folders), there are some clearly bugs in key features.

For example, you can de-attach a Nautilus Tab, but you can’t attach it back? That shows incompleteness and inconsistency.

Example two, drag a text file to gEdit. If you move it over  a Tab in Nautilus, it will switch to that tab because isn’t clever enough to understand what you want to do. Amazing annoying bug, that reveals the whole issue with GNOME. GNOME is the perfect Desktop with strong in-perfections.

GNOME Files Search

I have criticized Nautilus search in the past, and this is the (one of many) why..


Search made by GNOME for people with extra-sensory perception abilities or just ..damn luckers ;)

There is a very good reason why every single search service in the world has a different view to output search results. When you are searching something you will probably want to know some more info, like last edit, location, frequency of use, ownership etc.

There are bug reports for all these and you can check more when 3.9.4 Nautilus is out -which hasn’t yet been released. Bellow 3 patches are following that make things better.

1. Open Item Location Menu


In Search and Recent Modes, there is a special menu item that opens the Item Location.

2. Default Location Column


While in Search if you go to List View, you will get the Location Column by Default. That implies that you need switch from Grid to List (and back) just to see the search results.

It is also worth to mention that in Recent View an Access Date Column has been added and is displayed by default, similar to the above figure.

3. Add Header Menu


In List View Header Menu with Right Click, you can fast access the column menu and add/remove columns. Nice one but.. many columns you can add?

GTK seems to suffer from a bug that can’t handle properly long filenames. A bug that sometimes creates  “funny” full screen modal dialogs.

All these changes are greatly greatly make our life easier, but don’t really solve the problem. GNOME has a powerful search and indexing engine (Tracker) and doesn’t take full advantage of it (Full text search inside files metadata?).

Also it seems that all the enchantments are towards the List View which isn’t even the default, and to be honest I discovered all these only after I saw the bug reports.. -even if I was using the development branch of Nautilus for quite a while.

Keep on mind this is still an early preview of Nautilus 3.10 and some more improvements -in this area- may come.

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  • Khurshid Alam

    Is there anyone from gnome-dev who can explain why nautilus-connect-server GUI (dialog box) was abandoned ? “When a GUI is as difficult to use as CLI, that’s not a good design.” -Anonymous.

    • alex285

      It is? Well, you can ask this in Nautilus Mailing Lists.

    • Florian

      It was not abandoned. It was moved to GMenu :).

      • Khurshid Alam

        Yes, nautilus-connect-server is in Gmenu but it doesn’t open any dialog box (where we were able to choose a protocol from a list) like it is used to be before nautilus 3.6. Bug: I am using nautilus 3.6 on Ubuntu 13.04.

        • Michael Heyns

          Mine works as expected. 3.6 and 3.8 running on Arch machines

        • rw

          “”We also thought the protocol list was more harmful than useful; the reason is
          usually instructions for how to connect to shared locations are of the kind
          “you can access this share by connecting to smb://″. Previously,
          you would have had to mentally re-map the protocol part of the URL to one of
          the choices in the combobox (that might have had a different wording), which
          requires some effort and technical knowledge.””

          From the bug report. Not a good reason in my mind, but that’s probably the best explanation they have to offer.

          • Khurshid Alam

            For me its a regression. It was lot easier for me to choose from a dialog-box. Typing url works but it doesn’t work with hostname. For example, ssh://$hostname.local simply fails even though avahi-daemon is installed in target machine.

  • Matthew Javelet

    hopefully in this version i can easily open files and folders and root or in a terminal.

    • Fitoschido

      I use PCManFM for that, GNOME won’t add that feature :)

    • IsacDaavid

      There are nautilus extensions for that. I think it’s called nautilus-gksu and many distros are -distributing- that package.

  • casio

    still sucks… I need open a terminal here like filemanager from xfce at least. Or better integrated terminal.
    And bookmarks in terminal :) …

    Is done thinking to be used for Ubuntu users. People whe never use the terminal xd

  • Peter Weber

    “Example two, drag a text file to gEdit. If you move it over a Tab in Nautilus, it will switch to that tab because isn’t clever enough to understand what you want to do”

    It is doing the complete right thing. Allow me to move that file. I use it daily, it is one of the best features of tabs in Nautilus.

    • alex285

      It is an awful bug. It basically means that you cannot drag files out of Nautilus and over Tabs. Every other App counts the speed and power for that. Probably you don’t drag files to apps so you haven’t notice.

      • Peter Weber

        I disagree.
        If you move a file over a tab, it clearly obvious that you want to put the file into this tab. This time-based solutions (as you mention) are not obvious, this is a well known design flaw known from devices without enough buttons (“hold five seconds to use special function x”).
        Dragging from one tab to another is a feature which boosts the usability of tabs really much. Anyway, the tab-switching itself will not “catch your pointer” so you can still move further to the next application.

        I actually drag files from Nautilus to other applications, like Evolution.
        PS: I disagree so clearly, because “bug” in GNOME wording means often “let us remove features”…

  • Susi

    They removed one essential feature from Nautilus which I find absolutely essential: Displaying easily how much space is left on the device/partition. The statusbar used to have this feature, but it was removed. As it seems, there is still not alternative in Nautilus 3.10.

    • Aldi

      This is so true. It is essential to see how much space is left on the device. The visibility in the status bar was just perfect. Nautilus has currently no viable replacement for this!

      • underdoeg

        yes there is. you can just right click on the empty space and then choose properties. the pop dialog will tell you how much space is left on the device