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A quick revisit on Files

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None the less the new Files feels much more modern and pretty, but this is just optics. “Inside” is even better. A quick tour on changes proves it!

Files 3.6 Roadmap

Already done!

To be done!

Nice to have!

Visit Files Roadmap

Files 3.6 Goals | by McCann

Jon McCann explains in depth all the new features in Files 3.6.

1. Be Immediately Useful

Files has gained a “Recently” modified view. You aren’t required to navigate in Folders to find your recently files any more!

2. Have a Functional Search

This is the biggest improvement in Files 3.6! Searching in Files was completely broken and you had to use a terminal to search for you Files. One of the major bugs in Gnome is considered closed :)

3. Have Simpler and More Natural Workflows

This obviously is the whole point of Gnome 3, and Nautilus gained a super new feature. Select some files and immediately create a new folder inside the selection, and move your files there!


4.  Be More Coherent

Some work is in progress to make the whole Gnome3+Files look more consistence. For example the re-designed Dialog Windows that are coming soon!

5. Be more Effective

This is a a goal how to make the Files features more clear and comprehensive, like the Tree View.  McCann says:We’ve heard the complaints loud and clear. They’ve been ringing out on the mailing lists and piling up in bugzilla“, which even if you do not believe it is totally true. There is an active response to everyone complains in Nautilus bugzilla and Nautilus mailing lists.

6. Be more Beatiful

Simple and beautiful, but yet powerful. If you can’t achieve the third(powerful) isn’t big deal. Simplicity and look are more important. In my opinion, they did great in this area.

7. Trading Spaces

The last goal is the one that got the most complains. This simply goes, if you want to change the workflow (Have simpler and more natural workflows) you need to remove some of the features that are opposite with this change. Obviously we are talking about the removal of Extra Pane and Compact view.

McCann explains these two decisions.

Why Extra Pane removed?
This was removed for a couple of reasons. The first reason was that it was undiscoverable. Not all undiscoverable interfaces are bad but this one also stood in the way of providing a better alternative. Even if you never used the Extra Pane you always had useless Move To and Copy To items in the menus.
We wanted to create a better Move and Copy workflow and really these items had to go. Once you remove all user facing ways to use the feature you have to ask yourself (as a good maintainer) whether the trade is worth it. Should we keep the feature for which we have a new and better alternative in Nautilus, a very similar and easily enhanced feature available in the Shell side by side view, and a pile of bugs getting no attention in bugzilla? We decided it was better for the project to remove it. This hasn’t pleased everyone but remember we still have some ways to go to make the experience complete.


Why Compact View removed?
This is a tricky one. A lot of reasons people have been using this view are due to the other two views sucking for various reasons. We want to fix the root problems. We intend to have more effective list views for identifying files by name, more effective grid or icon views for finding files by content, and more effective search for finding anything based on name, textual content, or metadata regardless of where it is. This is consistent with the other core GNOME 3 applications. Working around the default isn’t going to do it.
The role for compact view is unclear. Our research suggests that it is something like: the only view that works for browsing a lot of files at once. This is really hard to reconcile with providing good defaults that just work and having consistency with the file chooser.
The view itself was not without problems and we would rather focus on making icon and list rock. I won’t dwell on the reasons here since they have been discussed at length already.


Read the full McCann’s post

We’ll make a full review of Nautilus in the next days with all these new exciting features, but there is no doubt that new Files rocks!

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  • Diego López León

    Do u know why the Computer place was removed? The bug report says it isn’t needed any more but doesn’t say why.

    • alex285

      I didn’t know from first place why Computer is needed for. You can access your remote drives from Nautilus sidebar.

      • pt3

        not everyone uses the side bar

        • LorgnocOspYe

          What prevents you from using the sidebar? You should be able to show and hide the sidebar using the menu or the “F9” shortcut. If for some reason that is not working on your computer, it may be a bug.

          • pt3

            lol some people prefer not use the sidebar

      • foobaro

        I agree. I never opened “Computer” on purpose.

  • CoudCoud

    In the list of the many things they removed, I see “Remove show/hide statusbar”. And in your screenshots I can see it isn’t activated. Is it a mean to say they removed this status bar?
    I have always used it since I started using gnome, as it was an easy way for me to see how much empty space I had on my drives.
    Will they introduce an easiest way to see it? Or will we have to open a terminal and type df -h as a workaround?

    • alex285

      Yes it is removed, but you can just make right click -> properties?

      • CoudCoud

        Here is an example of the way I used the statusbar :
        I have five partitions on my computer.
        Some of them are almost full with video rushes.
        When I want to copy new big files (from a camcorder) I simply clicked on each partition in the sidebar to check its free space displayed in the statusbar.
        Then I chose the most suitable partition and pasted my files.

        I think “Ctrl+Alt+T -> df -h -> close terminal” will be faster than doing “right click -> properties -> close Properties window” five times.
        However, IMHO, both “terminal” and “right click” ways will be less intuitive than the way I did.

        • alex285

          Removal of features of course is bad for some special occasions. Having 5 partitions and moving videos on each other and checking the free space each time in not something regular ;) You can use other File Managers for that like Rodent: ..which btw rocks as nautilus alternative!

          • CoudCoud

            I went on the bug 676840 displayed on the roadmap.
            Another person was complaining about this side effect induced by the status bar removal.
            I agreed with him and made a suggestion.
            Que sera sera, what will be will be.

          • alex285

            It is great to fill bug reports, keep up!

          • hb

            “some special occasions”? Nautilus was supposed to be for advanced file management. Now, it’s supposed to be for .. aeh … I don’t think anybody knows anymore.

          • alex285

            Removal of Extra Pane and Compact View, don’t make it less advanced. The Recent View and the Improved “live” Search do!

          • hb

            I guess your assessment is based on your personal usage pattern.

            But – surprising as it may be – you’re not alone in the world. As many comments on various articles show.

          • alex285

            You’re wrong in that. I am fully aware about the complains. As a matter of fact I have read more than 30 discussions in Nautilus mailing lists about that. Plus some comments on blogs.
            I am trying to expose the discussions on mailing lists between developers and users about all these, to make known the reasons for these decisions.

            I never said on a post “Nice they removed these!”. I know that this makes some people unhappy. I never said that these features weren’t useful at all and had to remove.

          • hb

            The reasons remain unknown. All that’s public is claims, some false, some unelaborated.

          • alex285

            I believe everyone’s feedback is valuable. You can say your opinion and explain the reasons behind it in Nautilus ML. You can also file a bug in Bugzilla. I can say one thing for sure. You won’t be ignored. And if many people agree with you, they (Gnome Team) won’t remove these features. Just give feedback.

          • hb

            I guess you are joking. Been there, done that, got ignored. That that I would be surprised, though.

          • alex285

            Ignored like you hadn’t a respond back? Well, you know how it goes. My advise keep giving feedback. I am fan of diversity. I like what Mint does. I don’t fancy Cinnamon but I like its(Mint) logic. Give to users exactly what they’re asking for. I hope they success!

  • Guest

    “While overall its re-fresh look is getting good critics…”
    I don’t think I’m alone when I say that far too many useful features are being removed. I’m totally fine with a redesign as long as all previous functionality isn’t lost in the process…
    (Poll from

    • alex285

      There is something wrong with OMG’s Poll. While OMG says about the features that removed, he doesn’t mention the features that added like the new context menu selection, that makes for example the Extra Pane less useful.

      But yes, you are not alone, many people are complaining. But for me is better to keep things simple and straightforward, rather complicated and hidden. For the users that want extra functionality, bash is always there :)

      • Guest

        I like simplicity too, and I’ll be glad to try out the new changes when 3.6 arrives. I’m just a little worried that Gnome might be going a bit too far, but I guess that’s how innovation happens. Although I’m glad to see the paradigms of Gnome 2 being trashed for more modern ideas, I still miss the good old days (about a year ago ;) when configuration was possible and If I didn’t like something, I could just right click on a toolbar and move it around or delete it altogether. Now I have to download and apply patches to nautilus just to get an “up” button for when the breadcrumbs don’t lead where I want. I guess I can just hope that (user friendly) customization will make a return at some point in the future when all the dust settles. Fingers crossed.

  • Brian Bentsen

    “Should we keep the feature for which we have a new and better alternative in Nautilus, a very similar and easily enhanced feature available in the Shell side by side view”

    Is this saying that opening two different instances of Nautilus and edge tiling the two windows is somehow “better” than pressing F3? When did “less convenient” and “less fast” become “better”? When you are moving files from one folder to another you are doing 1 thing that should be handled properly in 1 window. Try focusing 2 Nautilus windows from the overview – no, you can only select a window at the time, so every time you need to bring this 1 thing you are doing (file transfer between two directories) to the foreground, you have to go to the overview twice and focus both instances. Better? Come on.

    • alex285

      In your example extra pane is useful, but if you have 2-3 tabs open, extra pane becomes hard/obsolete to use. All apps have Tabs support (and people commonly use Tabs), but none has extra pane other than Nautilus. They just could let it there as an extra choice ..but they didn’t.

      • hb

        That other applications don’t have an extra pane could be because they are not file managers?!

        Nautilus has several things that other GNOME applications don’t have. Obviously. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need Nautilus.