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The best 5 new features in Gnome Files 3.6!

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Mistakes Mistakes Mistakes

Ubuntu’s and Mint’s choice to drop Files 3.6 from their latest releases was -in my opinion- a very bad decision that will greatly reduce the user experience in their UI environments. Of course Gnome Team also carries a part of responsibility because the removal of all these features from Files 3.6 wasn’t really necessary.  They could still had them somewhere on the options.

The most “not welcome” change in Files 3.6 was the removal of Compact View.

Another important removed feature was

  • Don’t save zoom per-folder 682017

If we want to be realistic and no-negative, the above features do not affect many users and certainly do not affect the “mainstream” users. Ubuntu and Mint are two perfect Distros for new users -and not only- and the drop of new Files made me a bad impression. They could just fork 3.6 -and maybe fork will happen-, and add the old features on Files 3.6.

Some people claim that they learned too late about these decisions, but for the size of a company like Canonical -which their main product Ubuntu is based on Gnome- this is not a valid excuse. They should had a more closely communication with Gnome Team, and as far as I know, Gnome Developers are very talkative and helpful.

Best Features in Files 3.6

Files 3.6 comes with a bunch of impressive new features and with dozens of bugfixes.  Out of record, this release is a bit experimental and Files 3.8 will get another major re-design which is expected to be  awesome. Forking Files efforts (like Nemo) are always welcome, but there is a question if they can follow the plans of the very talented software engineers of Red Hat.

Files is going (in future) to gain integration with GOA and become a “strictly” part of Gnome, so it makes perfect sense for Canonical to fork it, but I am not sure if Mint should follow Canonical on this. Anyway, time will show who’s right and who’s wrong.

5. More Beautiful 

I am fan of aesthetics and who ever says he doesn’t care, he is a liar.  Computers turn out to become gadgets and gadgets turn out to become powerful tools ..and gadgets should be beautiful. I am not saying that Files is the prettiest file manager out there, but it looks much better than the previous version.

Gnome Sushi (the file previewer of Gnome) has also got improved.

4. Improved Selection

This feature is far for completed and I guess we will get a real implementation of it in Files 3.8. It will probably going to work similar to Gnome Documents which you select the files you want to apply an action through check boxes. For the moment.. just can move items in a new created folder. Handy.

3. Faster

Recent View and the quick button to switch to List or Icon view are very nice implemented. Compact and a Zoom Slider are missing from here :(

Set Wallpaper directly from Files, is also a new welcome feature for Wallpaper Junkies (that I am not). By the way, Files and in general Gnome 3.6, runs faster.

2. Detached-able Tabs

This is my favorite new feature and I was waiting to long for it!  You can drag and drop a tab outside of Files and open a new Files window. I use lot of tabs and windows and it works perfectly for me.

The weakness here is that there is no attach functionality. This is huge drawback and besides it is the expected behavior. You can detach something but you can’t attach it back?

Another bug fixing on Tabs is that if you now drag a file over them, they don’t switch immediately, but they have about 1sec delay. That bug in 3.4 had driven me crazy.

1. Re-designed and Improved Search

Search in all previous versions of Files was just a bad joke. In one night (6months) things changed, and Files is proud to gain one of the most advanced searches in a file manager. It now displays the results in live mode as you type (similar to Gnome Shell), it searches hidden files and folders and it has an recursive case-insensitive search and is amazing fast.

It also now works in no indexed directories, it can search for metadata and it ranks the results based on a weight algorithm.

Unfortunately it doesn’t support Regular Expressions, which is weird because most of modern Applications have it. It is kinda a standard and a super useful feature. Oh well, we have the Gnome Terminal after all :)


Files 3.6 is a huge improvement over 3.4 and there are so more cool new features than the above I described, like the improved remote-browsing. It is very unfair to blame this release, because everyone seems to ignore the new features and people focus more on the weaknesses -which exist.

Files Git is also excessive active right now, because the development has missed the deadlines and Gnome Team wants to include as many new features as possible and closed the bugs (many bugs in 3.5.91). Sometimes I am wondering why Gnome Release Team doesn’t postpone the release for some weeks in order to deliver a better product. Most distros have delays anyway.

Files 3.6 Roadmap in Gnome Live!      Matthias Clasen Review on Files 3.6

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  • Philip Witte

    I never used any of the features they’re removing, so I’m happy with the direction and simplification. I did use folder-specific zoom, but only on my Home folder and only for atheistic reasons (Big Icons), so I wont really miss anything. Overall, the new design and features looks nice.

    • pt3

      so you mean every time you open a folder you set the zoom, view and sort by settings?

    • Diogo Campos

      I agree.
      Gnome 3 is focusing in another kind of user (the “standart user” – or the “windows user” ), and there is no manpower enough…So, the actual changes (and removes) are smart and welcome.
      Addicionally, IMHO, the Gnome, with the actual strategy and efforts, will “revive” (or “alive”, or “wake”, or “spread”) the Linux Desktop.
      (Sorry for the “awesome” English)

    • ElectricPrism

      I used the Computer:/// location occasionally, and It’s sad that’s it going because I thought it made Gnome easier to use than KDE.

      I use the compact view in my Videos and Music folders, and to be honest I wish I had more well designed folder view options like in Windows.

      Why they removed Nautilus memorising which folder view to associate with which folder may be up to a person’s preference, but I also didn’t mind having it function that way, I hope it doesn’t slow me down from locating important files. Folder views become important when

      1) Your folder contains between 50 – 5,000 items.

      2) Your hard drive has 2 terabytes or 1,000,000 files and you set custom icons for each folder to organize and decrease the time it takes to get to your relevant files.

      Let’s hope they get it right next time, otherwise they’ll be on a downward spyral and on their way to RM heaven.

  • Stiph

    I’m fine with all the changes and it’s nice to see active development on file handling land! I was using compact view for some directories only, so I’ll wait to see the upcoming changes on the list view. I prefer two rocking view types instead of “compact view”, “icon view” with tight layout, “icon view” with text beside icons, … The only feature I will really miss is type-ahead-search: when you have more than 200 files, being able to quickly locate a single one is important for me. Anyway, this is an excellent release. Congrats to the developers!

  • blasen-moese

    “If we want to be realistic and no-negative, the above features do not affect many users and certainly do not affect the “mainstream” users.”
    Wow, so you just eff over other users because they are a minority? How considerate of you! But I guess this is part of the Gnome “H”IG…

    • alex285

      > so you just eff over other users because they are a minority?
      isn’t common practice? besides Linux Desktop wants to increase its market trend, at least the popular desktops.

      • blasen-moese

        wow, that makes it justified! really? why not leave BOTH options?
        Who cares? Good riddance! I have Xfce now. To each their own! Have fun hunting for market share!

        • alex285

          I guess you didn’t switch to Xfce coz of Nautilus. Many people can’t adapt to Gnome3. That’s why I support forks like Cinnamon.

        • foobar

          Please do not choose such a vulgar nick next time you are asked for a user name. I have troubles giving you some background when I have the feeling I’m just wasting my time on a troll.

        • Diogo Campos

          “Why not leave BOTH options?”

          Probably, because there are no enough people working on it (maitenance, mainly).And maybe, this not fits with the current plans and goals.And maybe, because others file managers already has this feature.And, finally, because you (and the other guys interested) can fork it, and adapt to your needs.

          • Neil Broadley (Scaine)

            That’s a fine attitude (and I’m being sincere, not sarcastic) BUT only if you don’t then complain about your user base vanishing. Nothing in Files 3.6 makes me want to give up the features it lost to use it. And that’s fine – like you say, I have plenty of options. But then I read this article about Mint/Ubuntu “bad decisions”. No, they’re just decisions. And justifiable.

          • Diogo Campos

            Man, I totally agree with you: there are no bad decisions. Just decisions.
            So, the “bad decisions” quote is just (if I undestand well) a opinion of Alex Diavatis.

            And the “users vanishing” is expected, since the Gnome changed a bit the focus / strategy.
            However, also as expected, there are users coming from. So, there’s no need to worry. :)

          • alex285

            “No, they’re just decisions. And justifiable”. I put the blame in all sides (Gnome,Ubuntu,Mint). However there are good and bad decisions. Everything is justifiable from someone’s perception.

    • Diogo Campos

      Yes. Gnome (or any other desktop, or program, or whatever) can not solve the needs (and preferences) of all people.
      Gnome has actual goals, AND, there will always be a minority……but this is open-source, man! There is no limits, no prohibition, no exclusivity. The minority will always have a nice place.
      And the “H” means “human”, not “everyone”.

      • Neil Broadley (Scaine)

        Can’t solve the needs of all people? How very negative. You can at least try, I think. Work towards your goals and justify your decisions by all means. I’m only seeing one half of that happening at the moment.

        • Diogo Campos

          The “Windows” try (aggressively) to have ALL users/market-share, but, we (the 2%) are here, using (and loving) other solution. ;)
          And about “justify the decisions”, the Gnome are (in my perception); only no sufficient disclosure.
          By the way, read this (if you have not – IMHO is a proof of what i said):

    • eagspoo

      The really ironic thing about what you are saying is that you are actually not the minority. IRL you, a linux power user, are the vast majority and you have been betrayed and abandoned.

      The “mainstream” users they are designing for actually don’t exist. It is a fantasy and they think if they make things dumber then this fictional userbase will just show up.

      This is sad because gnome/unity “designers” (lol) aren’t very good and their efforts are undercut by the reality that development is understaffed so things feel cobbled together and linux is still too troublesome for most of these hypothetical users they wish to capture. So the design is unpolished in the details and things are buggy because of their constant f-ing and now the desktops suck for power users who *want* to use linux and “mainstream” (mainly windows) users wouldn’t touch linux with a 10-foot pole.

      Please don’t try and tell me the usability is so great and that it isn’t troublesome or buggy. Linux userbase has failed to grow for the last 10 years while people tinker and break and tell themselves how awesome linux is.

      • Bill_Toulas

        IRL I have seen situations, people and occasions that prove everything you say wrong. I know many people that were complete and total linux noobies that absolutely love Gnome Shell and use it everyday. Once, I installed Cinnamon in my friend’s PC to see how she’d work with it, she told me two days later to bring back the awesome activities/applications thing that she used before.
        No matter how logical you may sound, and no matter how realistic your arguments may sound, you are very wrong

        • eagspoo

          My wife uses gnome and gnome shell and has no problem with it, however I do deal with the occasional issues she has (such as amazon video suddenly not working anymore, not gnome’s fault but still reality).

          I never said newbies wouldn’t like gnome or that the efforts to make it easy to use were a *total* failure, so I’m not sure where you are coming from. I’m just saying that it isn’t ideal for either experts or newbies and the vast majority of gnome users are computer experts, not newbies. You haven’t rebutted those points at all, just argued things I never made claims about.

          So I guess I am very wrong by your logic, which is completely illogical and tangential to almost everything I said and only somewhat relevant to one point I made.

          • Bill_Toulas

            I thought you said that Gnome developers are aiming for users that aren’t there and are never going to come. That is what I thought was wrong. Users are coming thanks to the new Gnome Shell. They love the way it looks and works and even if they are the minority now, this is were we should be aiming at

  • Former_GNOMEer

    GNOME 3 is obviously being designed by idiots. Hopefully one day they will all go back to whatever pays their bills which is obviously not software design / development. I know, I know, lots of people LOVE GNOME 3! They came out of the woodwork when it was released too. Oh, right.

    • TrollBeast

      Gnome 3 is a tablet interface. If they keep trying to push it on to PCs; they will ruin the image of desktop linux.

  • Michael Mistretta

    I like the interface a bit more now in 3.6, however the removal of the status bar is a complete boneheaded move (I think most users would like to see free space.. no?).. I mean certainly just having the OPTION for it couldn’t be that much of a chore.. I don’t mind the removal of compact view since I really never used it personally.. I’m more of a list view guy for files and an icon view for picture directories.. compact view.. I never saw the purpose of it so good riddance.. however..

    The fact that folders don’t appear to save your views is also equally boneheaded.. seems like Nautilus is one nice step forward in looks and two or three steps back in functionality. Split pane was actually useful.. again I see no reason to remove it.. now I have to open two instances of Nautilus to do what could be completed in one.. progress?

    tl;dr .. Nautilus is better looking but less functional than it previously was with no ***real*** reason for removing key features.

  • vexorian

    The post does not really mention the reason it was removed from Ubuntu. The removal of features sure was not a very popular move. But the real triggerer to decide to keep old nautilus (it is a temporary measure so 13.04 will likely ship some of these features) was that nautilus’ menu switched to use the gear button. But this would be very inconsistent with unity’s global menu bar. Surely ubuntu devs need to think of something to handle the fact that Gnome seems to have taken a completely different approach to saving menu bar space – Whilst ubuntu is going for a global menu bar, Gnome seem to prefer the gear button. But since these changes happened so close to feature freeze, I think locking the nautilus version was the better idea; before making a decision on what to do about this.

    • alex285

      I refer the reason indirectly “They should had a more closely communication with Gnome Team..” I didn’t link it to older posts because..

  • eagspoo

    I used linux and gnome exclusively for almost 10 years. Before that I was on Windows. Recently someone sold me an old MacBook Pro and I decided to give it a chance. Honestly I’m not that impressed but that isn’t the point I want to make. The point I want to make, HOLY CRAP GNOME and UNITY RIP OFF MAC LIKE CRAZY!

    WTF? I never ever realized this until I switched to OSX but the blatant blatant ripoffs are everywhere. In this case the resemblance of Files to Finder is so blatantly obvious. This isn’t even like a Samsung Galaxy being sort of like an iPhone to people who don’t know better, this is a total ripoff on close inspection by someone who knows both well.

    Beyond finder the list goes on and on. NetworkManager is a clone. Layout for settings is a clone. Unity launcher is a clone. The replacement of the notification area is a clone. Even little short-lived details like having to do ctrl-del instead of just delete in Nautilus is a rip off.

    Wow, just wow. I only switched two weeks ago and I’m still stunned.

    And before people start listing all the differences, I know. I know. Gnome and Unity are different from OSX and they are different from each other but they also share *a lot* and both have ripped off *a lot*.

  • James LaBarre

    Actually, the biggest thing that p**es me off with Gnome’s defective changes in the latest Nautilus/”Files” is their removal of “tree view”. I know, the Gnome folks have been hostile towards Tree View for *YEARS* (going way back to some of their earlier boneheaded decisions in the Gnome2 series), and have made every attempt to break it on many occasions. It’s all fine, really, since it still works fine in Mate (you know, the project that took the code the Gnome folks abandoned, and proceeded to *IMPROVE* it in ways the Gnome folks proved incapable of doing).

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  • PeterAzP

    I hope they’ve re-implemented Drag’n’drop by now…

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  • LeadFeather

    So, all the “improvements” are stripping away more and more and leaving the user with less and less and tweeking Nautilus a little bit.

    This puts the nail in for coffin of Gnome, it truly has jumped into the crapper and is yanking hard on the handle to flush. All I can say is, thank the gods that Mint and Ubuntu are NOT following the Gnome team. The project has gone careening so way off so that even Unity is starting to look good. It astonishes me that after so long of getting it right that they could get it all so wrong. The Gnome team is living in some self delusional bubble talking amongst themselves and dismissing any disagreement as blasphemous.

    Thank goodness for FOSS so that even when something that had become such an important foundational component of the Linux desktop experience fails as badly and rapidly as Gnome has, there are plenty of bright and talented people to fill the vacuum (Mate, Cinnamon, Unity). You would never see this kind of response in the closed systems world. This is a glowing endorsement of the open source model.

    • alex285

      You can’t really characterize Gnome as “bad” just because you don’t personally like it. Unity has become impressive better in its latest release.
      > The Gnome team is living in some self delusional bubble talking amongst themselves and dismissing any disagreement as blasphemous.
      Have you checked what’s happening in Unity Mailing Lists? Things aren’t better in there are also. I agree we have many choices to choose from, but I disagree we have to be so negative over an OS project :)

      • LeadFeather

        I agree that my characterization was over the top but it was intended to be, in keeping with the relative vector (magnitude and direction) change to the Gnome project and most especially the dismissive arrogance with which they carried it forward. As a desktop environment it does fail, it fails most measures of how to optimize the user functionality and basic principles of CHI learned and evolved over many decades. The emergence of the slab environment in both phones and tablets is an exciting development (the ideas of which have been around since the 1960s, and not leaped from the mind of Saint Jobs like Athena from the mind of Zeus, despite the self-righteous wailing and self-flagellation of apple). The Gnome project made a sudden vector change to that environment (somewhat reminiscent to the vector change Jobs took apple after returning from his trip to Xerox PARC). I find their innovation and imagination exciting and bold … in context to the slab, not in context to the desktop. I also agree with your note of the (severe) problems with Unity as well, that is why I made the allusion to Unity for dramatic effect.

        I think it was a mistake to abandon the desktop for the slab (and loudly proclaiming they did not, belies their actions). They should have added it to the Gnome family and grown the two environments in parallel and evolve synergistically (Gnome Desktop and Gnome Slab). Yes, available resources are an issue, but considering the numbers that have moved to other projects as a result, I think it could have worked. The Gnome project can still do this by embracing the other new Gnome forks in a spirit of cooperation. Perhaps what is needed is the creation of a Gnome Foundation to facilitate and promote cooperation and synergy among them with GTK the province of Gnome Root, Gnome Slab for the Shell and Unity, and Gnome Desk for Cinnamon and Mate. I think the greater Gnome family has reached that time in it’s life to grow from a project to a foundation.

        I have watched over the decades in this industry new ideas emerge with the proponents proclaiming loudly that everything else will wither and vanish to be replaced by that new innovation. Invariably once all the dust has settled, the old and new stand side by side and move onward together. Thus it will be with the slab and desktop. The desktop will not vanish in favor of the slab, both the desk and the slab will evolve together creating an ecosystem greater than the sum of it’s parts. The pieces of the Gnome family is uniquely positioned to be at the center of that future, what it needs is a Foundation to link those pieces so they can evolve together.

        From my early years of tinkering with the 8080A on the Altair Bus I have seen allot of changes, none more exciting and filled with promise as FOSS. So let me call for the forming of the Gnome Foundation. I will be the first in line to laugh at that image in the mirror to presume such hubris.

        • alex285

          > The Gnome project made a sudden vector change to that environment..

          I think that Gnome moved to a more mainstream environment in a manner to provide “simpler” functionality to people that aren’t much into computers, rather what you are calling a Slab Desktop. Gnome tries to support touch screen devices with a responsive design (not just visual, ie. right click still works), something that web-pages and web-services (which by the way are what a user does in ~90% of the time frond of the computer) trying also to succeed. You can add here also Unity, Windows 8, while latest Mac OSX shares lots of things with Gnome Shell (and Unity). Android can also run in a plethora of screen types.

          I *personally* don’t find any issues there, other than the optimization for full screen Apps. Some other issues you can solve them with the use of extensions. Of course a straight development for a core Desktop would had brought better results, but the current implementation (that supports many types of screens and inputs), is an awesome work from Gnome.

          > but considering the numbers that have moved to other projects as a result..

          If you mean Ubuntu, I am not quite sure that Gnome 3 was the reason that they dropped Gnome. Unity was there before Gnome3, and was just a matter of time for them to use it (IMO).

          > The desktop will not vanish in favor of the slab

          Won’t? Keyboard and mouse will might stay for lots more years, but they are rapidly replaced, not as devices but as use. Get a tablet attach a keyboard and you have a desktop. Get a desktop, de-ttach the keyboard and you have a tablet. Get a tablet, attach it in a monitor, and you have a 30″ tablet. There are already some Netbooks that support touch.

          > what it needs is a Foundation to link those pieces so they can evolve together

          I think that forking and separating the projects, will always lead to better products. The best way to have a good idea, is to have many ideas, and similar, the best way to have a good product, is to have many projects.

          But in the end of the day, as you said, thanks God there are many Desktops to choose from. Although I don’t know why you exclude KDE from them.

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