Friday, May 1, 2009

The GNOME File Manager: Nautilus

Nautilus is the GNOME file manager that supports the standard features for copying, removing, and deleting items as well as setting permissions and displaying items. It also provides enhancements such as zooming capabilities, user levels, and theme support. You can enlarge or reduce the size of your file icons; select from Novice, Intermediate, or Expert levels of use; and customize the look and feel of Nautilus with different themes. Nautilus also lets you set up customized views of file listings, enabling you to display images for directory icons and run component applications within the file manager window. Nautilus implements a spatial approach to file browsing: a new window is opened for each new folder. For GNOME 2.22, Nautilus is based on the GVFS, which allows any application to access a virtually mounted file system. File systems mounted with FUSE, the user base file systems access, will be displayed and accessed by Nautilus.

Home Folder Subdirectories
Ubuntu uses the Common User Directory Structure (xdg-user-dirs at to set up subdirectories such as Music and Video in the user home directory. Folders will include Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. These localized user directories are used as defaults by many desktop applications. Users can change their directory names or place them within other directories using the GNOME file browser. For example, Music can be moved into Documents: Documents/Music. Local configuration is held in the .config/userdirs. dirs file. System-wide defaults are set up in the /etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults file.

Nautilus Window
Nautilus was designed as a desktop shell in which different components can be employed to add functionality. For example, within Nautilus, a Web browser can be executed to provide Web browser capabilities in a Nautilus file manager window. An image viewer can display images. The GNOME media player can run sound and video files. The GNOME File Roller tool can archive files as well as extract them from archives. With the implementation of GStreamer, multimedia tools such as the GNOME audio recorder are now more easily integrated into Nautilus.

When you click the folder for your home directory on your desktop, a file manager window opens showing your home directory. Two methods are used for displaying a folder: browser and spatial. Ubuntu uses the browser method by default. The Browser window displays several components, including a browser toolbar, a Location bar, and a side pane, commonly found on most traditional file managers. The rest of the window is divided into two panes. The side pane is used to display information about the current working directory. The main window displays the list of files and subdirectories in the current working directory. A status bar at the bottom of the window displays information about a selected file or directory. You can turn any of these elements on or off by selecting their entries in the View menu.

When you open a new directory from a Browser view window, the same window is used to display it, and you can use the Back and Forward arrows to move through previously opened directories. In the Location bar, you can enter the pathname for a directory to move directly to it. To the right of the Location bar (box or button) are magnifying glass icons for zooming out and in the view of the files. Click the minus (–) magnifying glass icon to zoom out and the plus (+) icon to zoom in. Next to the zoom elements is a drop down menu for selecting the different views for your files, such as icons, small icons, or details.

Though the Browser view mode is the default for Ubuntu, you can also enable the Spatial view. The Spatial view provides a streamlined display with no toolbars or sidebar. Much of its functionality has been moved to menus and pop-up windows, leaving more space to display files and folders. If you want to use the spatial method for viewing folders, you need to change the file manager behavior preferences. Open any folder and choose Edit | Preferences to open the File Manger Preferences dialog. In the Behavior tab, deselect the entry Always Open In Browser Window. The file manager will then open a new window for each subdirectory you choose. A directory window will show only the menus for managing files and the icons. An information bar at the bottom displays information about the directory or selected files. The menu entries provide the full range of tasks involved in managing your files. On the lower-left is a pop-up menu to access parent directories. The name of the currently displayed directory is shown here.

To use the Browser view for a particular folder while using the Spatial view, right-click the folder’s icon and choose Browser Folder. This will open that folder with the enhanced format. Also, you can select a folder and then choose File | Browser View.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Ubuntu The Complete Reference

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