Nautilus 2.31.92 running in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Beta
However, this article is not a comparison of file managers. Today I will review Nautilus, the default file manager in the GNOME desktop environment and also in the Ubuntu distribution. The version which I'm talking about here is 2.31.92, as it currently comes in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Beta, with all the updates to date.
Nautilus didn't get through spectacular changes in years, at least not concerning the interface, but that's actually a good thing considering it aims to keep a pretty simple interface which can be intuitive and easily accessible even for a person who is not used to a computer.
Nautilus comes with various features, including tabs (it was a long time to wait until Nautilus integrated tab support), context menu for compressing files and folders, integration with Ubuntu One allowing you to share, synchronize and publish your local files or folders, previews, bookmarks and file emblems.
To the left it has a panel though which you can go fast to places like File System (root), Trash, Windows Network, but here you can also add custom locations, which will also be displayed in Open File or Save As dialogs.
Regarding view modes and sorting options: Nautilus can show items as icons, list or in a compact view, can zoom in and out, and it can sort by name, size, type, modification date and even emblems (you can set this in the Preferences).
The Preferences module allows you to set the sorting rule, show or hide hidden files, change the default zoom level, set single or double click to open files or folders, change how previews work, handle media and show hide attributes used by the view list mode.
A lot of fuss has been around lately about a Nautilus add-on to integrate a terminal which stays synchronized with the current directory. Here's how to install it in Ubuntu:
Open a terminal and type:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:flozz/flozz
This will add the PPA repository FLOZz to your sources (/etc/apt/sources.list.d/flozz-flozz-maverick.list). Next, type:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nautilus-terminal
Restart Nautilus using the following two commands (in terminal):
Nautilus integrated terminal
Nautilus has been here for years, and it will surely continue to do so. It fits perfectly in GNOME and provides the user with enough features to get the work done.