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Replacing Nautilus



I've been reading this list for a while, but only joined recently because I
somehow missed that subscription was open. I wish I'd joined earlier,
because there were times I wanted to offer solutions. I'll have to start by
offering a problem.

Nautilus has been becoming less useful with each release. One of the most
recent offenses to all taste and sensibility was the removal of the
background setting options for folders. I believe emblem settings were
removed at the same time with the unfortunate side effect of my temporarily
emblem-marked folders becoming permanently so.

Nautilus was never really complete. It's never had a Miller column mode.
Its spatial mode didn't have the toolkit or window manager support to work
properly: missing were at least proper focus handling and something like
_NET_WM_URL for a title bar path menu. The file property panels were in
many cases anemic. While emblems allowed some distinction, a tweak to the
icon color would have allowed distinctions that carried over into the modes
with smaller icons. The views for collections were never well developed and
seem to have been dropped altogether. Probably a hundred other things that
could have been done were not done. It seems headed to becoming one of the
worst file selection dialogs I've ever seen; I expect a "Close" button in
the bottom right corner any day now.

Mainstream GNOME has all but abandoned Nautilus in favor of single-purpose
applications. That could be just an implementation detail, but I don't
think I've seen the kind of cohesion that you'd get from a good workplace
shell, like Nautilus could have been. Unity development seems to be
proceeding on the premise that a file manager is not needed. While files
and folders may not be the best way for me to organize my work, I really
can't afford to hire a design and programming team to create the special
purpose applications I need. I'll have to settle for the UNIX philosophy of
using good single-purpose tools together to "roll my own" applications, but
the available desktop environments don't seem to support that. GNUstep
probably does, but there's too big of a "get it working right" curve for
me. KDE might, but I can't use it for very long without getting dizzy and
nauseated from all the roll-over effects. XFCE seems to have broken Gtk+ to
achieve a look-and-feel on par with Xaw3d; maybe I just tried a buggy
release? GNOME's single-purpose applications are not the same thing as
single-purpose tools. And, really, only Unity has gotten rid of all the
extra menu bars and put the one in the place where it belongs.

As I see it, there's a need for Unity to have it's own file manager. I
haven't seen any designs for this, at least none I liked enough to
remember. Is anyone else giving this any thought? What's going to replace

Needing at least a proper folder system,

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