The Nautilus File Manager could be considered the core of the GNOME Desktop Environment. It manages your desktop and organizes your files. I’m very partial to it having used it when it was a preview release from Eazel, Inc.

Some newer things I hadn’t been aware you could do (and I found by accident):

  • Type and Find: I don’t know if that’s what it’s called, but whenever you’re in a Nautilus window (or even an open or save dialog), go to the files area (you may have to click in there if it’s a dialog), and just start typing the filename you’re looking for. Nautilus automatically jumps to whatever you’re typing. Fantastic.
  • Regular Expression Search: Regular Expressions don’t come easily to me. I’ve gradually become more adept but I don’t think I’ll be able to handle this feature for a while. Still, when I pressed CTRL + S in a Nautilus window and it prompted me for a Regular Expression to filter the files by, I was very impressed.

One last thing I’ve added to my Nautilus experience is tagging. I noted on some sites that Nautilus could tag files with metadata but for some reason this feature doesn’t ship in Ubuntu. What this could mean is that you can tag a file that has to do with finances as ‘finances’ and then in your search mechanism, even though the file is named QuickBooks export and has nothing but numbers in it, when you search for finances it pulls that up. Months ago, I experimented on the Mac with using Quicksilver, Spotlight comments and Default Folder X to organize my files with metadata. I didn’t stick with it, but I really like the idea- if you’re interested I believe there were some video podcasts on tuaw.com about this.

I was very fortunate to find a set of instructions to enable tagging in Ubuntu. The how-to is for an older version of Ubuntu (we’re currently on Intrepid Ibex and this was for Gutsy Gibbon- 2 versions ago) but seems to work fine. The basics:

  1. Install python-nautilus package:sudo aptitude install python-nautilus
  2. Download “Tags-Tab”-Extension and move it to .nautilus/python-extensions (you may have to create this folder)
  3. Restart Nautilus:
    Alt+F2 and type in killall nautilus

Now you can start tagging files and folders. Simply right-click on the item you want to tag, go to the “Tag”-tab and insert your tags.

tracker-tags-tab.py

tracker-tags-tab.py (local mirror)

Approximating the Spotlight search tool, I installed the Deskbar Applet and can find my tagged files like a charm. I wonder if it works in GNOME Do…