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Nautilus file manager
Nautilus icon.svg
Screenshot of Nautilus 2.24.1
Developer(s) GNOME
Initial release March 13, 2001 (2001-03-13)
Stable release 2.28.1  (2009-10-20; 2 months ago) [+/−]
Preview release 2.27.92

 (2009-09-7; 4 months ago)

Written in C
Operating system Unix-like
Platform GNOME
Available in multilingual
Type File manager
License GNU Lesser General Public License
Website Nautilus File Manager

Nautilus is the official file manager for the GNOME desktop. The name is a play on words, evoking the shell of a nautilus to represent an operating system shell. Nautilus replaced Midnight Commander in GNOME 1.4 and was the default from version 2.0 onwards.

Nautilus was the flagship product of the now-defunct Eazel Inc. Released under the GNU Lesser General Public License, Nautilus is free software.



Nautilus was first released in 2001 and development has continued ever since. The following is a brief timeline of its development history:

  • Version 1.0 was released on March 13, 2001,[1] and incorporated into GNOME 1.4.[2]
  • Version 2.0 was a port to GTK+ 2.0.
  • Version 2.2 included changes to make it more compliant with User Interface Guidelines.
  • Version 2.4 switched the desktop folder to ~/Desktop (the ~ represents the user's "Home" folder) to be compliant with standards.
  • In the version included with GNOME 2.6, Nautilus switched to a spatial interface[3]. The "classic" interface is still available by a filing cabinet shaped icon, by an option in the "Edit -> Preferences -> Behavior" menu in Nautilus, in a folder's context menu, and by using the "--browser" switch when started by a command via a launcher or shell. Several Linux distributions have made "browser" mode the default.
  • GNOME 2.14 introduced a version of Nautilus with improved searching, integrated optional Beagle support and the ability to save searches as virtual folders.[4][5]
  • With the release of GNOME 2.22, Nautilus has been ported to the newly introduced GVFS, the replacement virtual file system for the aging GnomeVFS.
  • The 2.24 stable release of Nautilus adds some new features, mainly tabbed browsing and better tab completion.


Nautilus supports browsing local filesystems as well as filesystems available through the GVFS system, including FTP sites, Windows SMB shares, ObexFTP protocol often implemented on cellphones, Files transferred over shell protocol, HTTP and WebDAV servers and SFTP servers.

Bookmarks, window backgrounds, emblems, notes, and add-on scripts are all implemented, and the user has the choice between icon, list, or compact list views. In browser mode, Nautilus keeps a history of visited folders, similar to many web browsers, permitting easy access to previously visited folders.

Nautilus can display previews of files in their icons, be they text files, images, sound or video files via thumbnailers such as Totem. Audio files are previewed (played back over GStreamer) when the pointer is hovering over them.

For its own interface, Nautilus includes original vectorized icons designed by Susan Kare.[6]

With the use of the GIO library, Nautilus tracks modification of local files in real time, eliminating the need to refresh the display manually. GIO internally supports Gamin and FAM, Linux's inotify, and Solaris' File Events Notification system.

See also


  1. ^ Michael Hall (March 15, 2001). "Review: Nautilus 1.0: Has Eazel Earned Its Place in GNOME?". LinuxPlanet. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  2. ^ GNOME (April 2, 2001). "GNOME 1.4 Released - Desktop Environment Boasts Power, Stability, Polish and Integration". GNOME press release. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  3. ^ Murray Cumming (March 31, 2004). "What's New In GNOME 2.6". GNOME. Retrieved 2006-12-24.  
  4. ^ Davyd Madeley (March 15, 2006). "GNOME 2.14 : What's New For Users". GNOME. Retrieved 2006-12-24.  
  5. ^ Alexander Larsson (December 7, 2005). "Seek and Ye Shall Find". Alexander Larsson's blog. Retrieved 2006-12-24.  
  6. ^ "Nautilus' contributors". GNOME. 2004. Retrieved 2007-10-31.  

External links

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