Sunday, January 02, 2005

Gnome in the year 2004
hide | show
Now 2004 is definitely to be considered 'past', it's a great time to look at what the gnome community offered us in the last 12 months. The past year brought us 2 splendid Gnome releases. (As we all know, the Gnome community satisfies us every 6 months with a new version.)
Gnome 2.6 surprised us with a new - I certainly call it new ;) - way of managing our files, called "spatial nautilus". I remember those forums and mailinglists getting spammed by messages like "I could do the same with my Windows-box back in '95" or "y00 suX0r5 goin' back in time", posted by some {mostly other desktop-software using} wacko who read no more then 1 review that was written by an even worse {other-desktop- OR l}user that didn't manage his/her files for more then 2 hours spatially basicly because (s)he couldn't bare it anymore that the hovered files' names weren't underlined! :D Yes, I do exaggerate; my apologies to the hurt souls, and no, I don't want to reanimate any flamewar :). I must confess one of the first things I did after upgrading my Gnome desktop to the new and shiny 2.6-edition was loading the gconf configuration editor and activating the "allways use browser" setting. I wasn't sure about the benefits of spatial browsing and silently hoped that Gnome 2.8 would ship with that option on as default. Time changed and so did I (I think after reading the first review with a positive comment on the spatial metafor) and I *in a melodic mood* "can't stop loving" this more intuitive and quicker way of browsing my filesystem. I promise I'll write an article about "how to use spatial nautilus" soon because I still think there still are some lost Gnome-using souls that didn't see the light yet as you can't use spatial nautilus and keep on thinking the same way about file-management. You really need to order your files another way; More about that later!
Gnome 2.6 also came with a "Computer" icon on the desktop giving us direct acces to our main filesystem, other harddisks, removable media and network-resources; we adore the network-transparency this Gnome release featured and that matured even more in the following Gnome release. 2.6 was also the first version to use the new GTK filechooser that followed the same path as Nautilus, intiutivity and simplicity! The other improvements in Gnome 2.6 were less world-shocking but made are lives simpler; a nifty network-applet, a simpler way to manage background-images, an all-in-one keyboard-shortcuts-settings-dialog, a greatly ameliorated FTP-viewer and a bunch of accesibility improvements.

Spatial Nautilus:
Gnome 2.6 release notes.
Click on the image to read the Gnome 2.6 release notes.

Gnome 2.8 came on the 15th of september and blinded us with an even more integrated and overall improved desktop environment. Many reviews covered the new mimesystem, but we also enjoy the Apple's RendezVous-like DNS based service-detection that makes our nautilus magically 'see' all the services on our local network, the built-in VNC server/client tools, the Gnome-System-Tools, the other great improvements to the usability and last but not least the Evolution mail/contacts/calender-program becoming a completely integrated part of the Gnome desktop.

The new mimesystem:
Gnome 2.8 release notes.
Click on the image to read the Gnome 2.8 release notes.

(EDIT: this page explains the new gnome 2.8 stuff in detail)

My "Gnome-tip of the day": to open a location in nautilus with focus on the desktop, press Alt-F2 and type the location, you'll see there's tab-completition! In spatial nautilus you can also get a location input-field by pressing Ctrl-L, have fun! (EDIT: This read "Alt-L" before, thanks vincent for reporting this error.)




Anonymous Anonymous knowledgely replied ...

I agree with you; what do you think of gtkfilesel on Nautilus?

2:57 PM, January 02, 2005  
Blogger Karel Demeyer knowledgely replied ...


Thanks for commenting on my blog. The idea you propose seems interesting and useful, but I don't think it's the best thing to do though. Nautilus now has a really clean and simple interface, and the one you just proposed makes the nautilus-windows that big that the spatial-thing wouldn't work anymore. The fileselector isn't "spatial" neither. As I promlised, I'll write an article soon about "how to use spatial nautilus" cause I think there still are people that don't get it the right way :-) Maybe I'll blog about this if I have enough to say about it. The mockup (screenshot of patched nautilus ?) mentioned on the forum ( is a bit TOO cluttered. why are there those zoom-buttons and "view as" combobox ? those things are in the view menu and should have shortcut-keys if you use them that much. Like zooming in/out with Shift+mousewheel shouldbe great (I did a feature request for this ;)).
The places are also in a menu yet but I think it would be great to have 'm in a side-pane too to be able to drag favorite places in it and to click 'm quickly.


3:10 PM, January 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous knowledgely replied ...

I can't disagree more on spatial Nautilus. As much as the OS/2 WPS was a killer app, I was glad to get rid of it's spatial browsing back in 1995 with the arrivial of Stardock's Object Desktop. With the arivial of spatial Nautilus in 2004 I became an ex-Gnome user. What were they thinking?

2:57 PM, January 05, 2005  
Blogger Karel Demeyer knowledgely replied ...

De gustibus et coloribus non disputandem est.
This is latin for "you can't argue about colors and tasts". I like you have an opinion and share it with us, but you don't have to hate gnome for this, ain't it ? You can disable the spatial feature easily in nautilus by selecting Edit > Preferences, clicking on the second and chosing "allways use browser". Still, I think you maybe not know about the power of spatial nautilus. I already have a draft for an article about spatial nautilus, but I guess it will be for february as I have exams soon.
I hope are different opinions won't make you stop reading by blog :)
Thanks for the comment!

3:12 PM, January 05, 2005  
Blogger Vincent knowledgely replied ...

The shortcut to the location dialog in nautilus is Ctrl-L and not Alt-L.

8:36 PM, January 05, 2005  
Blogger Karel Demeyer knowledgely replied ...

Thank you very much for the correction, that was a bad 'typo' ;). I just didn't think about it :), I mostly just use hotkeys without knowing anymore which keys I'm pressing. I'll edit it in the article asap.

8:43 PM, January 05, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home