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Future of Nautilus in Ubuntu Discussed at UDS

Discussion on Ubuntu 13.04′s choice of default file manager was one of the headline sessions in the second day of the latest UDS.

Integration, design and accessibility issues were all raised during the 50 minute discussion, which centered around what Ubuntu needs to patch or re-add to the ‘new’ Nautilus for it to remain useful to Ubuntu users.

Of these ‘needs’, support for the HUD was focused on the most, with ways to re-enable a traditional App Menu in also high on the list of priorities.

Two solutions to these issues were put forward.

The first would see a patch applied to Nautilus to enable the HUD to access its menus, and another to re-enable a ‘standard’ desktop App Menu. This idea wasn’t the favoured method, and was described by one participant as ‘invasive’. It’s unlikely that this will be the chosen solution.

The second idea is to ‘export the GtkMenuButton to DBUS‘ so that the HUD can access its items. This would mean that the ‘cog’ menu GNOME introduced in place of traditional menus would remain in place.

Other Issues Raised

The loss of ‘type-ahead’ in upstream Nautilus was touched upon, leading one participant to quip: ‘That’s what the Dash does!’

Anxiety over future problems arising from GNOME’s move towards ‘touch-orientated’ interfaces were also expressed, including upcoming remval of Nautilus’ ability to draw the desktop. These fears were calmed when a GNOME developer assured they would be made available in separate packages.

Overall the mood throughout the discussion was upbeat and constructive. The attendees recognise that Nautilus is still the best all-round file manager available for Ubuntu and as such it makes sense to use it.

The coming months will see definitie decisions taken on the issues raised.

But for now we can feel assured that the loss of shortcuts, functionality, accessibility, and Ubuntu integration are being taken seriously.