Over in the development land of Ubuntu 12.10, a new version of the ‘new Nautilus’ has landed – bringing with it yet another feature removal. 

For years I have approached changing my desktop wallpaper in the same way: right click on the desktop and choose ‘Change Desktop background’.

But in the ‘new nautilus‘ – version 3.6 – this feature is, like the many, many others, gone.

New Nautilus

Now, in all fairness, the removal of this feature makes sense… in GNOME-Shell. There Nautilus isn’t used to ‘handle the desktop’.

But the removal doesn’t take into account the many LInux distributions, which includes Ubuntu, that are built upon GNOME but following its touch-centric and pared back GNOME OS design vision.

And so the question that is now being asked by developers and users alike is: Should Ubuntu revert to an older version of Nautilus to keep this feature, and the many others hacked out?

Ubuntu wouldn’t be the only flavour of Linux that Nautilus 3.6 has fallen foul of. Just this week the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint announced plans to fork Nautilus 3.4 inorder to preserve its feature set for their users.

“Thinking of going back”

In a bug report querying a missing ‘About’ menu item in Nautilus 3.6, Ubuntu developer Sebastien Bacher responded with this:

We are looking at going back to nautilus 3.4 for quantal but it’s good to have a good view of the issues with the new version.

Interesting stuff. He continues:

I’m leaning toward shipping both version in the archive for quantal with 3.4 on the CD and discussing at UDS the way forward based on the feedback nautilus 3.6 and other filemanagers got.

A choice of two versions? I’m not au fait with how the technical side of that would play out, but choice is good.

But longer term, what does Ubuntu plan to do? Bacher says:

We might decide to follow GNOME, try joining efforts with the marlin or nemo team to maintain a full featured file manager or maintain our own filemanager

Bacher admits that this latter options, possibly the one that would please most people, is the ‘less likely’ of options, noting that it hasn’t been a topic raised within the development team before.

Would you prefer to see Nautilus 3.4 shipped instead of the “Immediately Useful” 3.6 build?

gnome3 Nautilus quantal