Nautilus (file manager)

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Icon of Nautilus
Screenshot of Nautilus 3.10.1
Nautilus 3.10.1
Basic data

developer Gnome development team
Publishing year March 13, 2001
Current  version 3.37.1
( April 24, 2020 )
operating system GNU / Linux and other unix systems
programming language C.
category File manager
License GNU General Public License, version 3
German speaking Yes

Nautilus is a free file manager for Unix systems . It is the standard file manager of the Gnome desktop environment and is also simply called files . Its name is an allusion to the shell of the pearl boats . Nautilus was developed by the Eazel company.

In contrast to the Finder on Mac or Windows Explorer, the source code of the Nautilus file manager is freely available under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Nautilus replaced the file manager gmc and has been an integral part of the Gnome project since Gnome 1.4. Nautilus is configurable, offers system control functions, and supports various file types.

Fierce controversy led the introduced with version 2.6 conversion that new directories are opened in separate windows, the so-called spatial mode ( spatial mode ) rather than how (Browser mode or previously in the same window navigational mode called). This change was reversed with version 2.30.


Originally, Nautilus goes back to long-time Apple developer Andy Hertzfeld . To develop the package, he founded the software company eazel , Inc. According to his plans, the file manager itself should be free and free software , but integrate paid services that should ensure the company's income. Since the file manager gmc , a graphical variant of the Midnight Commander , which had been used in the Gnome desktop until then , was generally viewed as too unfashionable and not competitive with the Konqueror of the competing K Desktop Environment , eazel's plans were to create a modern control center for the free desktop , mostly welcomed. In the course of the dotcom bubble , Hertzfeld succeeded in acquiring around 15 million US dollars in start-up capital for its business model and using it for the development of Nautilus. In the company's announcements, Nautilus was not referred to as a “file manager” but as a “graphical shell ”. The exact meaning of this catchphrase remained unclear, but in practice it meant the embedding of extensive functionalities in the file manager, some of which duplicated the functionality of other components of the desktop, such as the embedding of Mozilla as a - functionally very limited - browser, the possibility of Subscribe to web feeds , view help pages, and play MP3 audio. Eazel also produced its own indexing service called Medusa for accelerated file searches . Nautilus even brought its own components for smoothing the screen fonts ( antialiasing ) on the desktop, as antialiasing was not yet implemented in the underlying toolkit Gtk 1.2.

Eazel's software catalog was also intended to enable the update of installed program packages from the file manager, which, however, duplicated the functionality of the respective distribution's own package management.

In addition, a connection to the planned eazel services was integrated, but only a free data storage device on the Internet, similar to Apple's iDisk, was implemented. Before the company was able to release version 1.0 of the program and offer paid services, the company had to file for bankruptcy and ceased operations on May 15, 2001. The further development of the program, which is under the GPL , was then taken over by volunteers from the Gnome developer community .

  • Version 1.0 was released in spring 2001 and was part of Gnome 1.4. After the announcements, which were generally felt to be very full-bodied, many users were disappointed with the product that was finally available. The reasons were, on the one hand, the enormous consumption of resources and the associated low working speed as well as the poor integration into the desktop.
  • Version 2.0 was a port to GTK 2.0. The speed of operation has already been significantly improved here, and some redundant functions have been removed from the program, such as the display of help pages. The trend towards purification continued in the subsequent versions. Hertzfeld was later disappointed with the path taken by the Gnome project and stated that his vision had not been realized.
  • Version 2.2 included a lot of changes to bring Nautilus into line with the Human Interface Guidelines (HIG).
  • Version 2.4 moved the "desktop" directory to ~ / Desktop (the tilde represents the "Home" directory) in order to be compatible with the standards of .
  • Version 2.6 - spatial mode became standard
  • Version 2.14 - Integration of the Beagle desktop search engine
  • Version 2.24 - availability of tabs (tabs)
  • Version 2.30 - Move from spatial mode back to browser mode as the default. In addition, a split view is introduced, which is similar to two-window file managers.
  • Version 3.4 - has been expanded to include an undo function
  • Version 3.6 - Renaming to Gnome Files, the interface has been significantly revised, new file views possible
  • Version 3.10 - title bar and toolbar have been merged
  • Version 3.18 - Native integration of Google Drive

See also

Web links

Commons : Nautilus (file manager)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. . (accessed on April 25, 2020).
  2. .
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  4. . (accessed on January 31, 2018).
  5. Introduction to the wiki article Nautilus. In: Ubuntuusers-Wiki., May 8, 2017, accessed July 28, 2017 .
  6. Gnome 2.30 release notes
  7. Jeff Harrell: Interview with Andy Hertzfeld. (No longer available online.) January 8, 2005, archived from the original on September 29, 2007 ; Retrieved July 17, 2008 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /