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Screenshot of GNOME Files 3.14
Developer(s) GNOME
Initial release March 13, 2001 (2001-03-13)
Stable release 3.18 (September 23, 2015 (2015-09-23)[1])
Preview release 3.19.1 (October 28, 2015 (2015-10-28)) [2]
Written in C (GTK+)
Operating system Unix-like
Platform GNOME
Available in Multilingual
Type File manager
License GNU Lesser General Public License
Website /Nautilus/

GNOME Files, formerly called 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 (2001)[3] and has been the default from version 2.0 onwards.

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


  • History 1
  • Features 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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,[4] and incorporated into GNOME 1.4.[5]
  • 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 standards.
  • In the version included with GNOME 2.6, Nautilus switched to a spatial interface.[6] 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.[7][8]
  • With the release of GNOME 2.22, Nautilus was 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.
  • With GNOME 2.30, Nautilus reverted from a spatial interface to a browser navigational model[9] by default.
  • The 2.32 release introduced a dialog for handling conflicts when performing copy or move operation, transparency icon effect when cutting files into folder and enhanced the Wastebucket with Restore files.[10] Besides, this is the last version that is based on GTK2 before the move to GNOME 3.0 with GTK3.
  • GNOME 3.0 completely revamped the UX of Nautilus with focus on neat and elegant element like the sidebar and icons. Additionally, the Connect to Server dialog is also enhanced.[11] Nautilus was ported to GTK3.
  • Version 3.4 added Undo functionality.[12]
  • Version 3.6 introduced a revamped UI design, symbolic sidebar icon, new search feature, removal of many features such as setting window background, emblems, split pane mode, spatial mode, scripts, compact view mode and tree view. Nautilus' application name was renamed to Files.[13] These major changes led to a lot of criticism, and various vendors such as Linux Mint decided to fork version 3.4.[14][15]
  • Version 3.8 included a new option to view files and folders as a tree, a new Connect to Server item in the sidebar and incremental loading of search results.[16]
  • Version 3.10 introduced a slightly revamped UI design in which titlebars and toolbars were merged into a single element called header bars.


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

Bookmarks, window backgrounds, 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.

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.

Nautilus embeds MetaTracker.

In earlier versions, Nautilus included original vectorized icons designed by Susan Kare.[17]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ GNOME 2.30 release notes
  10. ^ GNOME 2.32 release notes
  11. ^ GNOME 3.0 release notes
  12. ^ GNOME 3.4 release notes
  13. ^ GNOME 3.6 release notes
  14. ^ Linux Mint team forks Nautilus
  15. ^ Introducing Nemo
  16. ^ Updates to GNOME Applications
  17. ^

External links

  • Project home page
  • Introduction to spatial Nautilus
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