Nautilus Guide/Notes

for the Gnome2 file-manager

'MATE' is a fork of Gnome2, and Caja is the MATE file-manager.
Some of these notes apply to MATE's Caja file-manager.

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Introduction :

Although you can often EVENTUALLY find answers to questions on how to do specific things in the Gnome2 Nautilus file-manager via Googling, I often forget how I did something --- how to get to a GUI interface window, what configuration file was edited, what changes were made to fix a problem, etc.

A lot of information found via web searches is out of date, so it is often necessary to try several things before finding a working solution. After reading about several different ways (often wrong ways) to do something, it becomes difficult to remember what actually worked.

These notes are mainly for my own reference --- for example, when I have to update an operating system and have to re-do many of the actions I performed on an earlier release.

Perhaps these notes will help others too. But be aware that these notes are not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial. They simply document some of the issues I have encountered with the Nautilus environment.

For some 'issues', there are links to helpful web pages, like computer forum pages. Because external web links frequently go dead, I will, ordinarily, extract the pertinent web page information into this page, to preserve the helpful information.

Since I seldom take copious notes at the time of dealing with an issue, these notes may be updated as I re-discover web links that I saved at the time of dealing with the issue.

How the notes are presented :

The notes are in groups chosen according to the issues I encountered. There is a table of contents below with links to the several groups of notes. You can use the Table of Contents (TOC), or simply scroll down this page.

Alternatively, for navigation, you can use the 'Find text' option of your web browser to look for keywords on this page. For example, if you are looking for information on sort issues, you could search for 'sort'.

The notes within each group (i.e. for each Nautilus topic) are usually in order chronologically --- that is, according to the order in which I encountered the issues.

The Environment :

My experiences with Nautilus come mainly from experiences with Ubuntu on my home computers. Why I chose Ubuntu is outlined in my Ubuntu Install Notes web page.

Table of Contents:   (sections below on this page or links to other pages)

End of Table of Contents. Start of install note sections.

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Many people have expressed frustration with the way Nautilus sorts files.

The order of files is different from what you see with the 'ls' command.

By default, in the 2000 to 2010 timeframe, Nautilus ignores special characters and leading zeros in filenames when sorting the files.

In many cases, this can make it hard to make a file appear where you want it in a directory listing. You can Google 'nautilus sort order' to see many examples of user frustration.

It turns out that you can make Nautilus sort more like the 'ls' command, by putting the command


in a '.gnomerc' file in your home directory. After restarting your computer, Nautilus will sort differently.

Many people do not have a '.gnomerc' file in their home directory. So you can use your favorite text editor to create it.

Here is an image with a couple of comment lines.

    ## To 'fix' the near-universally agreed-upon sort problems in Nautilus:
    ## namely, Nautilus ignores special characters and leading zeros.
    export LC_COLLATE=C

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must make the '.gnomerc' file executable before restarting your computer. You can use a command like

chmod 755 .gnomerc
chmod 700 .gnomerc
when in your home directory, in a gnome-terminal window. Or you can right-click the file in Nautilus, choose Properties > Permissions and make sure that owner access is set to Read-and-Write, and check the box labelled 'Allow executing file as program'.

If you get stuck on a Nautilus problem and are having trouble finding solutions in thousands of Google 'hits', you might try a search on the Ubuntu forums.

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Page was created 2010 Mar 10.
Page was changed 2010 Nov 05.
Page was changed 2017 May 30. (Added several links to the Table of Contents.)