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2013-05-25

First week impressions of Fedora 18 and Gnome 3.6 (including the abomination called Nautilus)

Recently I got a new-ish computer and set about dual booting it with Fedora 18.

To be honest, I never purposely meant to leave Windows years ago, it just happened over time due to slow attrition.  At the time, around five years ago, I had picked up a spare PC so threw Fedora 13 on it after looking at a handful of Linux Distros.  Though most of my friends went the Ubuntu route, I chose Fedora mainly because it was branched from RHEL and at the time many of the servers I was working with were using CentOS (which is a RHEL branch also, but for servers).

The new computer sat on my coffee table,  and I tinkered with Linux as I watched television in the evenings.  After a time, I was doing almost everything on Linux.  Being a tinkerer all my life, being able to get under the hood and tweak the system to act how I wanted drew me in to the point that the only thing I use Windows for anymore is gaming, and Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator.  (Wine is alright, but can be a bit flaky running them, which is not good when you are on a deadline.)

My last system was running Fedora 16, which had its quirks to say the least.  So far I have found Fedora 18 with Gnome 3.6 to be pretty similar.  The usual amount of tweaking, and installing things I need, along with customizing the dark themes I prefer.

The only major gripe was with Gnome 3.6, which has been echoed by users of every Linux Distro who had the misfortune of of using that GUI.  Well that is not entirely fair, I do appreciate the cleanness of this version of Gnome. But they seem to be on the path of making things so amazingly stupid-proof and following the latest fad that 'even your desktop computer and laptop should act exactly like an ipad!!!!' frame of thought that many options for setting your system up how you like are not possible now.

Where this is glaringly obvious is in the abomination that is the latest version of Nautilus -- which is their file browser/explorer.  There were two aspects of Gnome 3.6 that made it unusable for me.  First was how it displayed dates.  In the previous version you had many options.  This time around you could only display the date like they wanted, which looking at a folder could look something like this:


I work with an amazingly large number of files, across multiple volumes, and have always shown them in ISO format (2013-05-13 20:25) because with different versions of a design sometimes just minutes apart on the same day it just makes life easier.

Also missing from Nautilus was the bottom status bar showing how much free space was available on the volume you were looking at.  Pretty handy feature when you are low on space, or need to know at a quick glance if the file will fit on that flash drive.  But no.  Just gone.  Gnome deleted the abilities right out of the code.

Needless to say I spent several sleepless nights trying to find a way to make Nautilus work like it used to.  Then I happened upon this post talking about a fork of Gnome's Nautilus that kept all the functionality of the previous version humorously (to me) named Nemo:
 Nemo was very easy to implement with a simple yum install, and associating/replacing via alacarte was painless.  And now I can display the date how I want, and see how much free space is left.



I actually left Nautilus on my system because this version of Nemo does not have the file-roller to uncompress/compress files via the right-click context menu.  But that is really a small annoyance that is quickly solved by typing 'nautilus' in a terminal then closing it out when done.

Other than that rather blatant misstep by Gnome my experience on Fedora 18 so far has been pretty good so far.

[Edit:  Added image of Nemo showing date and free space.]