Ubuntu: Can't Organise a File Manager in a Brewery

Yes, it's that time again. I've loaded the Ubuntu 13.04 Raring beta and guess what Canonical's decided to break this time? The tree view is gone in the Nautilus: the file manager can no longer display an expanded or collapsed of the file hierarchy. Which means that Nautilus is pretty well crippled if you want to use it for moving or copying files around different levels of folders.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu is based on Linux, not the iPod: it is still firmly hierarchical and you need to do a lot moving and categorising collections of files when tidying up your file system hierarchy. Which I do a lot.

Perhaps I'm a dinosaur for using Tree view, but just setting up a new install and bringing data across and I'm finding it difficult to manage the file system without it. So why remove it?

I understand this came from upstream Gnome development - the upstream decision was quickly reversed, and tree view is back in version Nautilus 3.7.90 (available in the Gnome3 PPAs).

Sadly, Canonical has chosen to bundle version 3.6.3. No tree view. You can look for it in the Preferences and in the config files. It isn't there.

You may jump, as I did to dconf-tools, the Gnome settings editor. There's no key to edit. There is no tree view key anywhere.

If you load up Nautilus from the Gnome 3 ppa's, you can just enable it under Preferences>Display>Navigate folders in a tree. In dconf-editor you get the key to play with: org.gnome.nautilus.list-view.use-tree-view true

But the gsettings and the preference are only available in Nautilus 3.7 or higher.

So how many folks are going to come to 13.04 and waste their time trying to find yet another feature that has been 'de-proved' out of existence? Is this just a versioning issue? Will we get it back or has Canonical decided that this is another feature that's too complicated for us simple-minded buffoons to use properly? Or has someone just take their eye off the ball? Sometimes it's hard to decide which is worse - ineptitude or willfulness?

You could load other file managers such as Thunar, but they don't integrate as well into the Unity interface as Nautilus. Not a problem for me as I don't use Unity. I've tried again. It's horrid.

Sigh. RC


  1. holy CRAP this pissed me off. I'll be enabling the gnome 3 ppa's after dinner...might be helpful to add a "how to add gnome 3 ppa's" on the end of the article to help anyone who finds this (it was the number 1 article when i googled " tree view file manager ubuntu 13.04"


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