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A Sneak Peek at Nautilus from Eazel - page 6

GNOME, Eazel, and the Creative Process

  • September 8, 2000
  • By Michael Hall

If our walk through Nautilus seems less than complete, that's because it's still a tough package to evaluate fairly for day-to-day use. As mentioned, we experienced stability issues from time to time even when using the official preview release and not the developers' binaries we've been tracking.

On the other hand, there's a lot to like. We were impressed with the flexibility offered in simple file display, and felt like the provided cues to users in terms of options for handling each file will likely be helpful for novices without making experienced users feel like their interface is being cluttered with excessive hand-holding.

The convenience features found in the sidebar can be turned off, which is something for which we're grateful: Nautilus' functionality as a basic file manager won't be impeded by their absence if users choose that.

The real goal of projects like GNOME, though, isn't as much in pleasing experienced users as it is in providing an easy point of entry for newer users. It's understood that Linux veterans have probably customized their X experience to their liking without the sort of iconized, point-and-click simplicity it's believed Windows and Mac users prefer.

As a basic resource for manipulating their computing environment, we believe Nautilus will provide an excellent tool for novice users. Experienced users might not care if they can easily install a package from their file manager, but by having a tool on hand that not only reminds the newbie of what an RPM is, but offers an immediate option for its use, Nautilus is providing a bridge into the uncharted waters Linux represents to new users. Similar "instant results" features abound in Nautilus, all providing an opportunity for novices to learn by doing without offering many hazards.

Once coupled with Eazel's planned services, we believe the Nautilus/GNOME combination will provide yet another strong argument for Linux on the desktop. That's a fight that's being waged in more areas than file managers and desktop environments, and GNOME is hardly the only game in town, but we're eager to see this project in day-to-day use.

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