Thunar can be used to replace Nautilus within the Ubuntu desktop for some operations, although bear in mind that Nautilus windows will still appear sometimes, such as when using Nautilus CD-R/DVD Creator.
Follow these steps to switch to Thunar:
- Start Synaptic, and search for and install the thunar and thunar-archive-plugin packages. After installation, you can run Thunar by typing thunar in a terminal window.
- To cause Thunar to open whenever you click an entry in the Places menu, you’ll need to edit a configuration file: open a terminal window, and type the following:
- Scroll to the bottom of the file, and look for the line that reads Exec=nautilus
--no-desktop %U. Change it so it reads Exec=thunar %U. Then save the file, log out and back in again, and test the changes by selecting Places
gksu gedit /usr/share/applications/nautilus-folder-handler.desktop
This tip works equally well for any alternative file manager. Others you might like to try are Konqueror (KDE’s file manager), Dolphin (KDE4’s file manager), and Rox-filer, a stripped-down file manager that is extremely lightweight. Just use Synaptic to search for and install konqeuror, doplhin, or rox-filer, respectively. When altering the earlier nautilus-folder-handler.desktop file to make Rox-filer the default, change the line to read Exec=rox-filer, without the %U; Dolphin and Konqueror still require the %U after the command. Note that Rox-filer’s configuration is carried out by right-clicking a blank spot in its program window. It doesn't use a traditional menu system, like most application windows.
If you want a lightweight command-line file manager, install Midnight Commander (search for and install the mc package using Synaptic). Then type mc at the prompt to start the program. Once it's started, hit Alt+1, use the cursor keys to highlight Contents, and then hit Enter. This will display the help file explaining how to use the program. If you ever used Norton Commander back in the days of DOS, you'll find Midnight Commander very familiar, because it's modeled on that product.
To go back to using Nautilus after installing Thunar (or Konqueror/Dolphin/Rox-Filer), just edit the nautilus-folder-handler.desktop file again, and change the line you edited to read Exec=nautilus
--no-desktop %U (note there are two dashes before no-desktop). Then save the file, and log out and back in again.
This is an extract from the new book Ubuntu Kung Fu, which was published last week and contains over 300 fun and useful tips, tricks, hints and hacks for Ubuntu users. Written by award-winning Linux author Keir Thomas, it's available at all good bookstores and also in PDF format for a recession-busting $22.