Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Splitting the Shell ...

... but hopefully without cracking it completely.

Some time ago, I read up on split view filebrowsing in Nautilus, Gnome's desktop shell. The requests, comments, discussions, polls, and flames fill endless bugreports, forums, ideas, articles, and mailing list threads. Well, I am one of those people that like Nautilus, but miss the split view capability during heavy duty filebrowsing jobs. I liked Norton Commander back in the old days, and its numerous successors. And I am not alone.

So, in the true spirit of Open Source, I finally got my hands dirty and got a shot at it. It's not completely finished, but in a state that allows for a screencast preview:

The code is hosted on github:
$ git clone git://
$ git checkout -b split-view origin/split-view

But will it blend? That is the question.

I am curious if that branch will make it upstream. If you'd like that, you can help with testing and reporting (both, failures and successful uses)! While the patch is UI-wise minimal-invasive, quite a lot of code had to be shoveled around, so I am happy about every tester.

(the beautiful shell picture is by giopuo, published on flickr under Creative Commons by & share alike)