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)


  1. Hi Holger,

    So that's why you have been so silent lately:-)

    I will give it a shot and return back with my comments.

    First impression:, man this is a slow repository
    Receiving objects: 38% (40116/103787), 41.04 MiB | 37 KiB/s

  2. It will have to wait until Debian Sid is transformed to Gnome 2.24 (presently at Gnome 2.22). The version of Nautilus does not compile on Gnome 2.22 and it will never be possible to do that:-\

  3. THis rocks !
    I love it.

    The integration into the GUI is discret enough.
    THe detractors of this change cannot tell this messes up the interface.
    This is sobber and efficient.

    I can't wait to see it integrated in official releases.

  4. Very good idea! any news about its integration ?