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Linux tips and tweaks

Add extra features to Nautilus using scripts

Nautilus is the file and folder browser used with Linux systems that use the Gnome desktop and it basically carries out the same functions as Explorer in Windows or Finder on the Mac. Nautilus can be extended and new features can be added to it by using scripts. A script acts like an add-on or plug-in and it can potentially perform all sorts of useful tasks. In this article we will show where to find useful scripts, how to add them to Nautilus, and how to access them from within Nautilus. The script is a simple one and it opens a Terminal window in the current folder. It's often necessary to do this to execute some command line function, so a couple of clicks and Terminal opens just in the right place. It's brilliant.

Of course, you can write your own scripts, but who wants to be a programmer? Most people don't, so head on over to G-Script where you will find ready made scripts that perform all sorts of tasks. Here is a script that opens the Terminal window in the current directory. Select it, copy it, open Gedit or some other text editor, paste it in and save it to the desktop. Save the file as OpenTerminal (a nice descriptive name).

Open a Nautilus Window in your home folder - in Ubuntu, for example, click Places, Home Folder. Go to the View menu and tick Show hidden files. Now you can navigate to .gnome2/nautilus-scripts in your home folder. Drag the file you saved to the desktop into the .gnome2/nautilus-scripts folder, then right click it and select Properties from the menu. Go to the Permissions tab and tick the box labelled Allow executing file as program. (Of course, there are commands for setting files as executable, but why bother when there's a simple dialog?)

You can now close Nautilus - the job's done. If you ever want to open a Terminal window in a folder you are viewing in Nautilus, right click in an empty space in the Gnome window and select Scripts, OpenTerminal. It's simple!


Of course, you can put other scripts in the same folder and access them from the right click menu in the same way. Scripts is also added to the Nautilus File menu too. Although Ubuntu has been used in this example, it should work the same in any Linux distro that uses Gnome.

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