Speedier Nautilus We noticed a speed increase in GNOMEs Nautilus file manager compared with the previous version. Also, the 2.2 release of Nautilus sometimes complained of "too many files" when opening a folder with thousands of items, a limitation that this new version doesnt have.We were pleased to see that Nautilus now supports simultaneous editing of properties of multiple files, something thats handy when setting permissions on groups of files. Were still waiting to see better clipboard support in GNOMEtext copied to the clipboard disappears once a user closes the application it came from. GNOME now stores desktop files and icons in a home folder directory called Desktop; KDE behaves in the same way. GNOME had previously stored these files in a separate, hidden directory called .gnome-desktop. This change will help users who switch between the two environments keep their desktops integrated. GNOMEs set of system tools for configuration tasks such as setting date and time, managing users, and configuring network connections are not part of the 2.4 release. For most users, however, these sorts of tools are provided by their Linux vendor, and distributors such as SuSE, MandrakeSoft S.A. or Red Hat are in a better position to provide configuration tools that are well- integrated with the operating system. The file chooser dialog in GNOME 2.4 is just as Spartan and unfriendly as it was in Version 2.2; a new dialog will accompany Version 2.4 of GTK+, the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) Toolkit, which is due in November. Until then, users can find a nicer version of the file dialog in Ximians GNOME release or check out the GTK+ patch, which is available at members1.chello.nl/~h.lai/ gtkenhancements. GNOME includes Epiphany as its default Web browser in lieu of Galeon, which impressed us when we tested it along with Ximian Desktop. Both browsers are based on Mozilla code, but Epiphany aims to offer a more spare, GNOME-integrated browsing option. GNOME 2.4 boasts a number of accessibility and assistive technology features, such as the Gnopernicus screen reader and magnifier and the GNOME Onscreen Keyboard. During tests, we werent able to get the screen reader working properlythe voice that squeaked out of our speakers was unintelligible. However, we have experienced success in the past with the open-source Festival Speech System that Gnopernicus uses. Discuss this in the eWeek forum. Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at jason_ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Startup notification, where the cursor changes shape to indicate that a file has been launched, appeared in the last release of GNOME, but it was supported on a per- application basis. Now Nautilus supports startup notification when launching files from the file manager or the desktopa basic user interface whose absence can be confusing for any user.