No matter that they were media darlings, the fact remains that they were creating...
*drumroll and fanfare*
... a file manager. Not a whole new desktop environment; not a new paradigm for user interaction. Not even a new level of internet integration. Simply, a file manager.
Not only that, but it was just an especially shiny clone of all the other file managers. It followed the same "one browser for looking at everything on your system and on the internet" approach that Microsoft pioneered with their Windows Explorer/Internet Explorer combination; and took it about as far as KDE had already taken it with Konqueror. Amazingly, despite the involvement of former Apple people, it didn't even clone any of the clever NeXT-ish features of OSX's new file manager, such as a "shelf" along the top or the Column View. It was an almost mindless clone of the existing file managers. Only much, much slower.
I kept wanting to be wowed by Nautilus. I'd read the announcements of new features and try to get excited about them...
Thumbnailing of HTML and text files, as well as images!
Ooh! Just like Konqueror... already... has.
Bonobo embedding, so that many documents can be viewed and edited inside the browser!
Neat! Oh yeah, Konq does that too. And the office components that Konq embeds are actually (relatively) stable software, rather than a vapor suite like OpenOffice.
*yawn*. Been there, done that.
Someday it might have command-line integration!
You mean like Konqueror and EFM already have?
The only feature I found really interesting was a user-level emulation of mac-style resource-forks for every file in your file system; allowing files to have comments, keywords, emblems, etc. associated with them. Unfortunately, I'm not really sold on this feature being best implemented in userland. With Nautilus' implementation, only programs that use Nautilus can access this extra information. I think this may be best implemented on an OS-level. And I'm not the only person who thinks this way, either.
I think the most amazing thing about Nautilus is how apparently intelligent people would suddenly turn into drooling, fawning idiots as soon as Nautilus came up; and would go on and on about features like the ones I've mentioned as if they were brand-new ideas. This was not revolutionary; it wasn't even evolutionary. It was just someone else's idea of the best way to implement a conventional file manager. Certainly not something to base a business's success or failure on.
Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against Nautilus. I like and use lot of GNOME software; and there's a very real possibility that a few versions down the road Nautilus will replace Konqueror as my standard file manager. I guess I'm just glad that Eazel has ceased to hog the spotlight. Maybe some genuinely innovative projects will get some press attention now.
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir