I’m always losing files in my immense collection of accumulated documents and structures of folders, which have for a long time become slightly less than contextual. Lurking in many depths of paths structured as per; /home/karl/Miscellaneous/Misc/Other/Stuff/Old Stuff/Things from before/A long time ago/ are useful files I barely remember creating.
VFolders - Links to video
With tracker, and fster we’re edging toward a solution to making everything accessible without the pain of sorting. Using these tools we can build semantic fuse file system. Still in it’s early stages and with lots of features to come, take some time to try it out!
Installing Tracker+Fster VFolders
Install Tracker 0.7.24, for ubuntu users there’s a nice PPA available;
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tracker-team/tracker-unstable
If you’re using another distribution you can follow the build instructions found here.
If you’re using ubuntu you can install the fster deb file straight from their website.
If you’re using another distribution, or are on amd64 like me you’ll need to build fster, in order to do this you’ll need the following packages;
- cmake >= 2.8.0
- fuse >= 2.8.1 (2.7.4 seems OK)
- tracker-client >= 0.7.24
- libxml2 >= 2.7.4
Then follow the build and install instructions as per the fster website; You may need to make /etc/fuse.conf readable by all after install as it seems to be created with 640 permissions.
Using Tracker+Fster VFolders
You need to make sure that tracker has started indexing everything, generally running tracker-control -s will get that off the ground, you can also re-log-in in order to start tracker with the GNOME session.
Start up fster by running
fster /path/to/virtual/Virtual/ -d -c /path/to/fster_media_library.xml, ../conf/fster_media_library.xml from your build folder if you built it yourself, not sure where this file is in the deb, please someone let me know if they use it on i386
Now you can browse all of your videos, pictures and music via the semantic data store. Obviously this is just a starting block, and much work needs to be done in the future, for instance figuring out which folders to auto-generate within each folder based on the common relationships of the items, creating folders resulting in sub-queries and features of that nature to be added.
Even now I see a lot of potential in taking this route forward to improving the usability of the file system and nautilus.
GNOME3 and the future of the file system
Nautilus is, as has been previously mentioned due an overhaul. In order to allow Tracker+Fster to exist on GNOME nicely, and be used in Nautilus I propose we focus on improving how devices appear in nautilus, and allowing devices to specify their position, and function in the sidebar, as well as using configurable icons, emblems, backgrounds and other existing features to improve their functionality.
We should consider making the default bookmarks and the appearance of devices and bookmarks more configurable for folders and devices. For instance certain fuse devices might want to appear as default bookmarks as in replacing the home folder with vfolders, these devices or folders could also specify whether or not they wish to display the mount/unmount button. The separators, the positioning, grouping and spacing of the places are all artificially imposed at present. If concentrate on improving these things we can introduce fuse filesystems as first class citizens in nautilus.
By concentrating on the fuse/device integration with nautilus rather than a specific filesystem add-on inside the nautilus UI we keep nautilus small and unbundled from the data store and allow for other fuse filesystems like GNOME Activity Journal with Fuse to benefit from the same improvements.
I also think we need to do more in order to detect types of devices and include more device icons, e.g. iPods, Phones, Cameras, Memory cards, and other attached storage devices can have device icons and it would be great if we could try and utilise any and all available icons appropriately, like the icons available in places like Quantum Bits. Using icons and branding, watermarked backgrounds and emblems in nautilus along side the device, bookmark or folder improves the connection between what the words represent and the function of the item. Dropbox is very good at integrating into Nautilus using emblems, and there’s no reason that other folders and fuse file systems can’t achieve the same level of usability with features already present in Nautilus.