I recently set up WebDAV on one of our Apache servers (using mod_dav) for some clients who use Adobe GoLive to maintain their website. So far, it is making life much easier for the maintainers than using ftp and trying to keep track of who was working on which files. One interesting side effect is that I’m trying to find a useful WebDAV client implementation for Linux. There are quite a few command line WebDAV clients but not much in the way of a GUI client yet. As I looked around for something I kept seeing hints that Nautilus could be used as a WebDAV client so I decided to give it a try. I’ve generally don’t use Nautilus much (I still find the old text-mode Midnight Commander faster and way more intuitive for most stuff – too bad it doesn’t support WebDAV!). Still, Nautilus has improved a great deal since the initial versions. For many tasks, it’s almost usable now.

Anway, the experience of trying to figure out the Nautilus implementation of WebDAV prompted me to post my findings and a few questions to the Nautilus mailing list in the hopes that some user feedback might help whoever is working on usability issues (and I was also hoping for some answer to the remaining questions I have). The post generated no replies or comments so I thought I’d mention it here in the hopes that someone else has some thoughts. And, if anyone knows of some other GPL, GUI WebDAV clients for Linux, I’d be interested.

In other news, I added Gary’s memory leak patch to the mod_virgule code running robots.net. Since one of the leaks was in the RSS code, which is one of our heavily used functions, this fix is a Good Thing.

New GNOME, Slow Nautilus

Time for another Mozilla upgrade – I’m posting this from Mozilla 0.9 and so far it seems to show the usual incremental improvement. There have been major performance improvements but there still need to be a few more before it’s ready for prime-time. The bookmark manager is still a bit slow and the initial start up is still slower than Netscape but there have been lots of bug fixes and the general responsiveness while browsing is greatly improved over 0.8.1.

I also upgraded GNOME on one of my boxes to Ximian GNOME v1.4. Mostly good with the exception of Nautilus which appears to be a complete waste. Nautilus sucks up huge amounts of memory but doesn’t appear to actually do anything except allow you to get a simple context menu on the desktop and a goofy folder-view of disk directories. The context menu is so slow that it’s virtually unusable (you click on it and nothing happens, you fire up an xterm and do a ps to look for the process to kill and about that time you see the menu option you clicked become hilighted, another 5 seconds or so and the menu option depresses and executes – making something that slow must have taken some work!).

The folder-view thing seems equally useless – it takes up a huge amount of real-estate and the icons are about 4 times larger than they need to be (not to mention that it took around two minutes to open and render for the root directory which has maybe a dozen files and directories to display). I killed all the processes that seemed to be Nautilus-related and GNOME has seemed pretty snappy ever since. I haven’t missed it and GNOME seems to run fine without it, so I guess it doesn’t do anything too important. Now I need to find a way to configure GNOME not to start Nautilus so I won’t have to kill it manually when I start up. Other than Nautilus, GNOME 1.4 seems to have plenty of improvements. The only other complaint I can come up with is that the panel at the top has a clock on it that isn’t removable for some reason (or at least I haven’t figured out how yet).

I was amused to see that Nautilus is so bad that it now has an entire mailing list devoted to flames about it.

robots.net got mentioned on a radio show called Computer Insider about a month ago. I wonder if anybody heard it? (I didn’t even know the radio show existed until I ran across their web site recently!)