How to replace Nautilus with Nemo file manager on Ubuntu or Pop! _OS Gnome Desktop (Complete Guide)

Nemo(The default Cinnamon file manager) is far superior to Gnome’s default file application (Nautilus) in terms of functionality. Nemo was Bifurcation Removed from Nautilus 3.4, so it includes features removed from Nautilus, such as double panel (split view), list view, configurable toolbar, and pre-entry search (type to select files instead of using full search) . Some features were added later, such as the plugin manager.
The problem with Nemo is that it is specifically designed for the Cinnamon desktop, and it will cause some annoyance/inconvenience when used on other desktop environments (such as Gnome).
This article attempts to address these inconveniences and, where possible, suggests solutions for Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, and 19.04 (Gnome desktop) to take full advantage of Nemo and integrate it properly with the desktop. Please note that on Ubuntu 19.10 using the Nemo package from the Ubuntu repository, the theming issue has disappeared.
This article also applies to users who want to run Nemo as a file manager and use the GNOME Shell desktop (eg Pop!_OS) to run Ubuntu-based Linux distributions.

Nemo file manager on Ubuntu 18.04 desktop (Gnome)

The functions available in the Nemo file manager are not present/different in Nautilus (Gnome files) including:

  • Enter search in advance (type to select file instead of using full search)
  • Double panel view (open another panel when using F3 key)
  • Sidebar tree view
  • Configurable toolbar (you can show or hide most toolbar elements)
  • Show free disk space in the status bar
  • Rename in place (instead of using a pop-up window like the most recent Nautilus version)
  • Separate archive creation/extraction window instead of integrating it in the toolbar as in recent Nautilus versions
  • Many other small but useful features

In addition to this, there are some additional features that were implemented after Nemo forked from Nautilus, such as the plugin manager (which allows you to easily enable or disable extensions, scripts and operations), an enhanced “open with” dialog Box, “Open as root” and “Terminal” context menu items and many others.

Nemo plugin manager
Nemo and its plugin manager on Ubuntu 18.04

Nemo desktop processing is also easier to customize than Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, or 19.04 (although it is still available in Ubuntu, the desktop processing is removed from Nautilus upstream) because it allows changing the size of desktop icons and arranging icons horizontally or vertically. .
If you need some of these features, and are ready to Pop! _OS or Ubuntu 18.04 / 18.10 / 19.04 / 19.10 On the Gnome desktop, replace Nautilus with Nemo, please continue reading this article. Everything in this article is optional, so, for example, if you don’t want to use Nemo to draw desktop icons, you can continue to use Nautilus (but doing so will use some additional resources).

How to install Nemo File Manager (and Nemo extension) in Ubuntu (or Pop!_OS) 18.04, 18.10, 19.04 or 19.10

Nemo 3.6.5 in Pop! _OS/Ubuntu 18.04 is available in the repository, while Nemo 3.8.5 is available in Ubuntu 18.10 and 19.04, and Nemo 4.0.6 is available in the Ubuntu 19.10 repository. To install it, search for Nemo in the “Software” application and install it from there, or use the following command:

sudo apt install nemo

If you want to install the latest Nemo version in Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, 19.04 (Ubuntu 19.10 has no packages), you must build it from source code yourself or use PPA. In addition, most Nemo extensions are not available in the official Ubuntu 18.04 and later repositories, so unless you add PPA or install them from source, you will not have access to important extensions, such as the Nemo Dropbox extension and many Other extensions.
The popular PPA is embrosyn’s Cinnamon Horse PPA includes Nemo 4 for Ubuntu 19.04, 18.10 and 18.04. Please note that this PPA may be updated with a newer Nemo version when it is released.
To view the Nemo change log (and find out the differences between the latest released version and the version in the Ubuntu repository), click Here.
You can add PPA and install the latest Nemo in Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, or 19.04 (no packages for Ubuntu 19.10) by typing the following command in a terminal window:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:embrosyn/cinnamon
sudo apt install nemo

To list the available Nemo extensions, you can use the following command:

apt-cache search nemo

It lists all Nemo extensions (obviously Nemo itself) and some unrelated packages, so make sure to read the package instructions before installing. After determining the software package to install, use the usual method sudo apt install PACKAGENAME Install it or search for the package name in Gnome software/Synaptic package manager etc. and then install it from there. Pop! _OS / Ubuntu 19.10: Since most Nemo extensions are not available in the Ubuntu repository, if you use Ubuntu 19.10 (not supported by the PPA above), you can manually Download extension DEB PPA’s package (get Ubuntu 19.04 version, it should run on Ubuntu 19.10, at least for the few extensions I’m using: Nemo Dropbox, Nemo Image Converter and Nemo Terminal). Important note: If you need to install any other extensions from PPA, please also download and install the “nemo-python” package from PPA. Nemo-Dropbox extension depends on the “dropbox” software package not available in the official Ubuntu. Repository, but you can download it from Here (Download the deb-32 or 64 bit for your Ubuntu architecture). Before installing this package, you need to remove nautilus-dropbox package. Therefore, the steps are as follows: delete nautilus-dropbox Package, install files downloaded from the outside (see links in the lines above) dropbox Package, install last nemo-dropbox Software packages from the PPA listed above.
Installing Nemo (from the official Ubuntu repository or from PPA) will also install some minimal Cinnamon dependencies, but it will not install the full Cinnamon desktop as it did a while ago, so it will not be confused with your Gnome desktop.

Workarounds for Nemo theme (including rename box) in Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, or 19.04

Edit: Using the official Nemo package (from the Ubuntu repository) in Ubuntu 19.10 there are no themes mentioned below. If you installed the latest version of Nemo from the source code, the question of renaming the theme will return.
Nemo has some theme issues in Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10 and 19.04 under most themes. For example, using the default Ubuntu theme (Ambiance), there is a gray area at the bottom of the sidebar, and the file/folder rename box has no border:Nemo Ambiance theme question

With Communitheme, which has recently updated some Nemo fixes, the sidebar looks okay, but with transparent text selection, the rename box is completely invisible, which makes it very difficult to rename files with Nemo:Nemo Commmunitheme rename error

In fact, this is the case with many modern themes, including Canta (arguably the amazing GTK theme), Gnome-OSC and Materia. On the other hand, as far as the rename box is concerned, Numix and Adapta behave similarly to Ambiance. The options for these topics include:

  • Stick to the atmosphere theme and other themes, which at least display the highlighted text in the rename box and ignore the ugliness, because this is just a little trouble 🙂
  • Install the default Linux Mint 19 theme (including the default light theme and dark and dark variants), called Mint Y, which works perfectly with Nemo.

If you choose the second solution-install the default Linux Mint 19 theme (Mint-Y), you must do the following. Mint-Y is part of the mint-themes package, which depends on the mint-y-icons and mint-x-icons packages, so you will need all 3 packages. Use the following links to download these deb packages:

Make sure to download the latest version of each package (should be the last version at the bottom-if you are not sure which is the latest, the date will be displayed next to each package).
Place the downloaded Deb in your home folder, and then run the following command to install it:

sudo dpkg -i mint*.deb

If you wish to install them using the graphical package manager (by double-clicking the deb package and then clicking “install”), please install the icon package first, then install the mint-themes package, otherwise mint-themes will complain Missing dependencies.
In addition, by using the Mint Y theme, you can also get the different background of the Nemo active/inactive panel in the dual panel view (you can use the F3 key to open the second panel).

Nemo Mint-Y theme Ubuntu 18.04
Use Mint-Y themed Nemo on Ubuntu 18.04-correct rename box and highlighted activity panel

Now, use the Tweaks application to change the Applications theme to Mint-Y (don’t use Mint-X because this is outdated and some Gnome applications should not look like this). If you want, you can also change the icon theme to Mint-X or Mint-Y.

How to use Nemo to replace Nautilus (Gnome file) as the default file manager to pop in! _OS / Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, 19.04 or 19.10 (Gnome) open the folder on the desktop

If you want to set Nemo as the default file manager for opening folders in Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, 19.04, or 19.10-for example, click Show in file manager In a “button” in a web browser, etc., all you have to do is run the following command:

xdg-mime default nemo.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search

This is obviously optional, depending on how you want to use the Nemo file manager.

How to use Nemo instead of Nautilus (Gnome file) to manage desktop icons on Ubuntu 18.04 or 18.10 Gnome desktop

Not required in Ubuntu 19.04 or 19.10. This is because Ubuntu 19.04 and 19.10 come with the Desktop Icons Gnome extension, and don’t use Nautilus to draw desktop icons!
Although Nautilus no longer supports desktop icons, the Nautilus package included with Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10 still has this feature. However, at least in my opinion, Nemo desktop processing is better because it allows users to change the icon size and arrange the icons horizontally or vertically. However, it is up to you to decide whether you need these functions / whether you want to use Nemo or Nautilus to manage desktop icons.
There is a small problem when using Nemo to draw the desktop in Ubuntu 18.04 or 18.10. When using Nemo to draw the desktop, you will not be able to access the context (right-click) menu item for changing the desktop wallpaper. You can still System Settings > Background although. In addition, I know that many of you use various applications, such as Variety or Random Wallpaper Gnome Shell extensions to change the desktop background, so this is not a big trouble.
If you want to use Nemo instead of Nautilus to display desktop icons, follow the steps below.
1. Use the following command to prevent Nautilus from displaying desktop icons:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false

2. Add nemo-desktop to the startup
In the latest Nemo version, a separate executable file/process is used to process the desktop: nemo-desktop. To make Nemo display desktop icons, open Startup Applications, Click Add Button, and then use the following information in the pop-up dialog:

  • Input nemo-desktop inside Command field
  • Input Nemo Desktop inside Name field

When finished, click Add Button.
3. Log out and then log in again. Nemo should now be used to display desktop icons. Additional: By default, Nemo only displays icons on the main monitor. If you want it to display icons on multiple monitors, use Dconf Editor Navigate to org / nemo / desktop And change desktop-layout Options from true::false to true::true. You can also use the old Nemo desktop processing (non-grid) as needed by disabling use-desktop-grid Options are also located org / nemo / desktop.

How to undo changes and make Nautilus (Gnome file) default again

It is very easy to undo the changes mentioned in this article and make Nautilus the default. Just follow the steps below (depending on what you learned from this article).
1. Make Nautilus the default file manager (so that you can open directories in Nautilus instead of Nemo), just like the default Pop! _OS / Ubuntu 18.04, 18.10, 19.04 or 19.10 installation is the same, please use the following command:

xdg-mime default nautilus.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search

2. To prevent Nemo from processing desktop icons, open “Start Application” and uncheck the box next to Nemo Desktop.
3. Pop! _OS/Only for Ubuntu 18.10 or 18.10: You may also want Nautilus to draw the desktop icon again, as in the default Ubuntu 18.04 installation. To do this, run the following command in the terminal:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons true

4. Now log out and log back in, you should let Nautilus draw the desktop icon instead of Nemo.
5. (Optional) You can also use the following command to completely clear the Nemo file manager:

sudo apt purge nemo nemo*

And remove all dependencies installed by Nemo (this will remove all packages that are no longer needed, not just those installed by Nemo):

sudo apt autoremove

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