Nautilus is the default file manager in the GNOME environment of Ubuntu (as opposed to Konqueror in the KDE environment). If you’ve ever right clicked on your desktop before, you probably saw this menu appear:
What if you wanted to add a new function to this menu? I’m going to show you how to add a neat, simple file encryption function to this menu. After doing this, you’ll know how to find and add your own scripts in the future. (Data encryption, by the way, is the act of encoding a file with a secure password, making the file impossible to opened without that password. It is useful for situations that require extra security on key files).
Nautilus scripts are abound on the Internet, but a good place to find a bunch is www.gnome-look.org.
Along the left side of their website is a menu full of cool stuff we’ll be taking a look at in future blogs. Cool stuff like splash screens, login window themes… a bunch of stuff. But we’re going to stick with only talking about Nautilus scripts for now. If you click on the Nautilus scripts link, you’ll be taken to an index containing several dozens people have submitted to the site. I prefer to sort the listing with the highest rated shown first, but you can explore if you’d like. Here’s a direct link to the page for the encryption script we’re going to install.
From this page, click the download link and save the file to your desktop.
Once the file is on your desktop, you can minimize or close your browser to get it out of your way.
Now do the following:
- Click Places>Home Folder
- With your home folder open, hit CTRL-H to reveal hidden files and folders.
- Find a folder called “.gnome2” and double click on it. (Note the period at the beginning of the file name. Periods at the beginning of filenames denote hidden files in Linux).
- Then double click on “nautilus-scripts” folder.
Now, drag and drop the file you just downloaded (it should still be sitting on your desktop) into the nautilus-scripts folder (you can also use copy and paste). Once you have the downloaded file in your nautilus-scripts folder, right-click on the file and select “Extract here”.
You’re done. No really. You’re really done! The script is now installed.
How to use this encryption script:
To use this particular script, you right-click on a file or group of files, and you’ll see that your menu now has a new “Scripts” section, and select the encrypt/decrypt script.
You’ll be asked to apply a password to your encrypted files so that only you will be able to decrypt them later. The script then encrypts the file and creates a new file with a *.gpg file name extension. This is your encrypted file. To decrypt, you simply right click on the *.gpg file and select the decrypt script, and then enter the same password you typed when you encrypted the file.
There are many more scripts and even collections of scripts available on gnome-looks.org. A majority of them are all installed using the same method described above. You simply have to extract the contents of the zip/tar archive into your ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts folder. (Tip for newbies: When you see a file path begin with “~/”, its a shortcut for “home folder of currently logged on user”. For instance, if you opened a terminal window and typed “cd ~/” at any time, you’d be taken to your home folder).
Here’s a collection of scripts you can install right now if you’re looking for a lot of neat bells and whistles. But I encourage you to look around and see what neat tools you can dig up. If you install them, here’s what you’re script menu will look like.
Took me about 30 seconds to download and install all of them. And now you can too!
Later on, we’ll take a closer look at some of the other sections listed on the left-hand menu on gnome-looks.org. Have fun!