Offer a 'Preferences' option to turn off 'generic' icons in 'ListView' #26

uniquename999 opened this Issue Aug 4, 2012 · 2 comments


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uniquename999 commented Aug 4, 2012 edited


FOR NOTICEABLY BETTER PERFORMANCE of Caja in directories of thousands
of files (and even hundreds of files), please offer a 'Preferences' option
directories (folders) and various file types (text, HTML, etc.)
when the 'List View' (rather than 'Icon View') OPTION IS CHOSEN.


A shortcoming of Nautilus/Caja (that I notice more on my netbook computers
than on my desktop computer) is the slowness in bringing up lists of

The slowness on my desktop computer is only noticed in
navigating to directories containing more than 2,000 files (such as
/usr/bin or /usr/lib --- about 8 to 15 seconds to show a completed filenames-list,
the first time one opens those directories in a login session).

Directory filename lists, for directories containing around 300 files (like
/usr/sbin and /usr/share), appear almost instantly, on my desktop computer.

NOT SO on netbook installations (Intel Atom or AMD C60 processor,
running Linux Mint 11 or LMDE 201204).

It takes about 5 or 10 seconds (or more) to display a list of about 200 filenames.

Even though I have used the 'Edit > Preferences > Preview' path of
Nautilus and Caja to set the options

* Show text in icons
* Show thumbnails
* Preview sound files 

to 'Never', it takes 5-plus seconds for the directory filenames list,
for directories containing around 300 files, to appear.

I am pretty sure that a lot of the slowdown is due to Nautilus and Caja
insisting on putting little icons to the left of the filenames --- such
as folder icons and text-file icons and HTML-file icons etc. etc. (when
'List View' is turned on).

Those icon files (typically in /usr/share/icons subdirectories) are about
1 Kilobyte in size, each.

Compare that to the 8-bits (one byte) that the 'ls -F' command uses to
put file type indicators like * (asterisk) and @ (at sign) and
/ (slash) after filenames.

It takes over 100 times the bits --- for an icon image versus a single
ASCII character indicator.

I would be quite happy to do without the little icons (and ASCII character
indicators) if it would mean almost instantaneous display of large directory lists.

The little triangle to the left of directory names is enough to indicate directories
to me (and to allow expansion of those directories into a 'sub-list').
I do not need the folder icons.

And I do not need the little globe icons and page icons (etc. etc.) to
the left of files like '.htm' and '.txt' files. I can tell the file types
by the suffixes I gave them.

And even if I do not provide a suffix, I can usually tell what type of file
it is because I created it. (Or I can make a Nautilus/Caja Script, using
the 'file' command, to tell me the type of a selected file.)

So, PLEASE, Caja (and Nautilus) developers, ADD AN OPTION to the
'Edit > Preferences > Views' panel
--- to allow users to turn off display of ALL icons beside filenames,
for the 'List View' mode.

(This might even convince Xfce and LXDE desktop users to change
to Caja and MATE.)

I documented this feature-request, with an image to illustrate the
icons that I am talking about --- at

This is a long page, but you can find several images that illustrate this request
by searching for the phrase 'caja performance'.

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perberos commented Aug 4, 2012

dat mime detection

@stefano-k stefano-k modified the milestone: 1.10, 1.8 Feb 10, 2014
@infirit infirit modified the milestone: 1.10, 1.12 Nov 19, 2014
lbdroid commented Jul 22, 2015

If showing the icon is causing a slowdown enough for the user to feel, then it it must be a matter of handling the icon incorrectly, i.e., by loading it independently for each item being listed. A directory of a thousand files probably will have files of a relatively small number of different types, so the actual number of icons loaded will be very low. Maybe 1-10 different icons.

On slower machines, it can take a significant amount of time just to load the file list. Comparing the time in Caja with a sorted directory listing would be more useful than just timing Caja. By the seat of my pants, on this machine (4-core), Caja takes about a second to load a directory with 2500 files. "time ls -l" on the same directory: "real 0m0.991s". So I'm not sure that this really would cause a significant improvement.

I still, however, would like the option to remove generic icons, but instead of showing no icons, have it show thumbnails like in icon view with fallback to generic icons if there are no thumbnails for the file type.

@monsta monsta removed this from the 1.12 milestone Oct 26, 2015
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