Several things spring to mind:

1. A brand of very high end audiophile speakers made by B&W. Nautilus speakers create exceptional sound by eliminating echoes from the back of the box by using a speaker shape reminiscent of a nautilus shell.

2. The next generation file manager for GNOME (v2.0).

3. The animal that the previous two were named after, a cephalopod of the phylum Mollusca, that as a species, has survived relatively unchanged for millions of years in the oceans, much like the coelacanth.

The amazing thing about this creature is the design of its shell. As the nautilus grows, it creates additional septa in its shell, creating new chambers within it. These chambers are linked by a tube through which the nautilus controls the amount of water and gas there are in each chamber.

With its watertight chambers providing adjustable bouyancy, the nautilus uses a funnel it has for jet propulsion by squirting out water in the direction opposite to whatever direction it wishes to go.

A nautilus can ascend from 2000 ft below sea level to sea level without any problems arising from the difference in pressure.

From the Nautilus FAQ (maintained at http://

  • What is Nautilus?

    Nautilus is an open source file manager and graphical shell being developed by Eazel, Inc. and others. It is part of the GNOME project, and its source code can be found in the GNOME CVS repository. Nautilus is still in the early stages of development. It will become an integral part of the GNOME desktop environment when it is finished.

  • Is Nautilus a web browser?

    As a shell, Nautilus has viewers for many different types of content. For HTML, there's a viewer that uses Embedded Mozilla. this is what people think of when they say, "It's a web browser too". You can also make alternate HTML viewer components and the extensibility of Nautilus means they'll show up in the shell. There's even an HTML component based on GtkHTML in the Nautilus sources, but the Mozilla-based one is working better.

    Nautilus can be downloaded from

Nautilus is also the name of perhaps the world's most famous submarines, one fictional and one not. Jules Verne conceived of many of the features of the modern nuclear submarine in his excellent novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath The Sea. Captain Nemo was master of the Nautilus, a 'submersible boat.' This boat made its own oxygen through separation of seawater (modern nuclear submarines 'crack' seawater with electricity to make oxygen). It was powered by an electric drive (the U.S. Navy is in the process of planning to move its entire force, including submarines, to an all-electric drive whether powered by a nuclear reactor or gas turbine). It was opulently luxurious (well, okay, got me there, but the British Navy has John Courage beer on tap on its boats, I hear...).

In addition, the world's first operational nuclear submarine was named Nautilus in homage to Verne's prescience. It was a U.S. Navy ship, and set many 'firsts,' including the first submerged global circumnavigation*, the first submarine trip to the North Pole, etc. Today the Nautilus is a museum and can be visited at the submarine base at New London, CT USA.

*: DerekL has informed me that I'm wrong, and the USS Triton was the first nuc to circumnavigate the world while submerged. Thanks!

Nautilus is, as told above, the newer graphical file manager for GNOME desktop environment, meant to replace the old, crappy gmc. It was developed by company called Eazel until they closed down; the development is still active, though.

One of the designers of the system is Andy Hertzfeld, an important member of the original Apple Macintosh team back in 1981. The Mac connection doesn't end here - the GNOME 2 folder themes and file emblems were drawn by famed icon graphician Susan Kare.

Nautilus is a very cool file manager, even for a die-hard CLI user like me. Here are some of the interesting features:

  • Bookmarks. I can't possibly say how much I love to be able to bookmark a directory, where the heck it happens to be.
  • FTP and all GNOME virtual filesystem things actually work. This makes it one of the coolest-looking FTP programs out there =)
  • Automatical thumbnail creation - and text files have a couple of first lines visible in the icon. Makes finding of relevant files easy.
  • Previewing of music files. Keep mouse pointer over a MP3 or Ogg and it starts playing it, ending when you move the pointer off the icon.
  • Resizable icons.
  • Emblems. You can give different files and directories an "emblem" - that is, a graphical marker that signifies something. (Heart for "Favorite", Sunglasses for "Cool", and so on...) This helps you to find the right file or folder from among the zillions. (Search function also finds by emblems.)
  • All metadata and other data is saved as XML...
  • Need to do something tricky to your files? Just write a script, drop it to ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ and it can be accessed from the script menu!

Microsoftites probably like the following features:

  • Capable of using Mozilla/Gecko to render web pages. Yeah, you can type URLs to it and it will open stuff just fine. (This, assumed you've installed the Gecko component, otherwise you get raw HTML...)
  • Yeah, it has a "desktop" if you want it. And trash cans. And all the stuff. No need to use that confusing "command line". And you can fill your desktop with your file icons. =)
  • It's almost as "pretty" as Windows XP Luna interface. Almost.

Some annoyances:

  • Takes a few seconds to start. (And this is a PIII-600 with 256 megs of memory. Nautilus is not for the weak or people of low processor speed. =) The performance is a bit better in Nautilus 2, though.
  • Creating and editing app-launching icons is a bit hard. (needs command line stuff and editing...)
  • Does not automagically mount filesystems when they're referenced.
  • Can't drag link from Mozilla to Nautilus to download it. This could make downloading things easier...
  • Does not follow directory symlinks to the linked place. (If I have ~/foo symlinked to /mnt/bar, going to ~/foo should automagically send me to /mnt/bar, but Nautilus says I'm in ~/foo. This will make Newbies feel right at home, but for someone who understands the symlink principle, it's not convinient - and the directory metadata may, in some circumstances, apply to one directory but not the other!) I need to make "Nautilus links" to get there.

The modern nautilus's smooth, brown-striped shell houses a small squishy beast with 90 sheathed tentacles. Because the shell's chambers follow the golden ratio of 1:1.6180 in a logarithmic spiral, mathematicians love this creature. Renaissance goldsmiths loved it too, encrusting the shell with jewels and metals to serve as a lavish goblet. Similar shells were often displayed in churches to showcase their beauty as created by God and embellished by Man.

As cephalopods, nautiloids are related on the one hand to octopi and squids, and on the other hand to the extinct ammonites, which have coiled shells serrated like ram's horns.

The nautilus we know and love, N. pompilius, is a survivor of a dazzling prehistoric diversity of shelled cephalopods. Nautiloids have lived in the ocean for over 500 million years. They are older than the dinosaurs, older than the crocodiles, older than the horseshoe crabs. The fossil record shows a number of fantastic nautilus shells, including straight shells, cones, crescents, and large open coils totally unlike the nautilus we know today. Some shells had spikes, spines, or wings. One creature, Endoceras, was upwards of ten feet long and crawled along the ocean floor. Others, including the very first cephalopod Plectronoceras, moved by squirting water out of its chambers and through an open funnel.

The fleshy parts of the nautiloids (if we may extrapolate from living specimens) also include as many as ninety tentacles, two pairs of gills, simple lensless eyes that work like a pinhole camera, and a leathery hood to close the shell when the animal retreats inside it.

A blood-rich tube of tissue called the siphuncle can secrete gas into the shell's chambers to make the nautilus float, or release gas to allow it to sink. The nautilus adjusts its buoyancy this way, ascending from the depths of the Pacific every night to scavenge near the surface.

As the nautilus grows, it closes off chambers in the shell behind it. Each chamber is slightly larger than the previous one—in N. pompilius they are larger by a factor of (1 + sqrt(5))/2 , which corresponds neatly to the golden ratio. Rene Descartes wrote a treatise on the geometry of N. pompilius, proving the congruence of the segments and finding that the logarithmic growth of the shell represents a fibonacci spiral.

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Chambered Nautilus"

Nautilus Pompilus is a Russian band. Their genre would be classified as "progressive rock". They had many albums, some dealing with politics, some dealing with heartbreak, some dealing with life. An interesting thing about this band is that they switched vocalists (and even their style of music) several times.

Generally, they were most popular during the mid 80s and early 90s, although they are still around. In my opinion, their best album is definitely Knyaz Teshini. It has some superb songs, such as Ckovanie Odnoi Tsepyo, which is a symbolic song about communism, beautifully written, with a hint of satire and excellent guitar and synthesizer parts. Knyaz Teshini itself is also an excellent song, with a nice beat and a good synth part.

I would strongly recommend getting this album if you can understand Russian. If not, then you won't appreciate it that much, obviously because you will fail to understand the lyrical content, which is a key part. If you are willing to learn Russian, then listening to Russian bands (including Nautilus) would obviously help. Knowing Russian isn't a requirement however. Most Americans that I know who have listened to this album enjoyed most of the songs on it. It just requires a diverse musical taste.

Nau"ti*lus (?), n.; pl. E. Nautiluses (#), L. Nautili (#). [L., fr. gr. a seaman, sailor, a kind of shellfish which was supposed to be furnished with a membrane which served as a sail; fr. ship. See Nave of a church.]

1. Zool.

The only existing genus of tetrabranchiate cephalopods. About four species are found living in the tropical Pacific, but many other species are found fossil. The shell is spiral, symmetrical, and chambered, or divided into several cavities by simple curved partitions, which are traversed and connected together by a continuous and nearly central tube or siphuncle. See Tetrabranchiata.

The head of the animal bears numerous simple tapered arms, or tentacles, arranged in groups, but not furnished with suckers. The siphon, unlike, that of ordinary cephalopods, is not a closed tube, and is not used as a locomotive organ, but merely serves to conduct water to and from the gill cavity, which contains two pairs of gills. The animal occupies only the outer chamber of the shell; the others are filled with gas. It creeps over the bottom of the sea, not coming to the surface to swim or sail, as was formerly imagined.


The argonaut; -- also called paper nautilus. See Argonauta, and Paper nautilus, under Paper.


A variety of diving bell, the lateral as well as vertical motions of which are controlled, by the occupants.


© Webster 1913.

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