It can be a little odd dealing with archives, however. On most operating systems there are two choices: open the archive with a specialized program or extract the contents to a folder and browse it using your file manager. This was largely true of Ubuntu, but not with the 10.04 release – it now allows for two-click mounting of any archive file.
When I wrote my writeup of Ubuntu 10.04 back in April I tried to summarize all of the new features of Ubuntu’s latest release, but I missed this one. I discovered it accidentally actually, while renaming an archive file.
So far as I can tell, Archive Mounter work with any file that Archive Manager does. This includes ISO, TAR, ZIP and even RAR, meaning you can mount most any file directly from your file manager.
Using Archive Mounter
This really doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead of opening a given archive, simply right-click the file in Nautilus and then click “Open with Archive Mounter” For example, here’s me opening some alternative icons for Dropbox:
Once you’ve done this your archive will show up as a “drive” in Nautilus, looking like this:
You’re done; you can now grab any files you like from the archive with your default file browser, which is in my opinion a great deal simpler than dealing with a seperate program. Drag the files to where you’d like them, copy them, run executables without ever extracting the files.
When you’re done you can unmount the archive the same way you would any drive: click the arrow directly to the right of it, or right-click it and click “Unmount“. Your archive is now unmounted and can be deleted, if you like.
The only problem I’ve noticed is the inability to write to archives. There may be a workaround for this; do any readers want to share?
If you’d like archives to mount when double-clicked instead of opening with archive manager, don’t worry: this is really easy to accomplish. Simply right-click a package, and then click “Properties.” Click the “Open With” tab and select Archive Mounter as the default program for opening that kind of archive.
That’s it. You’ll have to repeat this process for the various sorts of archives out there, but once you do so you’ll find interacting with archives just got a lot simpler.
Some may prefer the functionality of Archive Manager to this simple mounting app, but I like having the option of mounting my archives. I can pick out only files I want and copy them where I like, saving disk space compared to extracting everything. I also find Nautilus easier to deal with than the (excellent) Archive Manager, if only because all of my file browsing stays in the same place.
Of course, I know you guys won’t spare me your opinion. Is this little-discussed new feature in Ubuntu 10.04 something you use regularly, or even noticed was there? Do you prefer this way of grabing information from archives, or will you keep using archive manager (or some other program?)
Finally, would you like to point out that this was default in Fedora/Mint/Debian/whatever five years ago, and the I’m an Ubuntu fanboy who should be keeping up with every setting in every distro ever?
Well, I love comments…so go ahead give me some love!