I am using Linux Mint 15 (Mate). When I double click the Computer icon on my desktop to see the available drives, the address bar of file manager (Caja 1.6.1) shows this address: computer:///. Is this address just something symbolic, or can it be used somewhere? (like in the command line, or whatever). And why does this address have three / characters? Why not two? Any specific reason behind that?

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computer:/// is a special location that the GVFS daemon responds to. For more information on what GVFS is, see What is gvfs and why should I want it on my system?, but suffice it to say that it's a wrapper over the raw POSIX calls for reading, listing, and writing files, and it provides some nice abstractions. Visiting computer:/// will work in any GVFS-enabled application.

You may manipulate GVFS locations, including computer:/// (at least IIRC) on the commandline with the gvfs-* family of tools.

Now, that's in GNOME 3. You're on MATE. I'm not entirely familiar with MATE's software stack nowadays - computer:/// used to be a special thing that Nautilus responded to, not the underlying file read daemon (or the underlying calls, if you like). I'm not sure how far MATE's come from ditching busted GNOME 2 technologies (yes, I know MATE is about making GNOME 2 live on, but there's a lot of old stuff that still needs to be replaced under the hood, like libbonobo, libunique and some other libraries that no one actually understands anymore). So, depending on that, the answer is either: "it's a hack in Nautilus" (old) or "it's a bit of a hack in GVFS that Nautilus inherits" (new).


computer:/// The reason behind this is, normal directory listing is as follows,


Since the directory is root directory. By the way, root directory has no name(empty) so //(root)/ is denoted as ///. Why root directory has null name or no name.

See RFC 1738 – Uniform Resource Locators (URL)

  • you may be right about that being the reason there's three slashes, but the rest is incorrect. at least, I think you're implying that this is the standard way to refer to directories (prefixing with computer://) in GUI apps, and that's wrong.
    – strugee
    Dec 17 '13 at 5:37
  • and given your edit: URLs aren't used on desktops. they're used on the web...
    – strugee
    Dec 17 '13 at 5:40
  • AFAIK my answer to his question was correct. thanks for your answer too. @strugee Dec 17 '13 at 5:42
  • @strugee we can mount a remote share from that location text box right. Then it is URL. IMHO Dec 17 '13 at 5:43
  • I would say that in that case it's a URL but it's hardly fair to call everything that goes into that text box a URL. however, we're just haggling over terminology at this point, so agree to disagree?
    – strugee
    Dec 17 '13 at 5:47

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