Improved Unity Files Lens Call For Testing

We’ve got an enhancement to Ubuntu Unity in 12.04 which we’re looking for some community testing on. The Unity Files Lens has been improved so it’s more likely to find the things you’re looking for. In the current release we query Zeitgeist to find files matching what you’ve searched for, in this new test version we’ve improved the search so it doesn’t just look for things via Zeitgeist.

Here’s an example of what’s changed. My current 12.04 system is a fairly clean install with most of my data having been synced down using Ubuntu One or Dropbox file sync tools. As I’ve not opened many files on this machine yet, Zeitgeist doesn’t know about them.

Here’s the initial view of the Unity Files Lens when I press [Super]+F:-

Searching for my curriculum vitae (cv) results in only one hit which is a friends’ CV I downloaded from my email a little while back. My own CV is buried somewhere in a folder and I have no idea where it is, neither does Zeitgeist.

Here’s what it looks like when we test the new version of the Unity Files Lens.

Great! Now it shows the original results from Zeitgeist and any other files that match. It’s a simple change, but most welcome, and in need of testing!

If you’re on Ubuntu 12.04 please consider installing and testing this lens from this PPA:-

To install:-

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-team/lenses-testing
sudo apt-get update

Then get the great new stuff with either:-

sudo apt-get install unity-lens-files


sudo apt-get upgrade

Then logout and back in or reboot to restart Unity.

If you discover any bugs, file them here:-

Make sure you mention that you’re using the new PPA if you do!

17 thoughts on “Improved Unity Files Lens Call For Testing”

  1. Looks like it just matches the filename which is what I actually can’t remember most of the time… Why not integrate “tracker” for full text search? Today, you don’t search filename but for file content.

  2. That’s great news!

    What additional data sources are you using now? There was a discussion about using Tracker for files search and using Zeitgeist only for sorting, but I don’t know if this is really what you are doing here.

  3. @Cyril

    Does tracker look into directories other than XDG directories? Last I checked, it did not and it will introduce one more backend and not solve as many issues.

    With respect to full text search even zeitgeist does it. Since zeitgeist is an event store and not a file tracker, it can know about a file only when that file has been accessed. This is a restriction which will be solved pretty soon. Hold your breath

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  4. What you left out of your post is that after the file you’re interested in was saved locally, it only appeared in the lens search after you waited for updatedb to run (which cron does once every 24 hours) or after you manually ran updatedb. Because of the extra time delay and/or manual intervention required for it to function, this is a dubious “improvement” for the file lens.

    1. If a file exists on my filesystem and has done for well over 24 hours then this will find it. If the file was only just created/downloaded then personally I’m likely to have created/downloaded it myself so it will find that via zeitgeist. Works for me.

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  5. “The Unity Files Lens has been improved so it’s more likely to find the things you’re looking for”

    This one sentence is the essence of what’s wrong with Unity.

  6. I’d like to see a columns/lists view instead of a rows/icons view. Its much quicker to scan down a column than across a row. If one needs bigger previews, a tooltip with large thumbnails would solve that.

  7. I thought that the new files lens would find everything that is found by locate, but it does not. For example, if I do
    locate dmesg
    I get ten or so hits but in the new lens I get nothing. Is that by design?

  8. I suppose there is logic in only looking in Home. The average user is probably only interested in those files and anyone who is interested in system files is capable of using locate to find them.

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