Installing and Optimizing Marlin File Browser in Ubuntu 11.10 and Newer

Monday, January 23, 2012

Upon installing Ubuntu 11.10, the first thing you note is that the file browser doesn’t look as spiffy as it can be. Well, there is a solution for that: replace the file browser altogether. Marlin is the good looking alternative that we will use today.


  1. Open a Terminal
  2. Type the following and hit enter.
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:marlin-devs/marlin-daily
  3. Enter your password and hit enter.
  4. You should now see the following in your terminal. Hit Enter to continue.
    Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_02_07
  5. It will complete quickly, now type the following and hit enter.
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install marlin marlin-plugin-*
  6. Your terminal should look like this before you hit enter
    Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_08_14
  7. This will give you a long list of processes. Eventually it will stop and ask you some questions. Type y and hit enter.
  8. It will then run more operations.
  9. You will know that you are done when your terminal looks like this.
    Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_07_24
  10. Now type marlin in the dashboard and run it.
  11. Click on the Preferences Button on the far right of the toolbar and then Make the Default File Manager be On.
    Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_10_59
  12. Right Click on the Marlin file browser and select Keep in Launcher. To get rid of the old one, just right click and uncheck the Keep in the Launcher option.

Marlin Views out of the Box

Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_21_33 Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_21_46
Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_21_59 Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_23_25

Right Click Menu

Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_36_38

Right clicking on a file or folder in Marlin allows you to open in a new tab, the traditional options, and give colored labels like in Mac OS X. The menu also lets you send as a part of an email, burn to a disc, open in terminal and compress.


Screenshot at 2012-01-22 23_40_17

You can compress files and folders in a range of formats like .tar, .tar.gz and .zip.

Adding some Extra Functionality

Marlin doesn’t come with Preview built in, but you can get it to work.

Download and install the debian file that is specific to your system.

Gloobus Preview

32 bit

64 bit

Once it is installed, search for dconf Editor in the Ubuntu Software Center and install it.

If you come across any errors in this process, ignore them, as long as the programs are represented as installed, all will be fine.

Run dconf Editor and on the left hand side you will see a navigation structure. Click on apps, click on marlin and then select preferences.

Screenshot at 2012-01-23 00_39_16

Once there, click on the value of previewer-path and add /usr/bin/gloobus-preview

Screenshot at 2012-01-23 00_40_46

Close dconf Editor and restart Marlin. The next time you want to preview a file, hit the spacebar and this is how it will look like – just like in Mac OS X.

Screenshot at 2012-01-23 00_45_42

This same procedure could have been done with sushi instead of gloobus file previewer.

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