Nautilus Is Sort of Necessary
Way back when, I tried Nautilus file manager for the first time. It was quite nice, but HEAVY and S-L-O-W, so I took painstaking steps to kill it. This had been the habit for months and months -- If nautilus ended up running, I'd kill it off, dead.
With a recent gnome update, I noticed that my root desktop image no longer got set. I'd set it in the gnome configs, it would take, but then it wouldn't be enacted when I logged out and back in.
I finally realized that nautilus was made responsible for everything in the root window (background and icons). The background image dialog that I used from gnome config menu was the same as the background config dialog straight from nautilus. I tried to start nautilus again, but I really seemed to have disabled it well -- I hate desktop icons. It was starting and getting stuck trying to go through the automounts. the CD would spin up just fine, but then it would proceed to try to mount the floppy device which isn't even present on the laptop. This provided the illusion that it was just not running for me. Once I got distracted and forgot to kill my wayward nautilus instance, it would later start after several minutes of twiddling its thumbs. I disabled the automount of the floppy, and now I'm in business.
Nautilus has come a long way. It's still as slick, but it's much faster. I still have 2 persistent icons on my desktop, but I just ignore them and let them hide under my real work. Most importantly, I have a pretty background again without having to use
chbg to manually load it. I guess I'll play a bit with nautilus too, since it's previews and other toys are pretty slick.