It had some potential, I'll give it that. But like most of GNOME's projects, it pretty much got chucked in the trash.
I remember using it years ago on Ubuntu and it hasn't changed in any way since. Actually, I'm wrong about that. It has changed, but for the worse!
What happened to customizing the toolbar? Was that really so hard to port to GTK3? I shouldn't have to edit xml files, dconf, etc., just so I can get a new tab button(which should really be there by default)! Now with Mint 13 Cinnamon, an otherwise awesome desktop, I'm stuck with an old file manager remeniscent of the one on Windows XP, minus the ability to have tabs at all.
Then there's the fact that there's NO ZOOM SLIDER! Nautilus 2.3 had this, so why not Nautilus 3.4? I can still zoom using hotkeys, but would it really be so hard to stick on a slider to take care of that job?
Where's the gstreamer preview? I loved being able to hover over a sound file and hear it preview without any clicking or button-pushing. I guess that was too convenient.
Why the heck are the forward/backward buttons on the right? They should be on the left, where the cursor is more likely to be. I can't recall another program with those buttons on the right rather than the left.
And why do we still not have column view? This is ESSENTIAL. It's superior to most of the other views and really comes in handy. I, along with many others, have asked for this feature for ages and we still don't have it. In fact, I remembered reading a response explaining why it was technically "impossible" for Nautilus to have column view(or miller columns). I never really bought that explanation, but guess what happened in the meantime? Within a relatively short amount of time, Elementary OS came out with Marlin, a GTK3 file manager with column view! And it works well! Why can't Nautilus have this feature?
The layout of Nautilus is also insanely outdated and stupid. Why do the navigation buttons need to take up so much room and contain icons? Why is there a search button instead of an already-present search box?
Anyway, I think you get the point.
So on this topic, I can see us go in a few directions.
#1 - We ditch Nautilus and go with Marlin.
Marlin is very new, and while it currently only has a few advantages over Nautilus, it has made greater strides in just a year than Nautilus has in 6 years.
I'm going to list the pros/cons of both file managers
A large selection of plugins
No column view
Lack of toolbar customization
No longer previews files on hover
No slick animations
Fast and light-weight
Good use of screen real-estate
Nice ease-in animated path bar
Informative context pane
Assign highlight colors to file names
No scripting yet.
No file searching, yet.
No folder sharing
Simplistic preferences menu
Lack of extensions, currently.
No new tab button, yet.
So the way I see it, Marlin is far enough along that it shouldn't be too difficult to implement some of the missing features. If we could help develop Marlin, or use its code for our own file manager perhaps, that could help us further get away from depending on GNOME.
I know that it may sound whiny that someone like me comes here and tells other people what they should do, but if Marlin were to become the new de facto file manager for Mint, I would definitely devote some of my free time to help improve it. Better that than dealing with the garbage from GNOME.
And there's an alternative:
#2 - We take Nautilus and start adding our own code.
I think I've made it clear why I think it's insane that we stick with Nautilus, but if we do, we should at least make some improvements. Elementary did this until they realized how dumb that was, so they wrote Marlin.
Personally, I think Marlin would be a better choice, whether we contribute code to it or branch it off into our own minty file manager.
Oh, but what about all those other file managers out there?
Yeah, what about them?
Well, they kinda stink. Probably the second best to Nautilus would be Dolphin, except it's an ugly QT application that requires components of KDE, so that's pretty much out of the question. For a GTK3 file manager, there's PCManFM, which isn't bad, but not very good either. It's just a good alternative for Nautilus, and that's assuming one is satisfied with Nautilus.