Nautilus does not properly navigate symbolic links

Bug #1184720 reported by Greg Lynch on 2013-05-27
This bug affects 18 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Fix Released
nautilus (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Navigating symlinks in nautilus leads to incorrect directories

Test case:
1. Create a directory in Home called Folder
2. Right click on Folder in Nautilus and select 'make link'
3. Drag created link to Desktop
4. Double-click on Link to Folder to open it in Nautilus

Clicking the back arrow in Nautilus behaves as it should--it takes you back to Desktop, not the parent folder of the target of the link.

However, the architecture displayed near the top of the Nautilus window shows the parent directory of the target, not of the link (i.e., it shows [Home][Folder], not [Home][Desktop][Link to Folder]

Pressing alt+up also takes you to the parent of the target, not the link.

Regression potential:
check that creating symlinks and navigating those works correctly

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. The issue you are reporting is an upstream one and it would be nice if somebody having it could send the bug to the developers of the software by following the instructions at If you have done so, please tell us the number of the upstream bug (or the link), so we can add a bugwatch that will inform us about its status. Thanks in advance.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
Aleixo Sánchez (aleixosk) wrote :

This bug has been reported upstream:

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Andrew (andrewkvalheim) wrote :

A couple potential workarounds have been posted on Ask Ubuntu:

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Changed in nautilus:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → New
John Burkhart (jfburkhart) wrote :

Confirming this bug in Nautilus 3.8.2 Ubuntu 13.10 64

Péter Trombitás (trombipeti) wrote :

For me this seems that gnome devs don't really care (as usual). I guess if we want this bug to be solved in ubuntu, we have to do it ourselves...
I personally start to think that the ones who develop nautilus don't even use it on a daily basis. Because these kinds of bugs won't come up on any kind of unit testing. It is just an annoying 'feature' that you discover when you use a program every day.

Stefan D. (stefan-sdroege) wrote :

The bug is now fixed in upstream nautilus (or to be more specific, the patch which caused the bug was reverted):
It would be very good when the fix could be pulled into the Ubuntu version(s) of Nautilus.
Is this possible, or do we need to wait for Ubuntu 14.10 or 15.04? I hope not.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu Trusty):
importance: Undecided → Low
Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Fix Committed
Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu Trusty):
status: New → In Progress
description: updated
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

the fix is also going to be uploaded to trusty as a SRU, but another update needs to be validates/moved out of proposed before

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package nautilus - 1:3.10.1-0ubuntu11

nautilus (1:3.10.1-0ubuntu11) utopic; urgency=medium

  * debian/patches/git_revert_symlink_logic_change.patch:
    - revert commit that made symlink targets buggy (lp: #1184720)
 -- Sebastien Bacher <email address hidden> Tue, 13 May 2014 13:48:17 +0200

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Changed in nautilus:
status: New → Fix Released
Paál, Balázs (paalb) wrote :

Trusty is still affected. This is a *very* annoying bug, could it be fixed in 14.04, please?
If the fix is not available soon, some users (including myself) may be forced to install another file manager. (c.f. discussion of gnome bug

N.B. some people beleive this is a medium or low priority issue. However, in setups like the ones mentioned on gnome bugzilla, this bug makes nautilus essentially unusable for many tasks. And it's not merely about "navigating back" or "navigating up". The real problem comes when you open a file *after* navigating the symlink. The application that is lauched will get the dereferenced path, and may calculate its own references from there.

I frequenly use LibreOffice documents with several embedded linked files. If the document is fired from the wrong (i.e. dereferenced) location, then all internal references will be screwed, or at least the document will contain different references (some with the unreferenced symlink path, some with the dereferenced path). This is very annoying when you want to move your document to another location, hunting down broken links is a nightmare.

The same goes for any application like video or music editing, where a project file contains links to resource or material files. You will have total confusion, two different types of references will be stored in your project. Some applications then behave differently with the references that are "along the project path" from those that seemingly are "external to the project path".

Please DO revert this to the earlier, (expected linux standard) symlink behavior in 14.04, as soon as possible.

Rob Parker (rfdparker) wrote :

I would absolutely second the sentiment expressed in comment #11 - this behaviour of Nautilus ultimately causes issues with the use of other applications, and shouldn't be considered low priority.

Ross Lagerwall (rosslagerwall) wrote :

Any update on this? I don't see any pending fixes in proposed anymore.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thanks for the reminder, uploaded to the trusty queue

Hello Greg, or anyone else affected,

Accepted nautilus into trusty-proposed. The package will build now and be available at in a few hours, and then in the -proposed repository.

Please help us by testing this new package. See for documentation how to enable and use -proposed. Your feedback will aid us getting this update out to other Ubuntu users.

If this package fixes the bug for you, please add a comment to this bug, mentioning the version of the package you tested, and change the tag from verification-needed to verification-done. If it does not fix the bug for you, please add a comment stating that, and change the tag to verification-failed. In either case, details of your testing will help us make a better decision.

Further information regarding the verification process can be found at . Thank you in advance!

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu Trusty):
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
tags: added: verification-needed
tags: added: verification-done
removed: verification-needed
Mantas Kriaučiūnas (mantas) wrote :

VERIFICATION DONE one week ago, please upload nautilus to trusty-updates
I can confirm too: nautilus 1:3.10.1-0ubuntu9.2 from trusty-proposed works correctly, I just checked -
creating symlinks and navigating those works correctly with nautilus 1:3.10.1-0ubuntu9.2

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

(unsubscribing sponsors, doesn't seem to be anything left to sponsor there)

The verification of the Stable Release Update for nautilus has completed successfully and the package has now been released to -updates. Subsequently, the Ubuntu Stable Release Updates Team is being unsubscribed and will not receive messages about this bug report. In the event that you encounter a regression using the package from -updates please report a new bug using ubuntu-bug and tag the bug report regression-update so we can easily find any regressions.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package nautilus - 1:3.10.1-0ubuntu9.2

nautilus (1:3.10.1-0ubuntu9.2) trusty; urgency=medium

  * debian/patches/git_revert_symlink_logic_change.patch:
    - revert commit that made symlink targets buggy (lp: #1184720)
 -- Sebastien Bacher <email address hidden> Tue, 13 May 2014 13:48:17 +0200

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu Trusty):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
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