illustrator , concept-artist

ORA and KRA thumbnailer for Nautilus/Nemo

Published the 25 november 2013 in Hardware and Software with tags : Linux, Linux Mint, Github, dev, GPL

artwork by David Revoy

Files (aka Nautilus ) with the theme 'Numix' and 'Global dark theme' on 'Gnome Tweak'

Long story short : I moved to the Gnome 3.10 desktop environment and I enjoy ( I'll blog post more about soon ). But I found the lack of thumbnail support for 80% of my files in 'Files' frustrating. No  *.ora and *.kra thumbnails ?  ( aka Open Raster , and Krita native file format ). Both multi-layered, both open format, both awesome.

A lot of thumbnailer exist over the Internet for 'Files' ; but most are broken : based on gtk2, or older version of Python, or using old Gconf way under Gnome 2. So, I decided to get hand dirty and write my own.  Surprisingly , it worked and if you look at my code, I promise you a good laugh. But it works. So I share.

Download and Install :
All you need  is here :
Scroll down on the link and start by the README file ; I tried to explain all in it.

Notes :
- Works also for Linux Mint 's Cinnamon Nemo file browser.
- Don't forget in preferences to allow thumbnail preview for files larger than 100MB ; those layered files tend to be large.



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1. André

monday 25 november 2013, 21:02

Nice. Can't wait for further news about your change.^^

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tuesday 26 november 2013, 02:37

i don't know if i understood wrong the instructions but in the step 2 on github there no exist a file named ora.thumbnailer it is openraster.thumbnailer, thanks for this (works excelent on fedora 19)
tuesday 26 november 2013, 07:57

@André : :-)

@lewatoto : Thanks pointing me it ; indeed a typo I made while writing the documentation. Fixed :) Nice to know it works also in Fedora too.

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4. André

tuesday 26 november 2013, 17:24

Did you change only the desktop environment or the complete distribution?

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tuesday 26 november 2013, 19:43

Salut David,

encore une fois merci. :D

Un petit bug dans ton fichier "", en ligne 38 :
sudo cp ora.thumbnailer /usr/share/thumbnailers/openraster.thumbnailer

devrait être :
sudo cp openraster.thumbnailer /usr/share/thumbnailers/openraster.thumbnailer

À part ça, la commande pour quitter Nautilus (nautilus -q**) ne marche pas chez moi mais ça n'a aucune importance.
En quittant normalement et en relançant, les thumbnails apparaissent parfaitement. :)

Génial, merci.
tuesday 26 november 2013, 20:07

@flem : Merci Flem ! C'est déjà modifié et désolé pour abuser de mes testers avec mes typos de documentation .

@André : I switched to Manjaro XFCE too month ago , then Arch XFCE ( this one I broken with a bad 3.10 dirty install ) , then a short visit to OpenSuse 13.1 Gnome , then I came back to Manjaro Minimal , with Gnome package installed manually. Today , I learned about 'Antergos' a Gnome 3 distrib based on Arch. Sounds good for my next install :)

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7. Aurélien Gâteau

tuesday 26 november 2013, 21:54

Oh, you moved to GNOME... As long as you continue to amaze us with your artwork it does not matter, I am still a fan :) I am sorry I missed you at Capitole du Libre, will be more careful next year!
tuesday 26 november 2013, 22:37

@Aurélien Gâteau : Hey Aurélien ; thx ! yes, too bad we didn't met. I was around very long.
By the way , I'm still a Konversation , Kdenlive and Krita hardcore user, and my Gnome got a KDEbase in it ; so I can even call KDE system settings from the Gnome menu =)
I'll keep my system hybrid for long time , I think.

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9. Otto

wednesday 27 november 2013, 00:56

Welcome to Gnome, you are gonna like it here! :)
Thank you for the thumbnailer, really useful and it was really easy to install. Cheers!

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10. Camille Bissuel

wednesday 27 november 2013, 10:49

Très utile, bravo et merci beaucoup !!!!

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11. Marco

friday 29 november 2013, 07:34

I'll check the recent video review of Antergos on the Linux Action Show. But why did you move from your previous configuration? (Mint+Kde I think to remember) Are there particular advantages? I wonder how Steamos will be, because I would like to learn how to use Hammer and get into games from the Modding point of view.
friday 29 november 2013, 10:19

@Marco : Hey, I'll do a next article about it ; but in a nutshell ; Wacom and color calibration support is way better on Gnome 3 ; also the compositor performances are now good. So, it's good to can work on a modern desktop.
About SteamOS ; I have no opinion yet ; as I still don't know the architecture, the toolkit or code who will be used for display. I just hope it will be based on a popular existing desktop ; not reinventing the wheel again on Linux.

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saturday 30 november 2013, 16:19

I look forward to your article about why you switched. I plan to upgrade over the holidays and I'm still trying to decide which way to go. :)

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14. André

tuesday 03 december 2013, 22:09

Downloaded the new "Mint 16: Petra" today with the new Cinnamon 2.0. Will give it a try.^^
wednesday 04 december 2013, 14:04

@André : Hi André. Becarefull : Mint team got dev, but no Wacom user/tester ; so what happen is a total breakage of the Wacom tools AFAIR ; ; I didn't tested.
Also see " Wacom Tablet does not work under Cinnamon 2.0 " :

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16. André

wednesday 04 december 2013, 16:02

Sh**. What distro should I use instead with gnome 3.10?
wednesday 04 december 2013, 17:17

@André : I don't know. For the moment, and as far as I know. I don't recommend any Ubuntu based distro. Even Ubuntu Gnome edition is still 3.8.

On 3.10 ; there is this :
- OpenSuse 13.1 Gnome
- Antergos
- last Fedora
- and Arch / Manjaro installation from CLI

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18. André

friday 06 december 2013, 09:51



I installed all of these distros in a virtual machine and i like OpenSuse and Antergos most. But I'm a totally newbie on these platforms. I used Ubuntu before. So I don't know how to compile krita and all the other painting software there.^^
friday 06 december 2013, 11:12

@André : The two you mention are really nice. Antegos is probably less stable ( rolling + based on arch) but the most flexible. Here I tested OpenSuse Gnome during 24h as a full install. I could get all running, but I love too much Arch AUR system ; so I decided to go back Manjaro. But to get Gnome 3.10 running on Manjaro it's hard; you have to remove everypackage almost, or run the installation from terminal. I'm pretty sure, my next test will be Antergos. Shouldn't be hard to switch from Ubuntu :
Once you know this few basic ( replace PACKAGENAME with your package name , no caps needed :-) :

update all :
sudo pacman -Syuu

install :
sudo pacman -S PACKAGENAME

sudo pacman -R PACKAGENAME

install AUR package ( community package, larger than PPA base )

Here I use 'pamac' to install or remove package , it's really 'synaptic' like, and I update system with terminal ( rarely , when all works ).

For building Krita, my previous article with building "Krita for cats" was proof tested by me 2 weeks ago on Arch and OpenSuse. I updated the wiki of calligra with correct dependencies list.
Good luck !

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20. Marco

saturday 14 december 2013, 19:00

SteamOS is out:

SteamOS is a fork (derivative) of Debian GNU/Linux. The first version (SteamOS 1.0) is called 'alchemist' and it is based on the Debian 'wheezy' (stable 7.1) distribution.
The major changes made in SteamOS are:
Backported eglibc 2.17 from Debian testing
Added various third-party drivers and updated graphics stack (Intel and AMD graphics support still being worked on)
Updated kernel tracking the 3.10 longterm branch (currently 3.10.11)
Custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between Steam, its games and the SteamOS system overlay
Configured to auto-update from the Valve SteamOS repositories
Q: What are the SteamOS Hardware Requirements?
Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor
4GB or more memory
500GB or larger disk
NVIDIA graphics card (AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon)
UEFI boot support
USB port for installation

Unfortunately my motherboard hasn't UEFI boot support

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21. Martin

saturday 21 december 2013, 14:47

Since a few days FEDORA 20 is available. It comes with Gnome 3.10.

Will you give it a try?
saturday 21 december 2013, 19:21

@Martin : Hi Martin, no. I'm really fine with Manjaro since last summer. It works, I have so no reasons to change. I gave a try to OpenSuse 13.1 Gnome 3.10 from end November ; but after the use of pacman and yaourt for Arch/Manjaro package management, any other solution feels complex to me.

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23. Storm

monday 03 november 2014, 12:10


So this is for Gnome... how about KDE? I'm running Arch Linux with KDE. I have "extra/kdegraphics-thumbnailers" installed and still no .kra thumbnails in Dolphin. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,
monday 03 november 2014, 12:44

@Storm : Hey Storm ; KDE teams ( well Calligra teams .... Well , Krita team ) was first to implement a cool thumbnailer.
You can find a screenshot about how to activate here ( part 7 ) ; it should be labeled "Calligra files" in Dolphin Preferences/Preview options :-) Maybe they renamed it , or split open-raster from Calligra files (*.kra) . Good luck !

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25. Storm

tuesday 11 november 2014, 23:42

Thanks for the answer!

However, the option is missing from the list. No "Calligra images" or "Krita images" either. There is "Open raster archiving images" which is enabled but other than that, nothing. The only options not enabled are text files and some other specific non-image files.
wednesday 12 november 2014, 08:45

@Storm : Oh weird it doesn't appears anymore. Would it be a refactoring on the KDE/Dolphin side ? A packaging/building missing flag thing from the ArchLinux ? ( I doubt ) Or maybe it was split in another package ( maybe ) ? If you get the solution, I'm curious ! good luck

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monday 24 november 2014, 11:12

I'm having an error when installing this, manager to fix something related to pixbuf, but still have this:

"configure: error: Package requirements (gdk-pixbuf-2.0 gio-2.0 libarchive) were not met:

No package 'libarchive' found

Consider adjusting the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable if you
installed software in a non-standard prefix.

Alternatively, you may set the environment variables THUMBNAILER_CFLAGS
and THUMBNAILER_LIBS to avoid the need to call pkg-config.
See the pkg-config man page for more details."

Can anyone help me?
monday 24 november 2014, 16:27

@Mauricio Marinho : Hi, it sounds like the library requirement were not met on your system ; what distribution are you using ? I could compile it in 'buntu 14.04 base here

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monday 24 november 2014, 19:31

Hi David, i'm using Ubuntu 14.04 with LXDE desktop (extra info, should it help). When I run the "locate libarchive" command, these are the most common paths:

/var/lib/dpkg/info/libarchive13:amd64.list (or other name after 'amd64.')

So... Maybe any issue with naming/path or version?
monday 24 november 2014, 19:52

@Mauricio Marinho : weird , here I have similar system 64bit version, had no issue compiling with what indicated on github. I've packaged a 64bit *.deb ; might be easy ; also it works only with Nautilus and Nemo ; LXDE use PCFMan usually, or another file manager.

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monday 24 november 2014, 20:22

The .deb package works fine! I'm using nautilus on my LXDE, freedom of choice is awesome like that.

Thank you (:
monday 24 november 2014, 20:25

@Mauricio Marinho : Oh, good news for the *.deb ; I rarely pack them ( I do it with checkinstall , and it's note the 'right' way to do it as far as I read on Ubuntu 'how-to' dev guide , but it works with my local machines and I'm too stupid to maintain a PPA xD ). I'm happy it works for you ! :-) good continuation

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tuesday 25 november 2014, 17:04

I have no problems with .deb files, also think they're easier to use since i'm relatively new to ubuntu (been using for 3 years now, partially because Blender > you > MyPaint :P ), some months ago I could not even compile stuff, so yeah, .deb and ppas are ok, even though I've read in a lot of places it wasn't ideal.

It only showed me a warning when opening your .deb, saying there could be "serious" issues because you didn't write your name as developer somewhere, but I've just ignored and installed it.
monday 15 december 2014, 17:04

@Mauricio Marinho : Thanks for the feedback. Ha sure, I must edit the package info one day in this *.deb for the warning xD

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35. Przemek

monday 26 january 2015, 23:17

Hi Dave,
I`d like to confirm: thumbs works with Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. I've had to install all dev stuff (cmake, git, autogen). Next I've install gnome-common, libgtk2.0-dev and libarchive-dev because of error described below:

"configure: error: Package requirements (gdk-pixbuf-2.0 gio-2.0 libarchive) were not met:

No package 'gdk-pixbuf-2.0' found
No package 'gio-2.0' found
No package 'libarchive' found"

After cleaning cache and restart (don't know why reboot was required :)) I have kra and ora thumbnails in system.

Maybe some1 find this info useful.
thursday 29 january 2015, 06:06

@Przemek : Thanks for the feedback. I'll keep an eye on it, maybe 'buntu/debian team plays *again* with renaming arbitrary librairies for providing multiples versions. For the easy way, I packed a *.deb with checkinstall , It works with 'buntus 14.04, 14.10 , Mint 17 and 17.1 :

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sunday 12 april 2015, 04:13

Many thanks for the .deb, I was having the same difficulties as Przemek!

However, I run several machines and a couple of them are old and only support x86 architecture, would you be willing and able to produce a .deb for x86?

Thanks again as it works like a charm on my x64 machines!
sunday 12 april 2015, 09:43

@el_silloneb : Hi ! unfortunately, I can't produce x86 ; I would need to buy a PC with x86 only to do it and I'll need to reinstall a 'buntu system. ( I'm on Antergos, right now, I 'm testing other distro ) You can build it on your x86 computer ; the full howto do it is on the README and it's not complex. I do the *.deb using 'sudo checkinstall' at the end ; so you probably can do the x86 package.

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39. el_silloneb

tuesday 14 april 2015, 03:53

Thanks for getting back so fast, sorry it took me a bit longer.
I'll give that a try and see how I do, I'm more of a user-end guy and don't have much success with anything non-GUI but I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the heads up about Antergos (yeah, just when I thought I'd stopped distro hopping!) it looks great but it breaks every time I install it, I'm going to have to get some help from the guys on the forums there...
One last thing; I've only just worked out that you're the guy making all the great Krita brush presets that I've been using for a while now so many, many thanks for those! They're greatly appreciated.
tuesday 14 april 2015, 11:05

@el_silloneb : Thank you for your words on my brush :-)
About Antergos, I can't advice it anymore : last week was a little drama ; between Gnome 3.16 coming in arch repo + Plasma 5 being adopted to replace Kde4 and the Antergos team deciding to launch a new ISO and installer at the same time. I decided to move back to the 'buntu LTS ecosystem ( choosing Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon , and build on it Krita 2.9.2 myself ).
I really understand you prefer GUI over CLI ; I really also do !
The problem on Linux is that maintainers of various 'extra' projects are fading like snow on the sun. The only distribution who got the ORA/KRA thumbnailer in the repo is Fedora right now. The one available for the Arch users in AUR is an outdated Gnome 2 ORA/KRA thumbnailer , for old nautilus. I'm even not sure if this old thumbnailer could work with Caja , the file explorer of MATE. Good luck selecting your distribution ; it's always really tricky.

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