Has browsing automounted NFS shares with nautilus got you pulling out hair in frustration?
Ever since we transitioned from the RHEL4 environment to Fedora 14, people have been reporting terrible slowness and delays in nautilus when browsing our NFS shares. Reports of waiting over a minute for an NFS automount root-level directory with < 100 sub directories to display the contents are not good.
This wasn’t a problem on our old RHEL4 terminal server and I couldn’t for the life of me understand how nautilus could have become so slow in the years since RHEL4 was released. It just didn’t make sense. I started to think something had to be wrong and that this wasn’t just the new normal expected behaviour but I had nothing to go on.
I tried the basic recommendations: Disable thumbnails, disable preview, disable directory item counts. That didn’t help the user experience in any dramatic way. At this point, I started recommended pcmanfm and thunar as a way to workaround nautilus’ terrible performance. I even wrote a fairly concise script for modifying the default file manager and desktop-drawing application so that using a different file manager wouldn’t be so foreign in GNOME.
Then one day I started looking at the verbose level output from automount while browsing the NFS mounts with nautilus and found a substantial amount of this in the logs:
Apr 28 11:19:10 hostname automount: attempting to mount entry /home/.svn Apr 28 11:19:10 hostname automount: key ".svn" not found in map source(s). Apr 28 11:19:10 hostname automount: failed to mount /home/.svn
Oh my! Why are there repeated access attempts for “.svn”? What is causing automount to perform map lookups for “.svn” in the automount-controlled directories? Could it be nautilus?
As it turns out the GNOME SVN integration package “gnubversion” includes a nautilus extension and this extension was causing Nautilus to look for “.svn” directories everywhere and it just so happens that looking for “.svn” in a root-level automount directory causes slow map lookup failures that (presumably) kill the perceptible performance of browsing automounted NFS shares.
I removed gnubversion (as no one was using it) and the user experience for nautilus has normalized. While nautilus still isn’t as speedy as pcmanfm or thunar, its no longer a cause of forceful hair removal incidents… and all is well in the world.