Faster search with locate?

Hello all. Can the Nautilus search be speeded up maybe? Below is the issue I was going to submit - but the issue template says to start a discussion here first. :slight_smile:


Searching for files in Nautilus is much slower than on the command line with slocate/locate. Times and details:

Command line takes one hundredth of a second:

$ time locate T-200-4
real	0m0.011s

Files takes 13 seconds (measured with a stopwatch). So Nautilus/Files is over a THOUSAND times slower for a typical global search on my laptop.


  • 2TB SSD
  • 8 core (16 virtual) AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
  • 32 Gb RAM


  • If locate or slocate is installed, search with that.


  • The slocate database may not have very new files, or may return files that have been deleted very recently.
    • This suggests that slocate can be run and the presence of the files validated to avoid false positives. A simple prototype suggests that this would take 0.1 seconds for the example above:
real	0m0.105s
user	0m0.055s
sys	0m0.054s
(base) max@pop:~/$ time bash -c 'locate T-200-4 | xargs -d "\n" -I{} stat {}'

Hi Max, interesting idea.

locate seems to use a database to get search results. Files already has database search support by using tracker. I think instead of relying on arbitrarily available binaries, that might or might not be used by the user otherwise, the default paths indexed by tracker should be expanded. This should already increase performance significantly.

could one write a search app that has a search provider, so you could plug different “search engines” into the overview / Files search?

so you could have a “locate” based backend and a “ripgrep” backend, that provide output to the overview search results?

Yes, one could write such an app/search provider for the shell search (not for the search in nautilus itself though).


Try out Nautilus 46’s global search feature (the one from the sidebar), it will give you instantaneous results, although they may be incomplete due to this Tracker issue or this Tracker issue.

As for regular in-folder recursive search that uses both Tracker and the fallback “simple” search, or search performance in general, it would be best to fix the existing performance issues related to search or the views, first. If search is still slow after that, then we can investigate further.