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Midnight Commander (as well as all Norton and Total Commanders I used to use with DOS and Windows) provide a very pleasant facility of stepping into archives (tar.gz, zip, 7z, rar, etc.) and other containers (as ISO CD images) and working with them much like plane directories. Can Nautilus be configured to behave so?

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Not in the way mc is doing it, but you can open them with Archive Mounter and then access them like a mounted file system.

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Very disappointing if this is the only way. I usually need only to extract/view a file or some, mounting an archive every time does not sound any better than just opening it with File Roller. –  Ivan Oct 2 '10 at 23:34

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