Until recently, Nautilus had an optional "spatial" mode as an alternative to its usual browser mode. Users could enable it by opening Nautilus's preferences and selecting "Open each folder in its own window." Choosing this option resulted in a stripped down interface, and folders would always open in the same place on the screen. It looked something like this:
That checkbox is still there, but it doesn't do the same thing: while every folder opens in a new window, those windows are all the same size and positioned the same way. Nautilus doesn't restore the size and position of each folder, which is what spatial mode was all about. This difference really shows if someone opens a folder in a new window, and then opens the same folder again. Nautilus will create another window instead of focusing the existing window.
I help someone who is currently using Ubuntu 10.04, and he will be upgrading to 12.04 in the future. He is very comfortable with Nautilus's spatial behaviour and I think he would be disappointed to lose it. Is there an alternative file manager, or perhaps some less obvious option, that will give him an interface similar to the one he is comfortable with?