Inside the terminal, I could use the command 'explorer .' in Win32 or 'open .' in Mac to open GUI explorer/Finder.

What's the equivalent command in Ubuntu?

6 Answers 6


xdg-open . will do what you want based on what is set as the default file manager, however since nautilus is the default I personally find it easier to autocomplete nautilus .

(Note that xdg-open is supposed to supercede gnome-open, as it's a Freedesktop.org solution that is cross-desktop and agreed upon instead of GNOME/KDE specific)

  • Interesting. I have generally used nautilus --browser . I wonder if there is any functional difference with and without the --browser argument.
    – belacqua
    Jan 28, 2011 at 0:17
  • 1
    You might also be interested in gnome-open . which will also default to nautilus for a directory.
    – frabjous
    Jan 28, 2011 at 3:43
  • If I where to use sudo, I'ld use sudo -- nautilus --no-desktop . so that a new desktop is not created. If not, the desktop is messed up.
    – user4124
    Jan 28, 2011 at 16:12

You may wish to give a chance to dolphin, which can be easily installed (if not already) by dropping the next line in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install dolphin

Dolphin is more like a "Finder" and it features the sliding effect in the vertical columns when opening folders and some other useful features.

After installind (or if already installed) drop the next in a terminal, or [Alt][F2] in order to invoke the "Run application" box in order to enter the next command:


And enjoy.

A screenshot is placed here for you to see dolphin in action.

enter image description here


I use mimeopen and it works perfectly fine. Look at it's man page too, it has some handy options.


I have installed gvfs-bin to get the gvfs-open command and then setup an alias in my ~/.bashrc for open so it works pretty much just like OS X. I can do open . to open a nautilus window or open file to open a file in the default program for that file.


On gnome (the ubuntu default) it's gnome-open


An improvement over this answer which gets rid of the noise from stderr and stdout:

open () {
        nohup xdg-open $1 > /dev/null 2>&1

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