This is really driving me crazy, if I pull up nautilus and navigate to /proc, my system will completely freeze up. The only way to get out seems to be to SysReq RSEINUB, but sometimes even that doesn't work and I have to hold the power button. This happens even if I gksudo nautilus, I even created another user and I get the same thing. If I open up a shell and navigate there; no problems, same with using MC and I installed dolphin; no problem using either. I reinstalled nautilus and reinstalled the kernel; no dice. I don't even know what to provide as clues, as I cant find anything that seems significant in the logs. I've tried changing graphics drivers removing purging and reinstalling various components, all to no avail. My understanding is that /proc is a virtual file system created by the kernel and therefore recreated at every reboot. What could be causing such a problem?
Just found https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nautilus/+bug/1395880 - it seems to have something to do with a bug in Broadcom's proprietary Wi-Fi drivers.
The first thing that comes to mind is
/proc/brcm_monitor0, a non-standard Broadcom interface that allows putting the Wi-Fi card in monitor mode. There was another bug that causes the entire kernel to crash when attempting to write to that file; I wouldn't be surprised if Nautilus tries to read the file to thumbnail it, triggering that bug and causing the kernel to crash. However, I have no idea if the two bugs are related or not.
EDIT: looks like reading the file triggers the bug too, and the file is chmodded 644, meaning that any user can read that file and thus trigger the bug. Simple hack to test this (too lazy to potentially crash my computer right now) would be to run
sudo chmod go-r /proc/brcm_monitor0 in a terminal and see if Nautilus still freezes.