Ubuntu contributor Didier Roche announced that the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system could ship with an older version of the Nautilus (Files) file manager for out-of-the-box support for desktop icons.

As you may be aware, upstream GNOME team decided to remove the handling of desktop icons from the Nautilus file manager, moving it to the GNOME Shell user interface through an extension. The change will take effect with the upcoming GNOME 3.28 desktop environment, due for release on March 14, 2018.

Now that Ubuntu switched to GNOME as default desktop environment, the change will affect all upcoming releases of the operating system, starting with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), which is currently under heavy development.

While the GNOME devs didn’t offer any details on this major change until now, as they are probably still trying to implement the handling of desktop icons in GNOME Shell, it would appear that the Ubuntu Desktop team decided to play it safe for now and stick with an older Nautilus version, such as 3.26, because “it works.”

“And here we go, we keep Nautilus 3.26 this cycle and will help on the extension once the LTS is mostly around,” said Didier Roche. This means that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, due for release on April 26, 2018, will ship with the latest GNOME 3.28 desktop environment and use the Nautilus 3.26 file manager.

It’s not the first time Ubuntu ships with an older file manager

It’s not the first time this happens for Ubuntu, as numerous releases of the operating system used an older version of the Nautilus file manager in the past. Probably most users are fed up with it, especially that Ubuntu 17.10 just managed to stabilize things and finally ship with the latest GNOME Stack.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be supported by Canonical with software and security updates for the next five years, so they need to play it safe in case GNOME’s new solution for supporting desktop icons via the GNOME Shell user interface is too complex for the Ubuntu Desktop team to integrate it.

Unfortunately, this means that Ubuntu users won’t be able to enjoy the latest Nautilus 3.28 release and its new features. GNOME devs said that the removal of handling of desktop icons from Nautilus was necessary for them to be able to add new functionality to the file manager, which shouldn’t have managed desktop icons in the first place.