When I decided to install Gnome 2.20 as my desktop. I knew of Xfce and Fluxbox but I was familiar with Gnome so on a 350mHz laptop I was taking a risk. The decision has been a pretty good experience and Gnome 2.20 runs ok except for a couple items, one of them being Nautilus.
Nautilus shows it size as a file manager with each Nautilus window taking about 5 seconds to load. Thunar is Xfce’s file manager and is a lighter than Nautilus. Since Xfce uses the GTK backend, I looked into if Thunar could be used to replace nautilus. I found this post where a small bash script can be used for the purpose.
The tricky bit about Nautilus is that is also manages the desktop (which it does well at) the script thankfully only uses Thunars file manager properties leaving the desktop aspects to Nautilus.
Load times now are much improved though folders on the desktop still load in Nautilus – I’ll just create launchers for them, I guess.