gvfs is an open source and completely free software project that implements a Virtual File System (VFS) for the GNOME desktop environment. It is mainly used to display the progress of file transfers under GNOME, as well as to communicate to external storage devices.

It is a user-space virtual filesystem designed to work with the I/O abstractions of the GIO library, which is available on theGLib >= 2.15.1 library. The software is designed to install several modules, which will automatically used by apps via the libgio’s API.

Supports the FUSE file system

The gvfs library also includes support for the FUSE filesystem, which is used by applications that do not use the GIO library. Among other features, gvfs comprises of several utilities that allow users to run commands like cat, stat, or ls, on files mounted in gvfs.

As you might expect, gvfs is extensible through plugins, which means that if you install the right plugin, you will be able to mount your Android mobile phone and access its storage. Plugins are available for download from the main software repositories of modern GNU/Linux operating systems.

Getting started with gvfs

To install the latest version of the gvfs project on your GNU/Linux distribution running the GNOME desktop environment, you must download the stable source package from Softpedia and save it somewhere on your computer.

Open a terminal emulator application, use the ‘cd’ command to navigate to the location of the extracted archive files (e.g. cd /home/softpedia/gvfs-1.23.3), where you will run the ‘./configure && make’ command to configure and compile the program.

After a successful compilation process, run the ‘sudo make install’ command as a privileged user or the ‘make install’ command as root to install gvfs system wide and make it available to all users on your installation.