The GNU Midnight Commander is the file manager of choice for the GNOME project at the time of writing. It implements a user-space Virtual File System library that solves the problem of accessing files within archive files or on remote Internet sites through an extended URI system which is explained in greater detail in section 4.
Although the VFS library source code could be made independent of the GNU Midnight Commander and thus its functionality could be used by all the applications, it suffers a few design problems:
The latter problem is the most important one: as a Virtual File System has to deal with kinds of files that can be quite different from the standard Unix files, it needs some API extensions to support this functionality. Moreover, it needs some API extensions to deal with asynchronous operations. Unfortunately, it is not possible to add functionality to the API in a clean way without breaking Unix compat- ibility, so this makes the GNU Midnight Commander's Virtual File System unsuitable as a generic library for GNOME.