Although NOT my favorite File Manager, see my article on the OPS Team Blog “File Managers: Alternatives to Nautilus and Konqueror” for why, Nautilus can be taught to be less stodgy.
I really enjoyed this article, except for the fact that it’s examples were based on Debian. Useful nonetheless.
Ever wondered what all the settings inside GConf do? Wait no more, this article will help you understand GNOME’s inner workings.