OK, so I'm no Linux developer or even an expert of Linux, but I like to tinker and hack. Since upgrading to 11.10, I've been frustrated with new location of the back and forward buttons. It just didn't make any sense and isn't uniform with any other interface for browsing. I don't really care about the search button, because I've never used it in my life. Any way, I decided to dabble with the source code and I think I fixed it. I've been using Nautilus the past few days without a hiccup with the back and forward buttons on the left, before the location/path bar.
It's really easy to do, and I've got the easy Terminal instructions below. BTW, the version of Nautilus current as of this post is 3.2.1. You will probably need to do this any time Nautilus gets updated through Update Manager. The exact line number of the code that needs to change may vary as well. If this is the case, just use find as I instruct below.
Warning: I am not a professional and am not responsible for anything going wrong. These instructions are simply a guide for how I personally managed to fix this annoyance. Use at your own risk.
First off, you may need to enable the "Source code" repository. To do this in Ubuntu, press the Super/Windows key and type "Source". Open the "Software Sources" application from the results. Check the box before "Source code", then click close.
Now, scroll down to line 132 or do a "find" for "gtk_toolbar_insert (GTK_TOOLBAR (self->priv->toolbar), item, 0)" and change the "0" to a "2". So change the original line from:
sudo apt-get update
apt-get source nautilus
sudo apt-get build-dep nautilus
gtk_toolbar_insert (GTK_TOOLBAR (self->priv->toolbar), item, 0);
When you're done, click save and close Gedit.
gtk_toolbar_insert (GTK_TOOLBAR (self->priv->toolbar), item, 2);
Back in Terminal, run the following:
At this point, I would actually recommend logging out and back in or just restarting.
sudo killall nautilus
sudo make install
To undo the changes and revert back to stock Nautilus, you can either change the "2" back to a "0", re-make and re-install, or you can simply run:
You might want to remove the required dev packages also, but be careful not to remove something that may have already been there and is needed.
sudo apt-get --reinstall install nautilus