Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Order Out Of Chaos - Finding My Desktop in Elementary OS / Freya

I'm becoming a fan of the Elementary design aesthetic. At first I fought it. I replaced Plank with Docky, only to realize that this added no functionality, just distractions. So I've gone back to the minimalistic, focused desktop that Freya delivers.

In the end, I have only 1 thing I need to change - I need to be able to put files on my desktop. Some 3rd party software will bork without this - try to 'Add to Desktop' in Chrome or create a desktop shortcut in any IntelliJ IDE.

So, to start with, I just created a ~/Desktop folder. This solves the issues with applications that expect a Desktop folder. But it's still not convenient. I found this excellent article which gives me back my standard desktop.

But now I have a new problem. When I click on my Home icon, is opens in nautilis, not the native pantheon-files. I end up using 2 different file managers at the same time, and this is the road back to the typical Linux chaos that I'm trying to avoid.

So, first, lets go back into dconf-editor and roll back one change. Under org->gnome->nautilis->desktop and set the home-icon-visible, network-icon-visible, and trash-icon-visible properties off.

Next, open scratch, and enter:

#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=pantheon-files /home/bruce

Instead of 'bruce', use your own account name. Save it as ~/Desktop/Home.desktop
Make it executable:

$ chmod +x ~/Desktop/Home.desktop

Now we have our own custom Home icon. When we click on it, it will open our home folder in the native file manager. We have restored our working desktop and minimized the chaos.