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Help test the "Active Desktop" for 19.04


Hmm. I’m not sure if Budgie / Solus project would be OK to just ditch the usage of nautilus entirely. However isn’t it also already possible to display Desktop icons using the ‘Nemo’ file manager instead? Because to all intents and purposes it seems to be a very similar program. ‘Nemo’ mostly duplicates the major functionality of Nautilus.

Perhaps others here can comment in more detail as to why this might or might not be a good idea. It just strikes me that you are trying to reinvent the wheel again. Which is just yet again as with like many other projects within the sprawling linux GUI ecosystem. The result often ends up being that: the developer burden of maintaining many duplicated software is [if anything else] a pretty inefficient and burdensome way for us all to organize together all of our limited and costly developer time. Which is a limited resource that is difficult to manage effectively.

After all, we only really need 1 or 2 outstanding programs in each category… not 5 or 6 mediocre ones. As is typically the case. Now you might be thinking… well that does sound very much like the mantra of gnome organization. However I really have very little to no approval for the way they do things over there. It’s pretty horrific. And they definitely should not be the ones left in charge to be deciding these sorts of things on behalf of everybody else.

In fact: Taking away this feature from nautilus is merely one example amonst many others. Anyhow in this instance [of many], ‘Nemo’ is really the most reasonable workaround that we seem to have at this time. Unless some other developers end up deciding to fork and take on Nautilus away from Gnome. (and hopefully also certain other specific key projects that exist within the gnome software stack, including GTK and GDM).


My tuppence. There is literally no one who is offering to fork nautilus desktop and continue maintaining it. It is code that is increasingly difficult to maintain and hence has been dropped by GNOME

I cannot speak for Solus themselves… but what I can say is that they have zero plans to include Nemo into their project currently.

Nemo has its cinnamon dependencies as well. Plus running two file managers just is architecturally the wrong way to proceed.

It has its problems due to its cinnamon dependencies and you can quickly see it if you try to run with it.

It brings its own baggage and really isn’t a long term solution. Short term maybe. But then still will need to find a solution in the medium to long term… or just say … forget it … no desktop icons. Find your own solution… etc etc

Ack. on the potential duplication argument. It’s something we should always be concerned with.


Making progress (for those reading this post first - see first post for installation instructions):

  1. The PPA now contains the absolutely latest budgie-desktop from upstream Solus project.
  2. DesktopFolder now has the ability to change icons on all files
  3. No longer loses desktop icon image on first startup
  4. Icons are no longer overlayed on-top-of-each other on first startup
  5. Can now choose SVG images for desktop icons
  6. Can now right click and open with another application
  7. Can now right click and “Open terminal” for folder icons/desktop/panels
  8. Can now right click and “Open” the application associated with the icon
  9. Photos have better highlighting and can be sized quite small
  10. Can confirm you can copy a desktop icon to plank / icon-applet if you press CTRL + Drag

Next steps

  1. Thinking about right click copy-paste onto the desktop
  2. Looking at the drag/drop mechanism to see if stuff can be made a bit more intuitive.
  3. Possible Trash Can on desktop - this needs the improved drag-drop mechanism
  4. DesktopFolder maintainer is mulling over thoughts about making icons flow when inserting between icons - discussion here https://github.com/spheras/desktopfolder/issues/148)
  5. Much more translations - UB are helping here and invite people to help translating https://www.transifex.com/ubuntu-budgie/desktopfolder)


Tested on Thinkpad t60 running 18.10, installed ppa.

Making progress.

New things I have found:

Did a network mount. It showed up under Places but not on the desktop. org.gnome.nautilus.desktop has volumes-visible as true.

Can not rubber band multiple desktop items to delete, needed to delete each by itself.

Can’t see Properties of desktop item on right-click.


Noted - I don’t regard that as a necessity since it is covered by the places applet

Ack - already known - https://github.com/spheras/desktopfolder/issues/118

Ah - yes - forgot that Jacob is half way through that enhancement to provide key property values of a desktop item


Noted - I don’t regard that as a necessity since it is covered by the places applet

That may be OK for UB. However, if your positioning Desktopfolder for a larger audience than Elementary and BW then you might want to rethink that. Gnome had a desktop setting that allowed for the user to put a number of icons on the desktop, e.g. Network servers, Trash, etc.

BTW, gnome is working on a shell extension that will provide some ?? of the desktop icon capability. I saw a screen shot and it looks some like Desktopfolder. Are they using the same code? Do you know the planned functionality?


The GNOME Shell extension is written is GNOMEs javascript variant. It is specific to GNOME Shell and thus cannot be used on any other desktop environment.

DesktopFolder is written using Vala & Gtk and is thus portable to any GTK+ desktop environment.

I personally don’t agree that Network Servers is a necessity on the desktop. Sure if someone wants to work on that fair enough - its just not a focus for UB. I similarly don’t have any personal interest in the Trash icon (EDIT: after your prodding!), but Jacob and Dustin do - hence looking at what the art of the possible is.


I installed the ppa today and played around with it. I found it REALLY COOL. I especially liked the panel. My suggestion would be to have the possibility to resize the panel over the position of the outer icons. Now, the panel’s resizing ability is limited by the outer icon position. You cannot push the sides of the panel over the icons. I imagine it could be nice to be able to resize the panel independently of the position of the icons in it.


Happen to be on UB 18.10 with Desktopfolder installed. I thought that drag and drop worked but does not now. Am I missing something?


press CTRL when dragging an icon.

Note - in the next version hopefully due soon, there is an new “get desktopfolder to auto arrange” option. So desktopfolder automatically handles placing and sorting. A side effect is that drag and drop works without pressing CTRL.

We have an upstream issue seeing if we can workout if an icon is moved over something that is droppable (e.g. icon-task-list/plank/Files) - so that would mean that the CTRL becomes redundant. Future stuff.


press CTRL when dragging an icon.

Tried that, think that only works for dragging a desktop icon to the dock. My drag and drop was from a folder to the desktop.


drag from Nautilus (Files) to the desktop?

Yeah - think the GNOME boys have been “at it” again - they have changed the way drag-drop from Nautilus to something else works in Nautilus 3.30 and later.

Nautilus 3.26 the drag-drop mechanism is different - pretty standard and worked with desktopfolder and other apps.

Will need to understand what is different and how to cope with the changes.


Yes sir good old Nautilus. Drat, the GNOME boys :frowning: Now you have to left click and select move.

As a side note, I use the Thunar as my file manager on my regular 18.10 desktop. So, I tried it with 3.30 and drag and drop works :slight_smile: Not suggesting Thunar, just an observation.


Mmm, probably related to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T_Kj2116zc ( Desktop Shell Extension ) ?


FYI - just a heads up on the upcoming release - gif that shows the app-arrange and grid capabilities when moving stuff around.


The PPA (ppa:ubuntubudgie-dev/desktop-icons) has now been extended to cover 18.04, 18.10 and 19.04 users.

The desktop-icons package will be built automatically with the latest changes from upstream if they are available.

So in the current packages you have the following additional changes to lookout for:

  1. New animations
  2. Right click properties has been redesigned
  3. New options for DesktopFolder to automatically arrange the desktop / arrange by grid / free placement
  4. Double click the desktop to show or hide the desktop
  5. Double click/rename options for panels
  6. Right click - show properties of and icon/folder
  7. Automatic drag n drop when “arrange by grid” mode - press the CTRL key for the other 2 placement modes
  8. Icons/Folders should now be placed correctly where you right-click the desktop
  9. Scrollbar for panels
  10. Revised SNAP snapcraft.yaml - can now create a snap version of desktop folder - needs more help here to fix stuff
  11. Lots of other bug fixes applied.


I am unable to delete the panel. When I try to, I am getting the error message "Unable to create trashing file for /home/user/Desktop/My Panel "


Interesting. Please create an issue upstream here https://github.com/spheras/desktopfolder



Let’s try…

Add ppa, ok

Then install desktopfolder - may sound obvious but it’s worth mentioning.

Then launch it… How ? From terminal desktopfolder but how make it « stay » ?

  1. I think there is a localization problem. It does not take into account my actual desktop folder - which is called Bureau in my language. Instead it creates a new Desktop folder in my personal folder.
  2. I’ve got a ( budgie ) panel on the left, Unity fashion. Activedesktop’s grid should shift right. Actually icons end « under » left ( budgie ) panel
  3. Tried to drag’n’drop new file from ( activedesktop ) panel onto desktop, it crashed.
  4. Any rename made into nautilus moves icon back to first line. I did not expect any move.
  5. Introduces new styles for labels ( file/folder name ) which will have to match the global environment style…

coeur-noir@asgard:~ desktopfolder (desktopfolder:8869): GLib-GObject-WARNING **: 23:09:20.165: value "-39" of type 'gint' is invalid or out of range for property 'width-request' of type 'gint' (desktopfolder:8869): Gtk-CRITICAL **: 23:09:38.165: gtk_widget_event: assertion 'WIDGET_REALIZED_FOR_EVENT (widget, event)' failed (desktopfolder:8869): Gtk-CRITICAL **: 23:09:39.192: gtk_widget_event: assertion 'WIDGET_REALIZED_FOR_EVENT (widget, event)' failed (desktopfolder:8869): Gtk-CRITICAL **: 23:09:43.941: gtk_widget_event: assertion 'WIDGET_REALIZED_FOR_EVENT (widget, event)' failed (desktopfolder:8869): GLib-GObject-CRITICAL **: 23:09:44.724: g_object_unref: assertion 'G_IS_OBJECT (object)' failed (desktopfolder:8869): GLib-GObject-CRITICAL **: 23:09:44.787: g_object_unref: assertion 'G_IS_OBJECT (object)' failed (desktopfolder:8869): Gtk-CRITICAL **: 23:09:46.738: gtk_widget_event: assertion 'WIDGET_REALIZED_FOR_EVENT (widget, event)' failed Erreur de segmentation (core dumped) coeur-noir@asgard:~

See no bitterness here, I don’t have much time these days.

Are any options to sort by column rather than line planned ? Or ability to transform a folder-on-desktop into a panel-on-desktop ?

Any idea to give another name to ( activedesktop ) panel for avoiding confusion with ( budgie ) panel ?
Board ? Frame ? Viewbox ? Lol, detail…


Thanks for the valuable feedback

Then launch it… How ? From terminal desktopfolder but how make it « stay » ?

Once it is installed it will autostart when you next login. Ack. for the install instructions. Will add

I think there is a localization problem. It does not take into account my actual desktop folder - which is called Bureau in my language. Instead it creates a new Desktop folder in my personal folder.

Good catch - reported upstream https://github.com/spheras/desktopfolder/issues/210

Reported upstream: https://github.com/spheras/desktopfolder/issues/211

I couldn’t reproduce this

See - that is why valuable testing feedback is so necessary! Cheers - https://github.com/spheras/desktopfolder/issues/212

Don’t really understand this one

Raised here https://github.com/spheras/desktopfolder/issues/213

hmm - not sure I would like any of those alternative names! … but yes - detail is very important.