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frankbell 03-11-2014 08:56 PM

[SOLVED] Desktop Peeve
Why the heck do some distros/desktops (I'm looking at you Mint MATE) think that the appropriate default location for saving a file/download is the Desktop?

I cannot think of a worse spot to choose for a default "save" location (for example, just look over there, at my girlfriend's computer--her desktop is icon central). I've spent a lot of time collecting lots of pretty pictures for my wallpaper; the last thing I want is a bunch of superfluous icons cluttering up my desktop and hiding my pretty pictures.

And the most irritating thing is that I have not yet found how to change that default--it's well hidden.

But I will find it.

It has become my Linux Quest.

weirdwolf 03-11-2014 09:57 PM

Ya know, I may be missing something here, (wouldn't be the first time) but, My default location for downloads is controlled by my browser, Firefox > Edit > Preferences > General > Downloads.

using LXDE and PCManFM

PTrenholme 03-11-2014 11:16 PM

I should show you my workspace windows: no icons on any of them, and all task bars auto hidden. (I use a KDE desktop, so it's easy to get rid of all that stuff.)

In any case, as weirdwolf noted, most browsers expect you to specify your download location. See the browser's "Settings" or "Options" page, or, if you're using Firefox (or Chrome), there's a nice app you can install that will let you parse the name of your download and place it in a different directory depending on what the name matches in your rule set.

Or, if you're using wget in a terminal window, your file(s) will go into your cwd if you don't specify otherwise in the wget options.

k3lt01 03-11-2014 11:50 PM


Originally Posted by weirdwolf (Post 5132950)
Ya know, I may be missing something here, (wouldn't be the first time) but, My default location for downloads is controlled by my browser, Firefox > Edit > Preferences > General > Downloads.

I set mine to "Ask me" and once that is done and your settings are all in /home it never changes.

sgosnell 03-12-2014 08:56 AM

Assuming Firefox is the browser, the defaults were probably set with Windows users in mind. Most Windows users seem incapable of finding any file that isn't on the desktop. So the easiest solution is to use the desktop as the default, knowing that users who actually know something about computers and their OS will be able to change it to whatever directory they prefer. The path of least resistance, and all that...

frankbell 03-12-2014 08:20 PM

Downloads really aren't the issue. I seldom use Firefox, but I know how to deal with it.

It's the default in the text editor (pluma) to save a file (not a download) to the desktop, which has nothing to do with Firefox. I've encountered it both on the Mint MATE desktop (I'm configuring up E17 for day-to-day use) I'm using on one of my computers (long story) and on an older box I'm setting to give to Second Son (it's only got one gig RAM so I'm setting up LXDE for him to use day-to-day).

The default editor does not have a "save as" configuration item that I can find anywhere in it, and, so far, I haven't found out where it's hidden. It doesn't seem to be in my user profile or anywhere I else I can find in the Mint Control Center.

Do you think it might be a gconf thing?

I'm sorry I wasn't clearer.

sgosnell 03-12-2014 08:36 PM

What is the editor? I have no idea what Mint Mate uses for that. Mint is targeted at Windows refugees, so it's generally set up to be as close to Windows as possible. I tried it out when it was relatively new, and couldn't get past the relentless green, so I moved on to distros that were closer to what I wanted. It's certainly a matter of personal preference. It may be that the desktop default was chosen because that's the Windows default. Or maybe not, I can't say for sure. Without knowing the editor, I also can't advise how to change its default.

AnanthaP 03-12-2014 09:20 PM


I'm sorry I wasn't clearer.
It was clear enough

What is the editor?
pluma. He says so. It's basically a fork of gedit.

From a certain perspective, taking forward the metaphor of a physical desktop, the desktop might seem to be a natural place for keeping current work.

Presumably every time the OP has to work with a file, he has to copy it to the desktop. This would dangerously create duplication, possibility of deleting current work etc. This would certainly be a major irritant apart from overlaying his beautiful desktop icons.

I googled and got this.
It works with linux mint 13 mate and gnome.v.2. Possibly you have to upgrade your MATE.

and also
Around line 903, seems to have a para on opening other locations with <ctrl+l>


frankbell 03-12-2014 09:28 PM

Pluma--as near as I can tell, it's a MATE re-spin of gedit.

I think referring to Mint as something for "Windows refugees" is not quite fair. There is some truth to it as regards their menu design and so forth, but it seems to belittle what is actually quite a well-done distro.

I don't care why they set up their defaults the way they did. I think that making things easy for Windows refugees can be a good thing. In fact, that's one reason I picked it for second Son, as he is currently computerless (another long story that involves Austin, Texas, ill-advised moves, and a motorcycle), that and Mint's excellent driver and codec support.

I do believe that a user's wanting to change something as basic as his or her default "save as" path should not be buried many fathoms deep. But I'll find it.

Just as a tidbit, I installed the current version of Mint.

AnanthaP, I grabbed that pdf and will look at it tomorrow and report back.

sgosnell 03-13-2014 08:48 AM

I didn't mean to belittle Mint, their target audience is their decision, as are their design goals. Linux has something for everyone, and I don't worry about which distro different people use. Making things easy for Windows refugees is not a bad thing, I just meant that that seems to be one of the aims of Mint, and might help explain the defaults. I have no problems with the defaults, that was your complaint, I was just attempting to explain them. I don't know how deeply the settings are buried, and really have no incentive to dig into them. Same for Pluma, no incentive to install it and spend the time experimenting with it.

frankbell 03-13-2014 06:52 PM

Sorry, AnanthaP, I did not get to the PDF. Other stuff demanded my attention, like fine-tuning my E17 desktop on Mint--maybe next week.

sgosnell, I hope I didn't come on too strong. I just felt Mint was not getting recognition for being the robust distro that it is.

It wasn't my first choice on my new computer--I ordered it with Slackware and it came with Slackware, but Slackware didn't like the sound card and I was more interested in taking it for a spin than in honing my troubleshooting skills. It's a nice box.

weirdwolf 03-13-2014 08:49 PM

Tried Mate before, and yes there are a boat load of semi-hidden configs. Seems there was a short(shorter anyways) config and a longer one too. Sorry I don't remember more.

AnanthaP 03-14-2014 05:13 AM

Actually, even the PDF only gives an option during SAVE to save to a different location. Which is much less than what you asked for which was to change the default setting itself to something other than the desktop.

I checked my GEDIT. It too doesn't seem to have any straight forward way to change the default setting (currently $HOME) directory. I then looked for configuration files in ~/.gnome2. 2 promising but none exact.

So next maybe you have to look at the source.


frankbell 03-14-2014 05:10 PM

If I find it, I'll be sure to report back. I'm away from that box for a couple of days. I'll restart the hunt later.

DavidMcCann 03-15-2014 12:25 PM

My ancient Gedit saves by default to $HOME and it can't be changed, but surely it's no big deal to click on a subdirectory in the list?

I wouldn't say Mint is for Windows refugees: more for people who don't want to spend ages messing with configuration or things that don't work, and who want a GUI that's not in your face or under your feet. It's the only Debian derivative I'd ever consider using.

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