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-   -   Saving Things to Linux Desktops? (

dav290948 03-01-2007 05:58 PM

Saving Things to Linux Desktops?
On my present Distro Forum, we've been having some ructions regarding Home PC Users Saving, Copying, and Downloading, things to their Desktops. As a Tech from that side, I'd agree that there can be problems in doing those things in Windows, though many Home PC Users actually do all of those things.

However, in a properly set up Linux PC, there shouldn't be any technical or security problems in doing that, so long as files aren't actually "stored" there, rather, the Desktop is used as a temp-transit area for downloads, or files created in an app, and about to be immediately emailed, and Users don't put links to things, willy-nilly, Windows style, all over it.

But, we have some very keen Advanced Linuxers as Mods, and they're insisting that Users NEVER Save, Copy, or Download to the Desktop, nor should they EVER work on the Desktop...! Obviously, Forum Members can't contradict Mods, who do have a pretty hard set of tasks to perform, anyway, but this one just won't go away...

People using Home PCs do use the Desktop as a Working Area - and Linux does supply multiple Desktops - which are, in some Distros, even called "Work Spaces". So there's some confusion about this in our Forum, with the Mods now Deleting the Postings of anyone who even says to "Save to the Desktop, then back it up to...", and similar things when advising the Newys on how to do things in Linux.

We - the bit more experienced Forum Members, though I'm no advanced expert, yet - are trying to compare what the New Arrivals did in Windows, as tasks, then explain the easiest ways to do those things in Linux. Which has to mean that "Desktops" on both sides do at least get mentioned. Or used as workarounds, if we can't assume the Newer Member is Terminal-familiarised.

So - what's the view - General and/or Technical, on this? Should Home PC Users never, ever, save/download/transit things via Desktop? Or never, ever, "Work on the Desktop?" If not - good reasons - so we can explain them to those Newer Members - would be appreciated.

Best Regards, All, Dave.

fukawi2 03-01-2007 06:20 PM

I don't see any reason why you shouldn't save to the desktop - it's "just another folder" within your home directory so what does it matter?

The only thing that MIGHT be an issue is with large amounts of files, maybe Gnome / KDE / Xfce / Flux won't be happy having to draw so many icons...

But the capability to save files on the desktop is there, why the hell not use it?!

MS3FGX 03-01-2007 06:31 PM

I don't really understand the debate at all. The "Desktop" is a completely different concept between Linux and Windows.

In Windows, the directory which actually holds desktop information is buried within their individual user directory under C:\Documents and Settings, so actually storing and installing things there is a bad idea, as it is separate from the normal areas a user should be saving anything other then temporary files. Especially if you have a separate partition or a networked drive that "My Documents" is linked to. Users would logically think that files and applications on their desktop would be stored on that remote location, when it would actually still be on their local drive.

But in Linux, the desktop is simply a directory inside of /home. There is absolutely no difference between installing an application to the desktop and installing it to their home directory. It is literally only a single directory away.

It's not the best practice in the world, no; but I really don't see what the big deal is considering the technical ramifications of it on a Linux machine.

xgreen 03-01-2007 07:00 PM

agreed with MS3FGX.

NicolaCowboy 03-20-2007 08:46 PM

I always save to desktop if downloading, no reason not to. Desktop as mentioned before is only a folder in the home directory.

AceofSpades19 03-20-2007 10:14 PM

what is so bad about it
would it be possible to get one of the mods to explain it to us?

SlowCoder 03-25-2007 04:48 PM

Ooh, I must say this is an interesting topic ...

Can you clarify some of these:

1. Why is it that the gurus still think that the GUI is evil? As far as I'm concerned it's more intuitive, especially with the new graphical applications available today. I will give it to them that it is definitely a good thing to understand the CLI, and that is a requisite to understanding Linux.

2. MS3FGX: I'm not aware of the situation you're talking about. Our domain is configured so that the desktop is also on a networked location. Just curious, and maybe I'm not reading that right?

3. In Windows, there is a path size limitation, I believe, of 1024 bytes. With the long default Windows user path being "C:\Documents and Settings\$USER\Desktop", some of that real estate is taken, and I've run into situations where this was a problem especially when users nest directories within other directories within other directories. Is this also a problem with Linux? What is the limit for Linux?

4. What is the logic behind not using your desktop to store files? I do it all the time, without problems, and just create subdirectories to keep my stuff clean. (I know this seems wierd, as I contradict myself in point 3, but I keep my directories relatively shallow.)

Everything above is just for curiosity sake. I've been using MS for a long time, and have been playing with Linux for a relatively little while. I'm still on a learning curve, and am still ironing out the philosophical and technological differences.


MS3FGX 03-25-2007 05:03 PM

It depends completely on the network/domain setup as to what is actually mounted on the server versus just staying on the local file system. If you are using something like Roaming Profiles, then your desktop would travel around with you to different machines, but this is not always the case.

For example, I was running a Windows NT (later 2000) network where authentication was handled by the domain controller, but we were not using roaming profiles. Once the user logged into their desktop, a number of network drives would be created to point to various per-user directories on the domain controller for centralized backup and storage. On some of these machines "My Documents" would also be mapped to the server, but not on all (depending on what the needs of that employee/department).

In any event, while there were a number of directories mounted from the server for centralized storage, their actual desktops were not. A number of times users had stored files on their desktop they were never supposed to (monthly statistics and such), never understanding the concept that only the files stored on the networked drives would actually be on the server, everything else would just sit on their computer. Of course, the employees that actually paid attention and followed directions never had a problem, but unfortunately there are not too many of those in the real world.

fukawi2 03-25-2007 05:56 PM


Originally Posted by SlowCoder
1. Why is it that the gurus still think that the GUI is evil? As far as I'm concerned it's more intuitive, especially with the new graphical applications available today. I will give it to them that it is definitely a good thing to understand the CLI, and that is a requisite to understanding Linux.

It's not "evil" - it's just unnecessarily using system resources (esp. RAM) when in a server environment. If I'm not actively at the console using the GUI on my Mail Server, why not kill the GUI and free up those resources for the Mail Server daemon to use? :)

It could also pose a security issue - less services = less risk.

I only wish I could do that to Windoze - we could halve our server hardware specs!!

J.W. 03-25-2007 07:15 PM

My 2 cents: I fail to see what the controversy would be. Regardless of whether someone prefers to save things to the "desktop" (which after all is simply another directory) or to a specific directory, the end result is exactly the same - the file will be written to the hard drive. The only possible difference would be whether you'd need to just click on an icon on the desktop, or to open your directory tree and navigate to it. Six of one, half dozen of the other if you ask me......

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