Share your knowledge at the LQ Wiki.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Software
User Name
Linux - Software This forum is for Software issues.
Having a problem installing a new program? Want to know which application is best for the job? Post your question in this forum.


  Search this Thread
Old 03-08-2013, 08:22 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2012
Posts: 58

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Why is the desktop rendered by the file manager?

This applies to KDE, GNOME, and Windows. Why is the desktop (wallpaper, icons, some times the taskbar) shown by the file manager ( we have all heard about the reason Nemo was made, and all have had explorer.exe crash at some point)? It just seems like something the window manager should handle.
Old 03-09-2013, 06:49 AM   #2
Registered: Jun 2012
Location: AccountKiller
Distribution: AccountKiller
Posts: 72

Rep: Reputation: 38
Why do I have a Desktop Directory?
I assume you are referring to a directory called "Desktop", or something like that, which you have in your home folder?
There are a few places on a GNU/Linux system where user data is stored:
/etc is for global configurations which will not be changed very often, such as fstab or the network settings. This directory can not be edited by normal users.

/var is for global configuration and data files which are expected to change often, such as log files and high scores for games. Some of the files here are user-writable

/home is for all the individual user data.
All of this is described in the Unix File Hierarchy Standard.
So, your home directory has to contain the information about your desktop, and if it's there, your File Manager will show it.

But why isn't it a hidden directory, like all those personal config files (.bashrc, .vim, .xmonad, etc)?
Why should it be? Having a visible directory makes stuff, like manually tweaking your icons, a lot easier.
If this really bothers you, and you're using KDE, go to System Settings->About Me->Paths and change the name of your Desktop directory to .Desktop (note the dot in front). Then rename the desktop directory to that and you will never have to see it again.
Old 03-10-2013, 06:42 AM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2009
Location: New Jersey, USA
Distribution: Debian, Arch
Posts: 1,163
Blog Entries: 7

Rep: Reputation: 331Reputation: 331Reputation: 331Reputation: 331

My best guess would be that all of the functionality required for the desktop (launchers, files in that folder, etc.) is essentially the same as that for a file manager, so it followed to have the file manager handle the desktop, rather than writing a whole new application.

At least this situation exists in DEs where the file manager is already in use for other purposes.

Most WMs do not handle the desktop at all, and would probably need extra code the author is not willing to deal with.

Last edited by goumba; 03-10-2013 at 06:53 AM.
Old 03-10-2013, 10:06 AM   #4
Registered: Jun 2008
Location: St.-Petersburg, Russia
Distribution: (B)LFS, Ubuntu, SliTaz
Posts: 402

Rep: Reputation: 51
This applies to KDE, GNOME, and Windows.
In fact, KDE's desktop is not rendered by its file manager, neither in KDE3, nor in KDE4. In KDE3 you had Konqueror as default file manager and kdesktop as desktop app. In KDE4 you have Dolphin as default file manager and plasma-desktop as desktop workspace.

It just seems like something the window manager should handle.
Wrong, Window Manager should only Manage Windows, which is what most WMs are actually doing: KWin, XFWM, metacity, compiz, etc.

As for why Windows and GNOME use their file managers to render desktop directory contents... well, it's natural to show files in file manager, and adding a wallpaper to it is almost the only thing you need for having desktop.

The taskbar is rendered by filemanager only in Windows AFAICT. In GNOME you have gnome-panel, in KDE you have kicker(KDE3) or plasma(KDE4), in XFCE you have xfce4-panel, etc. .

Of course there are some examples of mixing functionalities, e.g. fvwm95 which gives you taskbar and manages windows, but this is more an exception than a rule.
2 members found this post helpful.


desktop, wallpaper

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
[SOLVED] White desktop in Lubuntu Precise with caja file manager nokangaroo Linux - Desktop 0 03-02-2012 05:37 AM
[SOLVED] Desktop File manager crash sababa.sababa Linux - Desktop 2 07-28-2010 11:08 AM
Configuration file for which Desktop manager to use? Knuckles T15 Fedora 1 04-10-2005 10:20 AM
Graphical file manager for non KDE/Gnome desktop Hex29A Linux - Software 8 01-05-2004 11:28 AM
desktop ssh with file manager? kaboom Linux - Software 3 08-26-2003 06:23 AM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Software

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:07 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration