Files (Nautilus) v3.28 will lose the desktop icons capability

And here we go, we keep Nautilus 3.26 this cycle and will help on the extension once the LTS is mostly around. If you want to see this part of the meeting logs:


just installed Nemo on 18.04 LTS VM - it looks great as old pretty Nautilus 3.4 (the last normal and adequate version I think). But after killall nautilus-desktop && nemo & Nemo does not handle desktop. And Caja too.

And it is interesting how current Nautilus behavior would work on gnome-panel (GNOME Flashback session aka gnome-session-flashback) session?

  • Killing nautilus-desktop here ends session immediately.
  • Purging nautilus package is not an option - it trying to remove four packages - gnome-session-flashback nautilus nautilus-share ubuntu-desktop.
  • I removed it manually with sudo rm /usr/bin/nautilus-desktop. The result: I can’t make right click on desktop; nemo & and caja & do not show icons on desktop.
  • Fixed by sudo apt-get install --reinstall nautilus.

By the way GNOME Flashback session looks good. Please do not remove it from final release. It would be last resort for traditional users.

On 16.04 LTS user can decide which file-manager will maintain desktop (tested for example - Caja or Nautilus).
All of us are invited to a new bright rainbow future without the possibility of selecting the file manager. GNOME developers are very generous.

try running nemo-desktop after killing nautilus-desktop - that should handle the desktop (hopefully!)

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You don’t need to remove nautilus.
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false

and then try running nemo-desktop. For some reason it is using a background on mouse hover. Not sure if that’s a theme issue. On the other hand caja --force-desktop works well.

Future options are:

  1. Nautilus as file manager and nemo-desktop as desktop
  2. Nautilus as file manager and caja as desktop.
  3. Nautilus + Revive nautilus-desktop as nautilus extension (but lacks api to do that,atm)
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Considering Budgie DE, the decision whether or not using Nautilus 3.26 or 3.28 would be taken upstream, don’t you think? Budgie being mainly created for Solus, whatever that’s good for Solus would be implemented for Budgie, even if Gnome devs would push for Nautilus 3.28 or even 4.00, don’t you think so?

At this moment in time, the core remaining reason for Budgie even “working” on the GNOME stack, is that it expends an awful lot of effort pretending to be GNOME Shell. To give an architectural insight, consider this small example. To display device & volume notifications, the GNOME Settings Daemon sends a message to the org.gnome.Shell name on D-BUS. In our case this has to be budgie-wm, which has to pretend to be org.gnome.Shell for keyboard layouts and shortcuts to work with GNOME Settings Daemon… Unfortunately, you cannot provide normal GTK+ widgets within the Mutter process (budgie-wm), so then we forward this notification onto the GTK+ process, budgie-daemon.

and so on…

How user-friendly is this GNOME world: “Hello this is GNOME and we pronounce RegEdit as GSettings”!

After some trial-and -errors I have:

Nemo: after gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false it:

  • works on Ubuntu (“Unity”) session;
  • works with gsettings set org.nemo.desktop ignored-desktop-handlers "['nautilus','nautilus-desktop','nemo','nemo-desktop']" and sudo rm /usr/bin/nautilus-desktop, but does not show background on GNOME FlashBack - reported bug 1742193.


  • on Ubuntu (“Unity”) session Caja works with caja --force-desktop ;
  • on GNOME FlashBack it works after sudo rm /usr/bin/nautilus-desktop.

Its sad when I see statements like “Budgie being mainly created for Solus”

That really undoes the good work the budgie desktop team (there are many) do to make the desktop agnostic for any distro.

Solus is a consumer of budgie desktop in the same way as ubuntu budgie/manjaro/arch/debian etc.


There is nothing to be sad about this, David.
Budgie is desktop agnostic, all right, but Budgie is the flagship desktop of Solus. If you click on and click on “Get”, you’d see that.

And, Solus started because of not-want-to-use-deb-packages idea. (I’ve been with Evolve OS and before. Those forums are not there to see those thoughts.) One day, it’d move to Qt and the file manager would be what it would be, that is, good for Solus and Budgie, with the emphasis on Solus.

I am commenting on Nautilus and Budgie, because, it was what you were worried about; the desktop icons and so on. (I have both, Ubuntu-Budgie 18.04 and Solus 3, both fully updated. Writing from yours, while checking on Solus 3 on the other laptop.) I am actually not worried about desktop icons that much, but sometimes I like doing some work on the desktop, and if there are no desktop icons, I can’t do that.

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Please stay on-topic. Take side-discussions to PM or a new thread.

If you didn’t carefully read the entire discussion in the IRC log, then you are behind the curve. The discussion lays out alternatives and a sensible recommended plan for both 18.04 and beyond.


The reasons presented a good and valid i think. However, removing the functionality before a replacement is ready is very gnomey decision that I consider harmful. The Desktop metaphor works since decades and many users rely on it in the every day work and organizing their work. I use it as a sort of ToDo list, for example to quickly paste some pictures from my camera before properly sorting them… similar to how I use my real desk.

I hope Ubuntu Bionic Beaver will have a replacement ready before removing the functionality.
Edit: Sorry, I missed this reply:

Very good decision! :+1:


Looks like it is being moved from Files (Nautilus) handling it to GNOME-Shell.

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Not in the 3.28 timeframe. Perhaps in the future if someone steps up to finish the extension

Maybe once we do update to latest nautilus and start using the extension for desktop icons, we can get away from having desktop icon increase in size when we make folders and files larger in nautilus. Good write up @didrocks. Thanks.

First, awesome write ups, solid decision. I’ve got a little bit of a different question I think.

I’ve been a gnome shell user for a long time and prefer that experience but with the merging of Ubuntu Gnome into Ubuntu I’ve know that’s secondary to Canonical’s direction. Again not faulting, your making the right decision for your product.

Getting to the point, I’m not sure what features nautilus 3.28 might have but will there be a way to get a clean latest gnome experience or will we just need to wait till fall?

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If I understand you correctly - I think you’re looking for the ‘vanilla-gnome-session’.

I to have been using gnome-shell for some time, (since it’s second iteration). Didn’t like it at first, (actually hated is the better word) but after a month of daily use, I found that I couldn’t go back to a conventional desktop. So I really do appreciate the Gnome-Devs and their HIGs. They do know what they’re doing and it seems they backup at least some of their design decisions by analysing user data. But … I’m digressing.

Cheers. HTH

I’m running a “vanilla” experience on artful so I get that. Let me ask a different way. Will there be a official PPA or some other method for running nautilus 3.28 without the changes to other systems that @didrocks mentioned needing to support using 3.26? Something like how the Kubuntu team provides access to the latest KDE releases maybe though obviously at a smaller scale.

This isn’t a big deal just trying to understand and set my expectations. Thanks! :slight_smile:

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Probably no official method, there might be a community PPA though, as didrocks pointed out in the blogpost.


A work around… Use a different file manager, confirmed on Ubuntu 18.04

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@didrocks - has the desktop team discussed its nautilus plans for 18.10? Is Nautilus 3.30 still on the plans for 18.10?

If it is - any chance of uploading at least nautilus 3.28 very soon into cosmic whilst nautilus 3.30 is being polished for its September release?


We didn’t discuss about it yet as we discuss new version and upgrades later in the cycle, you can follow our weekly meeting on IRC, on #ubuntu-desktop (freenode) 13:30 UTC on Tuesday.