Show Desktop Icons

@JerareYoshi I was replying to this part. Why an enable/disable switch in core Settings for something that is not at all available in Gnome core ?

Sound like a good idea…

Ubuntu Dock is not in GNOME core and we get some options for it in GNOME Settings.

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I’ve felt the need for that sometimes. Desktop icons don’t play too well with dock auto-hiding and the only way to disable them is to remove a package that forces the uninstall of ubuntu-desktop, which is not desirable if you want the rest of your desktop and its dependencies to be updated.


To clarify, I would expect this in the Tweaks app and not the Settings app.

It’s a bit more complicated to implement because the GNOME Tweaks app currently doesn’t really directly handle any extensions options like that. It’s going to be take more developer time to build that functionality in.

(Personally, I just haven’t had the time to work on it, with my other obligations and trying to pay my bills.)


Maybe, drop the Desktop Icons system extension and add the generally available Desktop Icons extension.


Sometimes those desktop ions don’t work/do well that’s really irrititing.

I’m following the development of Ubuntu 20.04 (proposed-updates activated) and today I’ve noticed for the first time the Appearance section into Gnome Settings:


Any chance to have Desktop Icons settings inside Appearance? :thinking:

Yaru themes, Dock-bar and Desktop Icons are the 3 exceptions/deviations from the Gnome default.
I’m super glad that settings for a couple of them are now available by default into Gnome Settings, without the need to install any extra software like Tweaks. That’s good especially for new comers.

Let’s say… Desktop Icons settings inside Appearance would be the cherry on top :smiley:


P.S. I know jbicha has already said this implementation is not that easy. If not possible it doesn’t matter. In the end to me it’s just a dconf command after a fresh installation :wink:

P.P.S. Congratulation for the grate job you are doing, Ubuntu looks great!


The desktop icon extensions are always creates the worst desktop experience ever. Because desktop icon extension and the default file manager has no connection with each other. So, desktop hasn’t even the basic facilities like drag and drop files to desktop. The problem can be solved when ubuntu developers allow the default file manager to handle and show desktop icons.

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And the name of this file manager is Caja. And the desktop is MATE.
This is only one normal GTK-based desktop as for now.
Without bells and whistles, with nice traditional look and feel, and it just works - see

Installable by sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-desktop^ .


Thans a lot :blush: hope gnome will improve their desktop environment with these latest features

I understand that Ubuntu/Canonical took the decision to provide their users with a default GNOME desktop but customised to look as much as is possible like the previously default Unity desktop.

I think that the latest features that you refer to were actually removed from the GNOME desktop by GNOME developers some time ago. I can’t see them being added back any time soon.


I recently switched from Clear Linux, which had a useable and attractive desktop that the developers decided to abandon for generic default GNOME, which is much less useable and attractive. I could never figure out how to get the old desktop back because I’m not a Linux expert, so I gave up. I hope that Canonical/Ubuntu will never make the same mistake. I think the Ubuntu desktop environment is by far the most attractive among Linux distros. Its on par with macOS.

I suspect that this thread is going nowhere.

The fellow who pays the engineers has already clearly stated what he wants Ubuntu to look like. He wants it to look like stock Gnome, including Gnome’s decision to end some desktop features. The time for input on that discussion was several years ago and over at Gnome (not Ubuntu). That ship has sailed and is well on to the horizon.

I think that you’re probably not going to like that (and I proffer my sincere apologies for bluntness).

Happily, you have alternatives: Ubuntu has a wide selection of other excellent desktops. Explore them, pick a favorite, and start contributing time and effort to it. You have the power and resources to make some great desktop an even better fit for you than old Gnome was.

I would probably stick with Ubuntu for as long as I like it. When I stop liking it, I’ll stop using it. If Ubuntu starts losing desktop and hobbyist users, they may reconsider their decision. That’s the free market. No need to apologize for your bluntness, because I am equally blunt.

In a year or so, ARM laptops from Apple with the updated macOS on them will be extremely attractive.

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If it is, at least quarter of the ubuntu users will hate and switch from ubuntu to other linux distros like debian. I think ubuntu need a custom desktop environment which is a modified version of gnome

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Folks often mistakenly refer to parts of the Free Software ecosystem in market-based terms. But it’s not a market at all. It’s a commons.

Success is often measured in participation, not revenue (or proxies for revenue like numbers of users). When a non-participating user hops to the next distro, it’s not considered a loss…since they were not participating.

Consider greater participation to make your voice carry greater influence.


It was not like that. The purpose of the idea of free software is to give better software to the users as free as possible. Ubuntu must hear the experience of the users for making the software better


Don’t forget, there are other things that deviate from stock GNOME:

  • different ALT-TAB behaviour
  • GNOME Shell theme, which you can only switch from light to dark after you have installed the ‘user themes’ extensions. And you can only do this in Tweaks.
  • max-minimize buttons on the windows, can only be reverted in Tweaks.
  • Activities hot corner is switched off, as opposed to default GNOME behaviour.

Certainly the first three of these I hope will find their way to the Appearance menu sooner or later, together with the Desktop icons.


It was really better when Ubuntu invented and supported Unity desktop.
Which was great, functional and sometime unique.

For now Ubuntu strictly depends on ill minds of GNOME developers. Last GNOME changelogs are full of removal of features, instead of polishing existing functionality which were here for 10-20 years. So it is wrong decision to depend on GNOME desktop for enterprise grade desktop with massive user base.
And newbies are also out of comfort with GNOME. They heard somewhere that Ubuntu is cool, then went to and download default GNOME desktop which really and surprisingly does not allow to manipulate the icons on the desktop.

It is really time to change the default Ubuntu desktop to MATE which maintains desktop icons (to be on-topic) normally and traditionally by using Caja (fork of Nautilus). Otherwise Ubuntu desktop will become a broken toy with broken desktop.

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