A few of us were discussing minimal desktop environments the other day and I was reminded of the olden days when I used XFCE. I really liked the clean interface which did not display any desktop icons by default. Looking back on that I was reminded that it is an option available in Gnome as well, so here is how to do it.
Disable Desktop Icons In Gnome
A lot of Gnome configuration is done via the gconf-editor. I’ll outline how to do this manually and graphically, including a command you can use to activate it from the shell. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Do you prefer icons or not? They always seem like clutter to me.
The graphical method of stopping icons from displaying on your desktop is as follows:
Navigate to “apps > nautilus > preferences” and on the right-side look for “show_desktop”. Toggling this will toggle, in real-time, the icons from being displayed on your Desktop
This setting can also be achieved by entering the following command at your shell:
gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop --type bool 0
and to revert these changes set the bool to 1:
gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop --type bool 1
Activating Additional Icons
A second, similar setting is to disable mounts from being displayed, or adding the “Computer”, “Home” or “Trash” icons to the desktop. The graphical method of displaying the additional icons is as follows:
Navigate to “apps > nautilus > desktop” and select the boxes “computer_icon_visible”, “home_icon_visible”, “trash_icon_visible”.
Disabling the display of mount points (CDs, USB drives, etc) is done by deselecting the “volumes_visible” option.
Again, these can also be toggled by way of the following commands:
Activate Computer Icon
gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/computer_icon_visible --type bool 1
Activate Home Folder Icon
gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/home_icon_visible --type bool 1
Activate Trash Icon
gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/trash_icon_visible --type bool 1
gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/volumes_visible --type bool 0