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How to display content of ~/Desktop on desktop

asked 2015-11-09 18:34:12 +0000

fabian gravatar image

updated 2015-11-09 18:49:59 +0000

Hello everyone,

there's one feature I really miss in i3: The big desktop-environments give you the possibility to let the filemanager display the content of your XDGDESKTOPDIR on the desktop. Of course while using a tiling window manager you can't see your desktop most of the time anyway, but it would be great for me to see the outstanding work right after login. Anyways: I tried to use various filemanagers for this purpose, but i3 treats the "desktop-window" as a normal floating window and that's of course not what I want.

Is there anybody who can tell me how to do this in i3 or whether this is even possible?

Thanks for your solutions and ideas!

Greetings Fabian

edit: My distribution is Arch Linux if it matters.

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You can use assignments to make sure desktop windows are tiled and not floated.

Airblader gravatar imageAirblader ( 2015-11-09 21:25:20 +0000 )edit

Of course, but this won't solve the actual problem, because these "desktop-windows" are supposed to lay underneath everything else.

fabian gravatar imagefabian ( 2015-11-10 07:23:50 +0000 )edit

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answered 2015-11-29 18:14:09 +0000

fabian gravatar image

updated 2015-11-30 08:33:04 +0000

So here is my solution to display the content of a directory (for me it is ~/Schreibtisch) on your desktop. This solution differentiates only between to types of files: Directories and other. But it's imaginable to add other file types.

You probably won't be able to use my script below whithout doing any changes to it. Especially referring to the ~/Schreibtisch directory used in there and the absolute paths in the lnk files. Maybe I'll upload a more general version of it some day, but I'm quite busy at the moment. Use the script at your own risk.

Please also note that this is more like an alpha version, because it is not tested very well and there are some minor problems when it comes to multi-monitoring (referring to weird repositioning of the icons).

This is what you need:

And how you set it up:

  • put the default directory and file lnk in ~/.idesktop directory and name them dir.default respectively file.default.

  • Change the default actions in these lnk files to what you want. Default is launching ranger within terminator for directories and launching xdg-open for files.

  • put default icons of your choice in ~/.idesktop/icons and name them dir.png respectively file.png

  • put the Script iDeskIcons into a proper directory

  • add iDeskIcons to your autostart applications. For example by appending "exec --no-startup-id iDeskIcons" to your i3 config

And there you go!

Again: This is not a foolproof step-by-step guide. Doublecheck the script if it is applicable to your situation first.

And Again thanks to Rotech for the advice.

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answered 2015-11-09 19:25:24 +0000

i3convert gravatar image

This is not directly possible as far as I know. You could still do one of the following:

  1. Use the i3 window manager within KDE or some other desktop environment. You can look up information online on how to do this. I suspect then the desktop environment would still display its desktop and that desktop would still be accessible.

  2. Write a script that listens to i3 events and if your current workspace gets empty, it brings a permanently open file manager window from the scratchpad. You can remove borders from that file manager to make it more desktop like. When another window is open, the script would move the file manager window back to the scratchpad.

These are just two ideas. They both require some work, perhaps a lot. If you play with any of these options, consider writing a blog post somewhere or pasting the solution here, so perhaps someone else can learn from you experience.

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Thank you for your response! Using i3 within another desktop environment isn't a solution for me, because one of the main reasons I switched to i3 was to keep my system as small as possible. Anyways, your second idea is worth a try and I'll work on this in the near future.

fabian gravatar imagefabian ( 2015-11-10 07:28:27 +0000 )edit

answered 2015-11-16 07:48:28 +0000

Rotech gravatar image

iDesk seems to be a good solution used by other minimal WMs to get desktop icons.

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iDesk seems to be supposed to be used with a static set of icons only. Since I want a dynamic set there was still some work needed, but I found a quite simple solution for this and I'll post an update on my answer above soon. Thank you very much for your answer. This was a very great advice.

fabian gravatar imagefabian ( 2015-11-16 22:04:42 +0000 )edit

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Asked: 2015-11-09 18:34:12 +0000

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Last updated: Nov 30