Gnome desktop icons

Please explain why I am unable to view desktop icons, and why I cannot install and view nemo on gnome 3.3

I am using Gnome 3.3 on Fedora 33 workstation. I have tried installing the user extension through the fedora repositories, and have tried gnome tweak, dconf-editor, and also gsettings.
I have installed nemo, as apparently one should be able to set nemo as the default file manager and it will show desktop icons. However, despite having a valid desktop file in .local/share/applications, I am unable to even view nemo (the desktop file has a valid icon path) through gnome search on the desktop. I can start nemo from a terminal prompt though.

There’s no desktop icons in stock GNOME since ages (literally, like eight years or so), and GNOME 3.3 is also around eight years old and so, unsupported. Since you mentioned both Nemo and desktop icons, which aren’t part of GNOME, I believe it’s not the right place to ask, but should be addressed to Nemo’s forum (if they have one).


Did you try a restart ?
Can you share us the .desktop file ?
Are we talking about icons on Desktop or icons of desktop files ?

It should be GNOME 3.38 and this one works for me:

I am using gnome v 3.38.2

I am an experienced linux user, with 15 years of daily use to a fairly deep level.

And, when inspecting the desktop file to paste it here, I notice that there is a line that states:

Removing this line, leaves nemo visible in gnome search.

However, it was, I thought, a foundational philosophy of open source software that configuration should be available to the user. It seems, again on closer inspection, that open source software allows configuration through forking the code base.

As for it not having been an option for the last 8 years, that is entirely untrue, as I have been able to use the gnome shell extension until the update to the latest gnome desktop that came when I updated from fedora 32 to 33 which was a month ago.

I rely on visible desktop files for a variety of reasons. Not least is the ability to show new users a file that they can click on to inform them of a quick start with linux/fedora/gnome etc, in cases where I have installed fedora etc on their aging laptops. They are not familiar with gnome, and fedora etc ,and I have to tell them now, that windows has a greater feature set than fedora running gnome as one can view desktop files on one’s desktop with windows, but not using gnome apparently.

It is a shame because gnome shines for that use case.

It should be down to the user to configure their desktop. Not to be dictated to by the software developer.

as for the gnome shell extension, I am simply getting ‘an error has occurred’ when trying to set it up.

Sure, but it’s not about what stock GNOME provides hence it’s not the place to report this (the extension developer is the one to ask to).

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certainly not. I am not reporting an error with a gnome shell extension (that no longer works with the latest update to the gnome desktop).
I am complaining that I cannot view desktop icons with the gnome desktop.

I am, effectively, making a feature request.

However, I am also trying to express my disappointment that the flagship desktop environment, for all its worth, constrains the choices of the user, limiting their options, which I suggest is at odds with the spirit of opensource software.

The only justification I have heard for removing the option of displaying desktop icons, is that it ‘improves the look and flow, and encourages the user to be more careful with the folder and file organisation’.
That sounds like a weak justification for lazy development.

No, this is not a thing, and it never was.

The foundational philosophy of free software is to give to any user access to the source code, in order to learn from it, modify it, and redistribute changes to others at no additional cost.

“Configuration” is not a thing, and free and open source software maintainers are in no way, shape, or form obliged to provide you with settings, options, or configuration opportunities, especially when they conflict with the design and architecture of their projects.


Another option:

sudo dnf install gnome-flashback

By the way, the extension in my previous post has been tested on Fedora 33.
Perhaps there’s some conflict with other extensions on your system.

Just like you can’t configure everything on Windows or macOS, you can’t configure everything on GNOME. Limitless customization is not a goal of GNOME, nor is it required by the tenants of free software. Free software allows you to make changes to the codebase to make a piece of software fit your needs. It does not mean that every piece of software needs to have an option for every single feature.


That is true, but some users love free software for there customizability but not all projects provide this. And gnome is one of them because of gnomes philosophy. But I think the gnome desktop have not much room for that from a design perspective. If you want full control over your desktop, you could either use extensions or use an other DE or tiling window manager. I mean Plasma, Cinnamon and other are very customizable compared to gnome. Sometimes is to much customizability not very helpful and it can get very messy. Nevertheless with most of the open source projects you have more freedom to change some things in general compared to Windows or macOS.

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