Possible to put Nautilus (Files) on the desktop?

Is there a way to place Nautilus (a.k.a Files) on the desktop?

I know there is an extension to add icons back to the desktop, but the features are not aligned with Nautilus; it isn’t Nautilus from what I can tell. For example, dragging a file from Files onto a web page in Chrome works, but dragging from the desktop extension does not, and other differences.

I’d like to place an actual Nautilus window on my desktop because I want to bring in some parts of my productivity from macOS. For example, I’d like to show the desktop (move windows out of the way), grab a file (start dragging it), unhide windows (they move back over the desktop), and drop the file on a window (f.e. Chromium to automatically insert images in Discourse or GitHub posts or in file pickers).

Is it possible to open a Files window and make it be always at the bottom of all windows, even behind Gnome Shell UI?

  • When entering Activities overview, that window would need to fade out (or dim) instead of floating in the Activities space with all other windows.
  • When that window is active (when “icons on desktop” is enabled) the Files app should not appear as running app in the Activities dock or in alt-tab or alt-backtick popups. The feature should behave as if it is simply part of Gnome Shell right on top of the background image.

Any tips on how to do that would be greatly appreciated!

Do you think this is possible entirely with the extension API? And if the existing Gnome extension does the same thing, then why are the features not the same as with regular File windows?

Here’s the explanation:

Short answer, you need to use the extension

That somehow inspires me to start my own desktop environment. I’m thinking to use NW.js. :smiley:

For whatever reason, the “desktop” part of Nautilus was a separate 10,000 lines of code.

I’m not sure why that is, but is it not possible to just stick a modern Nautilus view inside a window without the extra UI, re-using the current modern code (not that old “desktop” code), then use Gnome Shell to position the window a smart way?

I can’t imagine why there would need to be a separate 10,000-loc “desktop” piece of code for this. And I also imagine that implementing the “desktop” purely in Gnome Shell will lead to inconsistencies and break people’s expectations when things behave differently on desktop than in Nautilus even in the subtlest of ways.

I imagine glue code to put a Nautilus file view inside a window without the outer UI would be a few hundred lines of code. And then some Gnome Shell extension code to keep the window in the correct position.

Maybe I’m missing something, but this doesn’t seem like a 10k loc problem. The only way to find out is to try…

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