A caveat of GNOME Shell you'll never encounter with MATE


I am so, so very thankful an operating system which puts the end user first, and is actually a freedesktop.org-compliant system exists. Seriously. I am typing this inside a Pop!_OS system at the moment just because I am trying it out, and figuring out what people using that system can do, but there's a very annoying attribute of GNOME Shell I've never encountered with Caja on MATE.

And that's desktop launchers. Or, rather, the lack thereof.

Even if I make a .desktop file and chmod it so I can actually execute it, unless I am doing it wrong the latest iteration of GNOME Shell disallows outright the use of desktop launchers. This is fairly problematic for people who use Windows, Mac or any other freedesktop.org compliant system because sometimes, you just want something which isn't buried in a menu, that you never have to type.

System76 has a guide for people who want to use another desktop environment, and they can just as easily use MATE. But really, if you have to go through that extra effort to restore what to most people is a basic system function, then the people who cumulatively come together and published the software behind the system has failed.

GNOME development team has failed. And in the process make anything using their software look bad.

This isn't even a hard ask. I don't understand why they're dead-set on killing the desktop, unless their aim with the new UI they've made is to make Linux more phone-like. Which, I think is ludicrous even though I do see the aim and understand the logic behind their interface. But then, you can't even make custom launchers on the desktop.

I am fairly sure on Android, I could create a custom application and run it from the home screen. Yet, in GNOME Shell. if I were to install a game in Steam the desktop launcher for it only prompts the text editor as there's nothing which handles .desktop files. That's laughable.

I haven't even figure out how to make a shell script work so I can run something, anything from the desktop for it. For Wine this makes using the desktop to execute an application impossible as sometimes custom launchers need to exist which use sh -c to perform a series of commands using the launcher.

Using the desktop as an application springboard is dated. I get it. But lots of people still do it. My friends, who were born much later than I had still do. They would probably see this as a deficit of their desktop, and by extension a deficit of Linux if they didn't know any better; that their desktop was, for lack of better terms, ■■■■■■■■. (Yes, the R-word, keep forgetting that's censored on here. Still standing by it.)

It's stupid. That's why some time in the future I will be coming back to Ubuntu MATE where I don't have to screw around with my desktop to make it function like a desktop.


Hello tiox

From one point of view I could understand removing the possibility of placing launchers (links) and worse, files, or even directories on the desktop... In an enterprise environment I have continually seen, over two decades, the IT people being called in because "this computer takes forever to start - fix it!". Almost without exception the persons making this statement are those with the entire (Redmond) desktop completely covered with small to extremely large files, which on the OS in question, have to be loaded when it boots up - hence the delay. :open_mouth:

If the aim of the current Gnome desktop is to force users to place their documents in a more appropriate place in the file system... well you have to admit that it works. But, as you say, users will consider this to be a bug and not a feature. :confounded::hot_face::rage:

There is a good reason Gnome 2 was forked into Mate, people like it. I personally have no use for the Gnome 3 desktop. Mate (traditional+plank) works very well for me. I have a link to launch Zotero on my desktop (I have not yet found a way to get a launcher into the menus - I don't know how that would work out with Gnome 3 ).

The KDE desktop may be technologically "more advanced" (I cannot say) as it uses more than one core of the cpu (I have heard), but I don't know what that translates into in everyday use.

You can recommend Ubuntu-Mate to any person going to use GNU/Linux for the first time - they will be able to find their way, feel at home and just "get on with it". I consider myself to be very fortunate that others have made this possible. Thank you to them all. :slightly_smiling_face: :penguin:


That could actually be fixed if any IT person was competent in their day-to-day tasks, especially before setup. If the desktop uses NTFS, Windows supports symbolic links since WIndows XP with patching Explorer to do so, and since Vista with no additional action required.

This means on any desktop Vista and later, IT people can make directories which are symbolic links on the desktop, and tell people to sort their stuff into the library folders using those links; They're magical and work exactly as one would expect.

Unfortunately, there aren't enough competent IT people who know and exercise this for your average office rat, however it is one of the first things I suggest when on another person's computer seeing their disorganized desktop.