Notion of Desktop on Ubuntu MATE


Am a Ubuntu (actually Lubuntu) user of 10yrs, and Linux user of 20+yrs, but installed Ubuntu MATE (20.04) for the first time on my primary home PC. Coming from a rather lean, frills-free Lubuntu, MATE is certainly a significant setup, so I'm having a hard time getting things setup exactly as I want.

One the things I wanted to understand is what is MATE's notion of Desktop ? Out of the box, almost everything I download or save-to-disk, or any new folder/file I create in my home directory, shows up on the Desktop, and my personal preference is to keep the Desktop clean, although I do like to have the 'Computer' and 'Trash' (only those 3) show up on my Desktop. I tried MATE tweak, have 'Show Desktop Icons' enabled and only 'Computer', 'Trash', 'Mounted Volumes' checked.

Thanks in anticipation.


I wish to help you, but sorry, I don't understand you question about notion of desktop. Can you explain more what to need to know please? If you want to know more about Mate, you can get more with the video of:

You should be able to change your save / download location to the downloads folder that I believe is default behavior

What is on your desktop aside from the items you mention in Tweak is whatever is in the subdirectory /home/user/Desktop. It may be the default download location for some applications or not. Download location is set through a dialog inside each application. Most applications preserve the last location used as their default.

I'm afraid terminology is the issue in this case. You see, my home directory is /home/ugnvs and the folder which contents are shown on my desktop is /home/ugnvs/Desktop:

└── ugnvs
......├── Desktop
......├── Documents
......├── Downloads
......├── Dump

I am not sure what your problem is, but I have used Lubuntu and the file directory is the same as Mate. Most has to do with the program settings.

Firefox settings

Here is my torrent setting (Transmission)

Creating New Folder

None of these should appear on your desktop.

For other files (text, word processor, pictures, music) select "save as" pick the desired folder and save.

I hope that helps.

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Dear all, it well might be that we take wrong course looking for an answer to @bdutta74 question. What if his desktop folder is actually redirected to his home folder?
That can be verified using the following command:

[email protected]:~$ cat ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs
# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update # If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you're
# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run # Format is XDG_xxx_DIR="$HOME/yyy", where yyy is a shell-escaped
# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR="/yyy", where /yyy is an # absolute path. No other format is supported.
[email protected]:~$

Another check is search in dconf editor: