unfriendly(?) startup behavior

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Hi all,

I'm the maintainer of xfdesktop over at the Xfce desktop environment[1].
 I'm trying to track down some odd behavior, and it just occurred to me
to ask this list (I'm a little slow sometimes, I guess).

A little background: xfdesktop is Xfce's desktop manager, in the same
sense that Nautilus draws the desktop background and icons on the
desktop.  xfdesktop uses a similar mechanism, creating a toplevel
"virtual" root window of type _NET_WM_WINDOW_TYPE_DESKTOP and doing all
drawing to that window.  It also claims the MANAGER selection, and sets
one or two nautilus-related properties on the real root window, since at
some point one of us found that some random application looks for it to
do desktop-related things.

The problem: when Nautilus is started (assuming it's configured to draw
the desktop), xfdesktop mysteriously dies.  I get the "lost connection
to X server" message from xfdesktop's stderr, but it otherwise
terminates normally.  This behavior has apparently been around for quite
a while (at least a year?), but I've been unable to figure out what
causes it.

The reverse does not happen: if I start up Nautilus, and then try to
start xfdesktop, Nautilus continues along its merry way, and xfdesktop
drops its virtual root window down on top of Nautilus'.

Can anyone shed some light on why this happens, and how I can prevent
it?  Since Xfce up till now has not had a popular default file manager,
many of our users use Nautilus and hit this problem, and then find their
desktop disappears (or "turns into GNOME" as I've heard it reported).
It's very frustrating to have to deal with this problem over and over,
and I'd love to find a permanent solution.


[1] http://xfce.org/

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