Re: Global Desktop Items: A proposal

On 4/18/07, Ritesh Khadgaray <khadgaray gmail com> wrote:
On Wed, 2007-04-18 at 02:14 +0530, Sayamindu Dasgupta wrote:
> Hi all,
> I am working on enhancing some of the "deployment friendly" stuff in
> GNOME as a part of my Google SoC, and one of the things I am working
> on is support for predefined global items on the desktop. To make my
> current goal clearer, here's a sample use case (stolen shamelessly
> from a doc by my mentor, Federico Mena Quintero).
> ** BEGIN **
> Carlos has set up an internal wiki for the dinosaur park, so that
> scientists can have a central place to log information about their
> projects.  Say a researcher does voyeurism in the name of science, and
> finds out how stegosauruses manage to mate while avoiding hurting each
> other with their sharp armored plates.  The researcher will then want
> to enter this data in the park's internal wiki, so that someone else,
> who investigates the gestation of land-based dinosaurs, can access
> this data.
> The problem Carlos has is that researchers can never remember the URL
> of that wiki.  He even tried to make it the default web page to be
> shown on people's browsers, but they kept complaining that they
> preferred to use instead.  Carlos has decided that he
> will put an icon on people's desktops, which they can double-click to
> launch a browser and show the park's wiki.
> Similarly, Carlos wants to have some icons on the desktop which people
> can use to launch commonly-used programs.  Nautilus supports showing
> icons for desktop entries, but there is no way to configure them
> centrally (except for maybe using Sabayon to predefine specific items,
> but that's not a very elegant solution).
> There needs to be a way for the administrator to install desktop
> entries (".desktop files") that are used by Nautilus on user's
> desktops, in addition to what users may put in their own ~/Desktop
> directories. That is, we need to have support for global desktop items
> in Nautilus.
> ** END **
> The way I propose for going forward with this is to have a gconf key
> (/apps/nautilus/desktop/global_item_dir maybe?) which would contain a
> directory path (say /etc/nautilus/globals ) and this directory would
> contain all the .desktop files to be displayed as _read only_
> launchers/links/whatever in the relevant user's Desktop.
> Desktop admins would be able to predefine these items by using a small
> application (to be integrated with Sabayon, just like Pessulus) which
> I am working on. The mockup of the main application window is
> available at
> The add button will pop a launcher editor dialog (the same which you
> get by clicking on Create Launcher on the Desktop right click menu).
> Screenshot of the editor dialog is at
> When used from Sabayon, when the mandatory flag is turned on
> (indicated by the lock icon), the desktop file will be stored in the
> directory specified by the profile user's /etc/nautilus/globals gconf
> key, and when the lock is open, the desktop file will be simply added
> to the profile users desktop only (so that the user on whom the
> profile is applied will be able to delete the launcher if required).

Suggestion for additional feature :

Ability to lock-down icons to a position .

Yes - that does seem to be a nice idea. I'll try to implement this,
but let me put the basic infrastructure in place first.

> Federico tells me that KDE already has a system for defining global
> Desktop items - does anyone know where I can find more info on this
> (and figure out if we can share the same mechanism / file paths / etc)
> ?
> Comments/suggestions/brickbats would be highly appreciated :)

Let me know, when testers are required :)

Sure :-)

Reference :

Great - thanks for the pointer.


Sayamindu Dasgupta

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