The GNOME Desktop

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The GNOME desktop provides all the capabilities of GUI-based operating systems. You can drag-and-drop files, applications, and directories to the desktop, and then drag and drop them back to GNOME-compliant applications. If the desktop stops functioning, you can restart it by starting the GNOME file manager (Nautilus). The desktop is actually a back-end process in the GNOME file manager, but you needn’t have the file manager open to use the desktop.


Drag-and-Drop Files to the Desktop
Any icon for an item that you drag-and-drop from a file manager window to the desktop also appears on the desktop. However, the default drag-and-drop operation is a move operation. If you select a file in your file manager window and drag it to the desktop, you are actually moving the file from its current directory to the GNOME desktop directory, which is located in your home directory and holds all items on the desktop. For GNOME, the desktop directory is DESKTOP. In the case of dragging directory folders to the desktop, the entire directory and its subdirectories will be moved to the GNOME desktop directory. To remove an icon from the desktop, you drag-and-drop it in the trash.

As an alternative to using the desktop, you can drag-and-drop any program, file, or directory to the top panel and use the icons from the panel instead.

You can also copy a file to your desktop by pressing the CTRL key and then clicking and dragging it from a file manager window to your desktop. You will see a small arrow in the upper-right corner of the copied icon change to a + symbol, indicating that you are creating a copy instead of moving the original.

You can also create a link on the desktop to any file. This is useful if you want to keep a single version in a specified directory and be able to access it from the desktop. You can also use links for customized programs that you may not want to appear on a menu or panel. You can create a link in two ways: While holding down the CTRL and SHIFT keys (CTRL-SHIFT), drag the file to where you want the link created. A copy of the icon appears with a small arrow in the right corner indicating it is a link. You can click this link to start the program, open the file, or open the directory, depending on the type of file to which you linked.

Alternatively, first click and drag the file out of the window, and after moving the file but before releasing the mouse button, press the ALT key. This will display a pop-up menu with selections for Cut, Copy, and Link. Select the Link option to create a link. GNOME’s drag-and-drop file operation works on virtual desktops provided by the GNOME Workspace Switcher. The GNOME Workspace Switcher on the bottom panel creates icons for each virtual desktop in the panel, along with task buttons for any applications open on them.

Be careful when removing icons from the desktop. If you have moved the file to the desktop, its original file resides in the DESKTOP folder, and if you remove it you are erasing the original. If you have copied or linked the original, you can simply delete the link or the copy; the original will still exist in its original folder. When you drag applications from the menu or panel to the desktop, you are creating a copy of the application launcher button in the DESKTOP directory. These you can safely remove.

Although the GNOME desktop supports drag-and-drop operations, these normally work only for applications that are GNOME-compliant. You can drag any items from a GNOMEcompliant application to your desktop, and vice versa.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Ubuntu The Complete Reference

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