When new users first come to Linux, they are often amazed at the lack of icons on the desktop. In fact, to a new user, the desktop can look positively barren.
A typical virgin desktop may look something like this
But once you know how, it's really easy to populate your desktop to your hearts content - should you so wish!
How's it done?
It varies slightly between Gnome and KDE, the two most common desktops used in popular distros.
You start in the same way as you would on a Windows® machine. Right click the desktop and select from the drop down menu, but that's where new users get lost. Where's the create icon option? There isn't one!
Dealing with Gnome first, when you right click the desktop, you will see this:
The key is, to click on Create Launcher, which will take you here: also see below*
You can now see a number of fields that can be used.
The first thing to notice is, the Type is Application.
The Name: will be; Close DVD This is the tag that appears with the icon.
The Generic Name: is optional and the Help file will expand further if you wish.
The Comment: field is for a description that will appear when you hover over the icon and the icon is placed in the panel. (task bar)
The Command: field is the actual command to launch the application, in this case umount /dev/hdb and this is what you have:
It is important to note at this point, although I have entered the code manually to run the command I want, you could use the browse function to select any application you wanted an icon for on the desktop, in order to have a point and click starting point. See below **
If I now click on No Icon, it will open up the available icons in the system and I can choose one to represent my application. In fact, I took an existing icon, modified it slightly (added the red cross) in the Gimp and saved it as a new icon.
All I have to do now, is click on the required icon and click OK to get this:
Finally, if I now click on OK, the icon appears on my desktop and this is what it looks like:
Double clicking on this icon will unmount the drive, (see http://soslug.org/wiki/copying_commercial_dvd039s) but strangely, will not stop the DVD from running, which is why it is important, to close the player before using the icon to unmount the drive.
** Just going back a little and in the interests of completion, if you wanted to place an icon on the desktop for Iceweasel (Firefox) for example, if you get to this point * and click on browse. Navigate to /usr/bin and click on Iceweasel and select Open, you will now get this:
Now complete as above with your required icon name, picture etc. and you end up with this:
Now lets take a look at KDE.
It's very similar to Gnome, but has a few differences. First off, here's a typical virgin KDE desktop:
As before, we're going to add a Firefox icon to the desktop and so we right click the desktop and this is what we will see:
We use, Create New --> Link to Application and click on it, to reveal:
Clicking on the icon, will again open up the possible choices and as you would expect, the Firefox icon is already there for us to use:
Selecting the icon and clicking OK produces this:
Click on the Application tab coupled with the Browse button to arrive at /usr/bin and you can select mozilla-firefox --> Open to create the command to open the application from the icon.
Fill in the Description if you wish and the Comment provides the tag for your icon, click OK and here's the finished result:
As with all things new, this page seems like a lot of work to create an icon, but in reality, once your used to it, it takes a couple of minutes (at most) to complete.