There appears to be a lot of fuss lately about the removal of an option from the GNOME desktop environment that allows users to display icons on their desktops.
Long story short, last month, near the Christmas holidays, GNOME developer Carlos Soriano shared his plans on removing a so-called “the desktop” feature from the Nautilus file manager starting with the upcoming GNOME 3.28 release of the desktop environment, proposing its integration into the GNOME Shell component.
The feature is there to handle application icons on the user’s workspace, but it shouldn’t have been implemented in Nautilus in the first place, according to the developer. So for the GNOME devs to be able to add new features to the Nautilus file manager, they need to remove its ability to handle desktop icons and place the code somewhere else.
“The best option […] to move forward is to integrate it in a GNOME Shell extension. Doing what nautilus desktop was doing in an app (Nautilus) while trying to be part of the compositor (GNOME Shell) was a big mistake, and it’s one of the major issues,” said Carlos Soriano in his proposal.
GNOME’s desktop icons aren’t going away
But many users misinterpreted Soriano’s proposal and freaked out that their desktop icons are going away. When asked by a user on Twitter why they are removing desktop icons with the upcoming GNOME 3.28 release of the desktop environment instead of offering users an option to be able to enable or disable them as they want, GNOME devs replied that “desktops icons will be moved to gnome-shell.”
In another reply to a user on Twitter, who asked them to stop taking away features from their desktops, GNOME said that desktop icons will be handled by GNOME Shell in GNOME 3.28 because it doesn’t make sense for a file manager (Nautilus in this case) to manage them.
Displaying icons on the desktop is a fundamental feature, and while the latest GNOME [3.26] release doesn’t use them by default, you should stop worrying because GNOME’s desktop icons aren’t going away. Windows and macOS operating systems are using desktop icons, and so will Linux distros powered by GNOME.
As for GNOME 3.28, the desktop environment is currently under heavy development, but it’s coming on March 14, 2018, with a lot of cool new features and improvements, as well as new apps and other goodies that we bet you’ll enjoy on your favorite GNU/Linux distribution.
desktop icons are moving to gnome-shell. Desktop icons doesn’t make sense to be managed in a file manager.
— GNOME (@gnome) January 16, 2018