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#1 2018-05-03 22:40:55

babag
Member
Registered: 2018-01-21
Posts: 24

desktop icons and screen geometry

thinking of switching to xfce but two things have held me back.

1. desktop icons never remember their positions or simply can't be moved to new positions

2. windows keep popping up in off-screen positions

i'm looking at using some form of ubuntu to work in multimedia. i've gotten davinci resolve and reaper both to function properly. i'm coming from windows/osx environments. i've used linux off and on for years but until now the options for multimedia (video and audio production) have seemed way too cumbersome and finicky to be practical. i've also been working with digital media for decades so i want to set things up the way i work and not how the software works as much as is practical. to that end i set up my most used programs and locations as links on the desktop.

the problem i have is that, when i try to set up icons on my desktop, xfce wants to put them in places i can't use. it's happy to create them, i just can't put them where i can use them. in some ways the two problems i have may be related. i use four monitors. three are across my physical desk, side by side. the fourth is a 65" 4k tv that is wall-mounted and is largely dedicated to video output from either resolve or reaper. that, of course, is where xfce wants to put all of my desktop icons, making them useless as they are behind the video and unreachable.

the display geometry may have something to do with this as well as the second issue of off-screen windows. i set up my environment as an analog of my physical space. thus, the 4k is above and the three 1680x1050s are below, side by side. i like to center the 4k above the three smaller monitors but, if i do that, there is a dead space, geometrically, just to the left and right of this screen. that dead space is where xfce puts my icons. this means i can't center the 4k screen and impacts mouse navigation.

it seems like the overall screen is being defined by the combined height and width of the above and below areas. that would be fine if there was a way to define a blacklisted zone when placing icons and windows. there doesn't seem to be such that is easily found by me. the second part of this may have to do with display settings as well. xfce seems to treat the above 4k display as the primary even though it's not defined as such. the lower right is defined as the primary yet, often when new windows pop up, they pop up on the above display. they might also be wholly or partially off-screen depending on whether the screen is centered or not. a keystroke-definable command to move the focused window to the next screen would also be helpful here.

the only solution i've found has been kde (or windows or osx, of course), which is the only desktop that solves both of these problems. it also comes with a 'move focused to next display' command. problem there is that kde has been having display issues of its own recently. when i first tested it it installed perfectly and easily. now, however, it hangs. i've tried a great many things to get it solved but the recent kde releases simply won't install for me. frankly, though, i'd much rather use xfce for its lightweight nature.

anyway, i just wanted to put this out as the recent kde problems have pushed me back towards xfce and i'd love to get solutions to these issues so i can simply forget about kde, windows, and osx. sorry for the verbosity, here, just felt like i should be specific as i can.

thanks,
babag

Last edited by babag (2018-05-03 22:47:09)

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#2 2018-05-24 00:19:51

Crippled
Member
From: U.S.A.
Registered: 2015-10-13
Posts: 35

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

"1. desktop icons never remember their positions or simply can't be moved to new positions" Left click and hold on the icon and move it to where you like it and release it. I should stay in that position.                                               "2. windows keep popping up in off-screen positions" This usually can happen when you are using two different displays like your TV and a computer monitor. Go into Settings > Display and chose the correct display size.


MX-17.1 Linux, Xfce 4.12.3

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#3 2018-05-25 04:43:25

babag
Member
Registered: 2018-01-21
Posts: 24

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

thanks for the reply to this, crippled, but nope. none of that works with my setup. if you're interested, you can look around for all the threads from me about icon and desktop issues with my particular geometry. it's a real nightmare to get the workflow i like working with xfce. managed a very painful workaround, though, involving LOTS of panels to hold my icons. not a very good solution but good enough to keep me from jumping ship, though, i could never recommend it to others. waaayyy too cumbersome.

thanks again,
babag

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#4 2018-05-25 04:48:30

Crippled
Member
From: U.S.A.
Registered: 2015-10-13
Posts: 35

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

babag, your welcome. Sounds like a distro problem because it works on MX-17.1 Linux. Which Linux distro you are having those issues with?


MX-17.1 Linux, Xfce 4.12.3

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#5 2018-05-26 05:02:38

babag
Member
Registered: 2018-01-21
Posts: 24

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

ubuntu studio 18.04. it has to do with the layout of the four screens i think. did you look at the other threads?

thanks,
babag

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#6 2018-05-26 12:10:34

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 4,660

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

@babag, as you've noted, this is something that has generated a lot of discussion. And doubly so in your situation where you have off-setting monitors. There has been some talk about changing the grid-based layout to a plaement-based model, but I don't believe anyone has started working on it. I don't think there is any immediate solution for you other than creating bug/enhancement reports and waiting for a dev to change/fix it.

Personally, I have given up on using desktop icons and moved towards a clean desktop. I use the xfce4-appfinder application as my menu launcher as I can add a custom action that uses catfish to search for any document I might need to find.

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#7 2018-05-27 17:11:45

babag
Member
Registered: 2018-01-21
Posts: 24

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

thanks, ToZ.

frankly, i think i'm as deeply into this as i can get. i've wasted enough time finding the workarounds i've found. after all, i started this just to see if a linux system might be ready to use for my multimedia purposes, something i've been watching and waiting for for more than a couple of decades now.

with important software being released for linux (i'm thinking davinci resolve and my audio daw software - not sure it's legal to mention the name) and ubuntu studio featuring xfce as its desktop, one would hope the devs would be cognizant of the demands these might put on their environment and want to address them. if not, it's just another reason not to use linux or xfce.

one or two displays in a multimedia environment happens but more than two will become more common over time. i use five and have for years. osx and windows have allowed me to set them up without issue and to conform the desktop as i want, in the process establishing a workflow. i've done this for long enough that i have my own workflow and want my system to be able to accommodate it rather than my having to accommodate the system.

thanks for the tip about the xfce-appfinder but, with as much screen real estate as i have, that's what i use desktop icons for and find it MUCH more convenient.

the workaround i found is to use panels to place my desktop icons. it works and is adequate (barely) but the system is a mess and i definitely would not recommend it to anyone for real work. reporting bugs and making feature requests? that's just someplace else i have to go and figure out how to sign up and navigate, possibly for no return. if they're not already aware of these issues, like i said, it's just another reason to steer clear of xfce and linux in general. it's really a shame but that's how i see it. huge time suck.

thanks again,
babag

Last edited by babag (2018-05-27 17:18:21)

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#8 2018-05-27 20:53:46

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 4,660

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

In the past, I used an application called "screenlets"  - it's let you create a folder/window on the desktop that would contain icons from a folder location. I just installed it (Arch Linux) and it still works. Here is a Webupd8 article about it.

There is a folder view plugin that contains the contents of a folder within this view/window that you could place anywhere. Basically, you would configure xfdesktop not to display icons and configure the folder plugin of this app to display the desktop icons. It was helpful back when I used it. You can see it in the Webupd8 example above in the middle of the screenshot.

However, I can't find it in the 18.04 repositories any more and there are no PPAs for it. If you want to look at building it yourself, the code is here.

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#9 2018-05-27 23:50:19

MountainDewManiac
Member
From: Where Mr. Bankruptcy is Prez
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 982

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

babag wrote:

reporting bugs and making feature requests? that's just someplace else i have to go and figure out how to sign up and navigate, possibly for no return. if they're not already aware of these issues, like i said, it's just another reason to steer clear of xfce and linux in general. it's really a shame but that's how i see it. huge time suck.

Yes, it really is a shame, IMHO.

Respectfully, the reporting of bugs... That's how many of them are brought to the attention of the developers in the first place. I can understand not wishing to take the (few minutes?) time to do it. But if everyone has that attitude, then NO bug reports get filed, yes? And then the developer sees this dearth of bug reports and - quite reasonably so, I might add - thinks, "Ah, I've created a great thing. Job done, then."

Also... Consider that the possibility exists that a developer might be aware of a thing, but simply not feel that it has a high priority. I know I've mentioned the concept of volunteerism recently, and how developer hours are rather finite (and unpaid), so I won't get into that, specifically, here. But if a developer is aware of three things that could, in truth, stand to receive a little more attention - and one of these things isn't causing much in the way of bug-reports or feature enhancement requests - which one do you (again, reasonably) expect will end up at the bottom of his/her To Do list? I expect that the developer will think the two that people actually care enough to mention are the ones that should receive the majority of his/her efforts.

This forum is great for getting advice about things related to Xfce. People such as ToZ are kind enough to help us, show us how to do things, explain things... But it is not a venue to interact with the developers (and was never meant to be, AfaIK). Therefore, if one wishes to see a change in some component of Xfce, this is a poor expenditure of your time (IMHO). Most "community support forums" are like that.

But this is not specific information about fixing your particular issue, so I'll "quiet down" now. Best of luck to you with said issue.

Regards,
MDM


Mountain Dew Maniac

How to Ask for Help <=== Click on this link

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#10 2018-05-28 00:02:55

MountainDewManiac
Member
From: Where Mr. Bankruptcy is Prez
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 982

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

ToZ wrote:

However, I can't find it in the 18.04 repositories any more and there are no PPAs for it. If you want to look at building it yourself, the code is here.

I just visited the webupd8 page, and on the right there are some (portions of) comments displayed. One states:

And 18.04 if you cheat and manually add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list: "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/fo... artful main" I don't know why it broke the...

Which seems to infer that this thing can work in Ubuntu 18.04 and its derivatives. Or maybe the rest of the person's comment would (if I could find it) go on to state that it doesn't work at all, IDK.

BtW, I have some screenlets entries in Synaptic Package Manager. Probably(?) the older, now broken versions, but that's just a guess. However, I copied the URL link from the "visit homepage" thing in the screenlets entry. It's:

http://screenlets.org

I just attempted to access it, and instead of ending up on the page I was expecting, I saw the address in my browser (Firefox) quickly change two, three, maybe even more times - and then I ended up at some kind of store selling products completely unrelated to screenlets or even linux.

Would you mind checking on that for me? If that's just how it is, so be it. But I've never noticed this kind of behavior before and, therefore, am wondering if I have some kind of problem with my browser (something malignant, I mean roll ).

Aside from that, thanks for your post. I hadn't been aware that the developer had done any "recent" work on the project.


Mountain Dew Maniac

How to Ask for Help <=== Click on this link

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#11 2018-05-28 00:20:22

ToZ
Moderator
From: Canada
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 4,660

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

Yeah. That link leads to some admarketplace. If you don't already, you should install something like "ublock origin" - which would block pages like that showing up.

I just visited the webupd8 page, and on the right there are some (portions of) comments displayed. One states:

And 18.04 if you cheat and manually add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list: "deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/fo... artful main" I don't know why it broke the...

I think that's a comment for some other article - just displayed on this page.

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#12 2018-05-28 01:22:26

MountainDewManiac
Member
From: Where Mr. Bankruptcy is Prez
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 982

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

ToZ wrote:

Yeah. That link leads to some admarketplace.

Thank you.

ToZ wrote:

If you don't already, you should install something like "ublock origin" - which would block pages like that showing up.

I actually did install that add-on, on the advice of someone at the Mint community forum, when the developer of NoScript changed his add-on so significantly that it stopped actually blocking scripts (at least as its default action; I can't make heads or tails of the thing now). Apparently I didn't do a very good job on the installation, though roll

ToZ wrote:

I think that's a comment for some other article - just displayed on this page.

Ah. This new Internet of throwing up 1,001 different unrelated things on an article page in an attempt to lure people to them (aka "click-bait") is hard for this old fart to deal with. Sorry for posting my misunderstanding as advice.

Regards,
MDM


Mountain Dew Maniac

How to Ask for Help <=== Click on this link

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#13 2018-05-28 15:33:33

tbqhmhsfamilam
Member
Registered: 2018-05-10
Posts: 20

Re: desktop icons and screen geometry

I can say screenlets works in MX 17.1 (Debian 9 based), there's a package in the MX repo I was testing and it runs fine. Cool little program

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