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Ubuntu has traditionally had some default folders. Most of them (e.g. Music, Videos) were there because they were intended to house a specific type of file. Desktop, however, was there because it was special in that its contents would be shown on the user's desktop.

This doesn't seem to be the case anymore, since Unity's desktop only shows the wallpaper. How is this going to be handled? Will the desktop folder be assigned a different purpose? Will it just be removed from default installs? Will its contents still have a special place? Also, can we expect Unity's desktop to show anything else besides the wallpaper in the future?

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Note that people can switch between the netbook edition and the classic desktop edition when they log in, so removing that folder doesn't sound like a good idea for now... :) – JanC Oct 30 '10 at 11:17
but AFAIK desktop switch would not be there by-default. Only Unity or Gnome 2.X would be installed. So no Desktop switch until the end user himself install Gnome. – Gaurav Butola Oct 30 '10 at 11:30
Unity needs GNOME except for the shell (gnome-panel), and it's not like that is such a huge package... – JanC Oct 30 '10 at 11:44
@Gaurav Butola If your system fails to run Unity properly, the GNOME desktop will be used as a fallback. – htorque Oct 30 '10 at 11:45
@htorque yep! and only one of them would be installed, NO desktop switch by-default. – Gaurav Butola Oct 30 '10 at 16:48
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Desktop unity in 11.04 (natty) will have the standard nautilus based desktop activated again, so you'll be able to put icons and launchers on the desktop for 11.04.

For 11.10 we are completely rethinking how files are managed and accessed so it is likely that this question will become moot in a years time.

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Hi Alex just wondering - are you a Canonical developer? – 8128 Oct 31 '10 at 19:50
Yes his blog is on ;) – Ingo Nov 1 '10 at 8:44
@Ingo "Ubuntu member" and "Canonical developer" are not synonymous... but I think your conclusion is correct here. – 8128 Nov 1 '10 at 12:36
You are right, sorry for the misunderstanding – Ingo Nov 1 '10 at 13:58
yes, i am on the dx team. – Alex Launi Mar 31 '11 at 16:28

The desktop folder is unused by Unity, other than acting like a normal folder. It is still used by other desktops environments such as GNOME/Ubuntu.

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Thanks Stevie. My question's title was clearly misguiding since that's obviously the situation NOW and I rather wanted to know about the plans for the future. I've edited the title. – Bou Oct 30 '10 at 11:19

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