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Almost every desktop environment that has reached an acceptable amount of quality has structures to appear good for most private users. The user's home directory has sub-directories like "my music", "my movies", "my photos" - but why is there no desktop environment (in best case very lightweight and effects-free) that comes with a structure like "my projects", "my drafts", "my image resources", "my laboratory/unit tests"?

I use Linux as a webserver for running rails-apps and as a development machine for rails, c# mono, somewhat ASP mono and of course for browsing the web.

Where is the desktop environment for people like me? Or better said, for every person that is developing applications in a GUI-based IDE.

Have all the hackers and free contributors forgot to unify their requirements for work in a desktop environment of their kind?

Imagine a desktop environment, serving all your requirements - and demands on getting it lightweight, installed with all dependencies by hitting apt-get install developers-desktop.

Or does it already exist and I just have not found it?

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What you're talking about is incredibly complex, and many folks do this their own way - for example, I store all my code in ~/code, my custom bins/shell scripts in ~/bin, and my other odds and ends in various other places, however, I know a guy who freaks out if his code isn't in ~/projects - there is no standard naming convention. –  jrg Nov 7 '11 at 19:00
    
I was just fascinated by the idea and meant it to be good for the main-group of ubuntu/linux users –  JAkk Nov 7 '11 at 19:13
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with respect, the "main group of Ubuntu users" aren't developers. The vocal minority are, but the vast majority are not. :) –  jrg Nov 7 '11 at 19:17
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Proposed to close because this is not a proper question, "why there is no X" is trivial to understand, "no one developed X", other answers would be a philosophical. –  João Pinto Nov 8 '11 at 0:17
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closed as not constructive by jrg, Stefano Palazzo Jan 21 '12 at 16:38

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5 Answers

The answer to why there is no such desktop is very simple:

  1. Developers can do stuff like this (creating directories) extremely fast, probably faster than doing sudo apt-get install developer-desktop
  2. Very few developers want all their project files in the same folder, but prever a per-project structure, based on the kind of project they are working on
  3. Most developement tools create those structures for you in a per-project way: quickly create ubuntu-application helloworld, django-admin create-project helloworld, ...
  4. The number of developers is much smaller than the number of users for nearly all public projects. And even this small number is highly opinionated about what tools they want to use: try asking on stackoverflow if emacs, vi, eclipse or mono.develop is the best IDE and you will see what I mean... also note that those questions are off-topic now, so don't try it.

So, even this small number of developers will probably not want to use that developer-desktop

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+1, especially for point 4. –  Christoph Nov 7 '11 at 19:27
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The XDG specifications that define Documents, Pictures, etc. do not have such locations defined. I suppose you could attempt to convince FreeDesktop.org to add developer-specific environment variables.

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Can you outline what the proper process for that would be? –  jrg Nov 7 '11 at 19:10
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+1 for mentioning the XDG spec. –  Nathan Osman Nov 7 '11 at 19:19
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I think Ubuntu is designed for most common users--much more than developers. But still you can create your own environment for your work as Ubuntu is Linux--which is totally free to use and free to change. I have used Arch Linux and I installed XFCE as desktop environment, it only had a Desktop folder. You can also create your own folders. I think it may not cost you too much time to set up your familiar work environment.

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Having pre-defined folders isn't necessarily desirable. I've maintained my basic folder structure across operating systems for more than ten years. In that time, the way the system wants you to structure your files has changed. However, I see no reason to change a system that works for me.

In my opinion, the desktop environments are at fault for creating default folders and not providing an easy way to change them to any arbitrary location. It seems awfully arrogant for them to assume that it's possible to set up a default layout that works for everyone.

Thus, adding more default directories would be a step in the wrong direction. Furthermore, as already noted, it'd be nearly impossible to get everyone to agree about what the defaults should be. You suggested "Image Resources" and "Laboratory/unit-tests." Both of those would be useless to me, because I keep all such data in a subdirectory of the relevant project. Having such high-level directories, while certainly UNIX-y, seems crazy to me. But, other people might think that my system is crazy. So why not just create your own directories as you want them. It's incredibly simple:

mkdir -p "my projects" "my drafts" "my image resources" "my laboratory/unit tests"
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I think you should try awesome window manager. It is free and very lightweight. To install on ubuntu do sudo apt-get install awesome. It is very customizable and remember editors like vi. It takes time to learn and adapt, but I think it is the desktop environment that best fits as a developing environment.

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