Why doesn't right-clicking and selecting "Open Terminal" in Desktop set the path of the terminal to the Desktop? On the other hand doing the same thing from other directories sets the path as expected.

  • You can try this, but then it will set the path to Desktop even if you launch from home. – pomsky Oct 5 '18 at 9:21
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    Because that was not the intended behavior. If you check, when you right click on a folder in nautilus it shows 'open IN terminal', but when you right click in desktop it says 'Open Terminal'. See that, subtle difference ? – Sirajus Salekin Oct 5 '18 at 9:36
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    @SirajusSalekin A little less snippy and this makes for an answer. – dessert Oct 5 '18 at 9:53
  • @SirajusSalekin Yeh didn't noticed that – Atinesh Oct 5 '18 at 11:00
  • @Atinesh, lol, sorry if i sound snippy :v – Sirajus Salekin Oct 8 '18 at 5:17

Your Desktop is managed by your desktop environment, and not directly by your file manager, which is why you see two different results.

Your desktop environment (right-click > "Open Terminal") opens a terminal window at $HOME.

Your file manager (right-click > Open in Terminal) opens a terminal window at $PWD.

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    Pardon me, but I'm not completely sure how technically correct this is. I always thought (as of now) the file manager (e.g. Nautilus) provides the desktop icons and most of the context menu (right-click menu) items. As an experiment if I end only the Nautilus process, I notice all the desktop icons vanish and so do most the items from the context menu including the "Open Terminal" one. – pomsky Oct 5 '18 at 10:58
  • Yes admittedly this is not a perfect explanation, but the "Desktop" and file icons are not handled in exactly the same way as the files within a Nautilus window (e.g. some wallpaper managers require disabling desktop file icons, context menus are slightly different, etc....). Happy for you to edit this one if you can give a more complete explanation? There are subtle differences that I've never fully understood and I would love to read a complete description some day. – Tom Brossman Oct 5 '18 at 12:01

This can be changed in dconf editor by changing org > gnome > nautilus > preferences > desktop-is-home-dir

Edit: It appears this functionality was removed with this code change in gnome-terminal

static inline gboolean
desktop_opens_home_dir (TerminalNautilus *nautilus)
#if 0
  return  _client_get_bool (gconf_client,
  return TRUE;


Recently they appear to be changing this, but it's unclear if the functionality will return:


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    Might indeed be a valid answer for 14.04. In later versions, this key does not anymore exist. However, does this not have the side effect that all your home folders appear on the desktop? – vanadium Oct 5 '18 at 17:15
  • You are right I was looking at a section of the source via grep and I didn't see that it was essentially commented out with an #if 0 – Kristopher Ives Oct 6 '18 at 3:39

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