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I was running Ubuntu 18.04 and just converted to Xubuntu. Is there a way to add icons to the desktop? I would like a few to launch programs.

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Right-click on the desktop and choose Create Launcher from the context-menu to create custom launchers.

You can also choose any program from the application-menu with a right-click and select Add to Desktop from the context-menu.

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Creating Desktop shortcut using terminal

You could do it in the next way:

ln -s /usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop /home/user/Desktop/

But it shows an alert: Untrusted application launcher

Also, you could create it by creating app.desktop file on your desktop with the next content:

vim.tiny ~/Desktop/firefox.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Type=Application
Name=Firefox
Comment=Browser
Exec=firefox
Icon=firefox
Path=/home/user/.firefox
Terminal=false
StartupNotify=false

chmod +x ~/Desktop/firefox.desktop
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