I am looking to replace nautilus on LXDE with Dolphin. At the moment I rely on nautilus to manage the desktop, i.e. access ~/desktop from the desktop and display mounted drives as icons.

Can the same thing be done with dolphin? If so, how?

Note: I am searching for a way to start dolphin headless mode at startup, akin to nautilus with nautilus --no-default-window.


KDE 4 uses plasma to handle the desktop. Dolphin does not handle the desktop. If you are looking for a replacement for Nautilus, I would suggest using Nemo from Linux Mint. It is a fork of Nautilus that gets away from the Gnome trend of less is better by adding back what was available in older versions of Nautilus. Search for Nemo or Cinnamon at launchpad.net to be sure you are using the active or best PPA. To get the one available at this time, add the repository with this command in a terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable

Unfortunately, installing it also adds cinnamon desktop. There is another fork of Nautilus, but I am not sure that it is available as a package. LXDE has a default desktop manager. If Nautilus has taken over your desktop, uninstalling it should return the default desktop file manager, PCMan. This is not the same as the window manager which should be OpenBox by default. Do not remove Nautilus if you use Gnome desktop or if you want a traditional desktop in Unity.

  • Nemo is a fine file manager, thanks for the suggestion. Alas it suffers from the same issues with large folders and item counts as both Thunar and Nautilus. Dolphin and PCmanFM appear to be the only mainstream file managers on Linux that can handle this well. – Glutanimate May 5 '13 at 17:40

Yes, but a lot of KDE related packages will be installed together (dependencies) during the installation, as Dolphin is designed for KDE.

  • As far as the dependencies are concerned, that's no problem at all as I am using Okular already. It's more that I haven't found a way yet to start dolphin in some kind of headless mode. With nautilus for instance I can add @nautilus --no-default-window as a startup entry. That will launch nautilus on system startup and display the desktop and its contents. This functionality I would like to replicate with dolphin. Do you think that's possible? – Glutanimate Dec 19 '12 at 12:20
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    I'd recommend the following: install dolphin, then type at the terminal dolphin --help and then check if there is any command that is equivalent to nautilus --no-default-window. – Zignd Dec 19 '12 at 12:25
  • Just checked. Nothing there, unfortunately. Any idea what package KDE uses to render its desktop? – Glutanimate Dec 19 '12 at 13:55
  • Sorry man, I just used KDE once in my life. – Zignd Dec 19 '12 at 15:24
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    I think kde, uses KWin, to manage desktop, it even handles the compositing and desktop effects in kde. – saji89 Dec 19 '12 at 16:58

I think KDE uses KWin to manage the desktop. It even handles the compositing and desktop effects in KDE.

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