Nautilus – How to Display .desktop File by Its Real Name


The ability of a .desktop file to display a "human-readable" alias rather than its (perhaps) clinical real name, has merit… and as the .desktop filetype suggests, I assume that this ability is intended for the Desktop (which is (co-?)managed by Nautilus).

However in the Nautilus File Manager itself, where I would expect to see the bare-bones file information (eg. the real name), I am presented with the meta-data alias instead of the real filename.

This makes it rather difficult to edit/view the .desktop file when Nautilus does not make the real name available.

Is there some way to have Nautilus GUI File Manager list these .desktop files by their real names? (just like ls)

PS.. These files had me completely puzzled until today, when I renamed one, and the (my) new "name" was actually not the new real filename at all!. The displayed name was an alias; Nautilus had modified the file's contents (Name=…), and the original name was unchanged! … now I am only half-puzzled (strange stuff)

Best Answer

With newer versions of Nautilus (2.31.5 and later) renaming .desktop files actually changes the filename, not the Name field of the file itself.

Nautilus will show the full filename (with the .desktop extension), if the .desktop file is not executable.

For example, if Firefox.desktop is executable:

alt text

Now to see the actual filename, make Firefox.desktop un-executable. Right click -> Properties -> Permissions -> Uncheck Allow executing file as a program.

alt text
Now Nautilus will show the full file name:

alt text

alt text There seems to be a bug with renaming un-executable .desktop files in Nautilus.
If you don't erase the .desktop extension, the file will
have a double-extension (i.e Firefox.desktop.desktop).

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