Broken link to video from previous Discourse topic

I am interested in the video referenced in the following thread:

I have the same questions and, unfortunately, the like to the video mentioned in the replies:
The July Tips and Tricks call will be this Thursday, 7/7 at 1pm ET.
Bruce Carpenter from the University of Georgia Athens will talk about Open OnDemand X Desktop Customization .
Video recording is here:

Does not work for me. Hopefully this video still exists. Is it possible to get an updated link to it?

Thank you!


Can you state the behavior you’re trying to get your desktops to follow?

Unfortunately I don’t have access to or control those videos. But I do know a bit about configuring XFCE - are you trying to just control what shows up on the Desktop as that other topic was trying to solve?

Unfortunately, we lost a lot of the older Tips and Tricks videos during a Google Drive migration last year, and I’m pretty sure this one is one of those. Pinging @mcuma for verification.

Sorry Shelly, Alan is right, we don’t have that video. The Tips and Tricks videos are available from November 2022, so, we lost roughly the first year of the calls. Let me ping Bruce if he still has the slides that he used.

Thanks Jeff & Martin,

We would like to remove all of the directory folders from the desktop except for the Home folder, if possible. Currently we are getting a duplicate of the root folder, as well as mounts to various gpfs volumes along with a boot folder. I think this might be confusing to some users (and not necessary to most, since they can be accessed in a terminal). Plus we’d like a cleaner interface.

I’ve poked around and cannot find where to configure this.



That’s a real shame. I’m sure they were a very useful resource to have. It might be just as helpful if Bruce still has the slides are still around, but I’ve described what we’re looking for and possibly Jeff will be able to point me in the right direction too.


Is this for a specific application or for the Desktop application? I can tell you now it’s going to be a bit tough for general Desktops - not impossible, just a bit tricky.

This is just for the Desktop application. Sorry, I wasn’t clear about that in my previous message.


Shelly: Just to be clear, you are only asked about the actual icons on the desktop when someone launches an interactive desktop? You aren’t trying to prohibit them from then opening up say the file browser within the desktop and browsing via it to the various mounts within the file system?

If that’s the case, I think you can just customize the .desktop file that XFCE looks at when it launches (see Desktop entries - ArchWiki for example). We’ve done that for a variety of apps where we want to make a pseudo ‘workflow’ that clients click on different apps as part of a process.

No issue at all.

OK - so the tricky bit is the fact that you want to control a file in the users HOME.

Here’s a little bit of background in case you need to do something else or if other folks read this topic: When I need to inspect or change XFCE settings - I use xfce-settings-manager then try to find the files it modifies.

For this issue - here’s what I found. In xfce-settings-manager navigate to Desktop and you’ll see these settings about Default Icons. grep -ri though my ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf and I can find the piece of the XML file that this property is modifying.

So that’s background on the settings themselves.

How to force the settings? Now that’s the tricky bit. Default XFCE configurations for this seem to live here /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/ (at least on my RHEL 7 machine), but I don’t see any xfce4-desktop.xml there. So it’s unclear to me where the defaults are coming from.

Now you know what settings to set (after doing the same for your own desktop and inspecting that same file) and where to apply them.

You can use this facility here. This is our production configuration for our Desktops. We’re only exporting environment variables, but you can imagine a cp command to copy the settings file you want into the user’s HOME or some kind of xpath command or helper script to edit the existing file.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you need more info.

That’s correct, Alan. Just asking about the actual icons on the desktop when they launch an interactive Desktop. We’re not trying to prohibit them from getting to those mounts by other means (file browser, the terminal, etc).

Thanks Alan and Jeff,

I’ll check out the links and instructions you’ve both provided and I’m hopeful that I’ll manage to get something working from here.


Thank. you all so much for your suggestions and guidance. I’ve found a solution that I think will be the most straightforward to implement. in the file in the directory bc_desktop/template/desktops, I have added the following 2 lines:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-desktop -p /desktop-icons/file-icons/show-removable -n -t bool -s false
xfconf-query -c xfce4-desktop -p /desktop-icons/file-icons/show-filesystem -n -t bool -s false

This seems to produce the desired outcome, though I have a little more testing before deciding it’s good for production. I couldn’t find the relevant files on our system that Alan was referring me to, and this seems to do the trick the most directly and without potentially impacting other settings.


That’s great to here! :man_facepalming: I always forget about xfconf-query!

That said - you really should use the strategy we use and edit files that land in /etc/ood/config. the reason being that we’re going to overwrite the files in /var/www/ood every time you update/install. So, while, yes you could patch these files every time you install, but it’s really safer and more reliable to just add site specific updates to the before_script like we do.

1 Like

Thanks for the recommendation. Our Desktop and all of our interactive apps each have their own git repos, and those repos will be freshly cloned to /var/www/ood/apps any time we update OOD. So, we don’t have to worry about patching anything with new installs, thankfully.


Automation for the win! Glad to hear it.