By: Jerry3904


MX Version: MX-17, MX-18, MX-19

Section: Help Files

HELP: MX Idesktool


Idesk is program that draws desktop icons. Each icon will execute a shell command on a configurable action. The icons can be moved on the desktop by dragging them, and the icons will remember their positions on start-up. It was developed by a group led by Chris (nikon) that was active around 2002-2007 (source).

MX-idesktool is based on idesktool v1.36 released August 2004 by John Murray, but has vastly improved, expanded and refined its capability. It provides a graphical means of working with the configuration files that greatly eases everyday use of iDesk.


This app accompanies MX-Fluxbox, a fully integrated overlay to MX Linux supplied by default from MX-19.1 onward. Since it is fundamentally a bash script it should be able to be used outside of MX Linux and its Debian base by downloading it from the GitHub repo and installing any dependencies.


The app assembles multiple actions on a convenient dashboard. It can be launched from the Menu > Look > Desktop icons or from a command line with mx-idesktool. Importantly, it can also be lauched from an icon with a middle click, in which case the tool opens with a focus on that specific icon for the selected management action.

The main dashboard of mx-idesktool


  • View or edit an icon. If launched with the middle click, no file selection is necessary; otherwise, the user first sees a file selection box. In either case, the user progresses one field at a time through the settings (except for X and Y) in the *.lnk file in ~/.idesktop, making choices or changes. The image folder is set by default to Moka icons, but the user is free to navigate to other locations. An alternative method of editing that is some times useful is to directly edit the *.lnk file itself, which is facilitated by the Action under Config.
    • When the link file is saved, a helper command (“ideskrun”) is inserted at the beginning of the Left-Click field whose function is to enable the simplified mouse actions used by mx-idesktool.
    • If inserted into the Right-Click Command field, as shown, “ideskmenu” enables a pop-up menu of useful actions. The default menu can be adjusted by the user by placing a file named ideskmenu.template into ~/.idesktop that is formatted like the fluxbox menu.
The command box for viewing, editing and adding icons.
  • Remove an icon. Self-explanatory. Again, if launched by clicking the middle button on an icon, that icon is selected and the user will only need to click the remove button.
  • Add a new icon. The user will first be asked to provide an (optional) caption that will show in the default config when the mouse hovers over the icon, then a name for the *.lnk file of the icon that will appear in ~/.idesktop. The same command box is used as for View or edit an icon.


  • Set a precise location. Dragging icons works pretty well most of the time, but for some uses such as exact alignment the user will want to set the X and Y values. Clicking on this Action brings up a file selection box followed by a small dialog box where the user can fill in the two values, whose reference point is the upper left corner of the screen.
  • Set icons to snap. Enabling this option locates icons on a grid instead of allowing them to be placed at any random location. The grid is composed of rectangles with dimensions (96×72 is default) that can be adjusted in a small dialog box. Other adjustments can be made by directly editing the config file, ~/.ideskrc using the button below: “View or edit icon style.”
  • Set background rotation. This very nice feature has remained hidden in ideskrc up until now. In the dialog box that pops up, the user simply decides how many minutes between rotations, what directory to use as an image source (~/.fluxbox/backgrounds is suggested), and how to treat the images (“scale” is default, and usually works well in most cases).
  • Lock/unlock icons. This Action is a toggle that either prevents or permits moving icons. It functions by altering the corresponding line in ~/.ideskrc.
  • Reload the desktop. This Action is often necessary after making changes in fluxbox config files. It can be carried out as well from Menu > Leave > Refresh.


This section provides easy access to config files.

  • View or edit icon style. Opens the top section of ~.ideskrc in editable window, which in MX-Fluxbox has been separated into distinct units for easier comprehension.
  • View or edit mouse actions. Opens the bottom section of ~.ideskrc in editable window.
  • Directly edit an icon file. This opens the *.lnk file in ~/.idesktop for editing. It can be useful to quickly check or change a setting.


Clicking this action brings up this document.

v. 062320

MX Linux