Gnome “Show Desktop” applet that only minimizes all windows

The “show desktop” applet in Gnome is more like a toggle button that switches between minimizing all windows and restoring all windows. I’ve never found the restore all windows behavior useful, it requires an extra mouse click, and I’m always jolted by the temporary flash of restoring windows.

For those few souls who share this peeve there is a simple way to replace the applet with a version that always and only shows the desktop.  Reproducing ruizscar’s instructions here:

  1. Install "wmctrl" (i.e., sudo apt-get install wmctrl)
  2. Add a “Custom App Launcher” to the desktop panel bar with the command "wmctrl -k on"

If you want to completely reproduce the “show desktop” applet, you’ll need to also set the icon.  For the default Ubuntu/Gnome theme (as of 11.04), the icon is located at: "/usr/share/icons/Humanity/places/24/gnome-ccdesktop.svg".  Hopefully that’ll get you in the right neighborhood depending on the theme/panel size you run.

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