I’ve posted before about Linux Mint, as well as using Xfce. While I hadn’t gotten Cinnamon working on the older machine, I did realize that there is in fact an ebuild for this on Gentoo. I’ve been trying it on a laptop, and have found it to be pretty nice. However, after logging in a few times, I could no longer see any icons on my desktop, nor could I drag anything onto it.
This is caused by the filemanager, nemo, not starting at login and taking over the desktop. Starting the file manager manually by clicking the taskbar icon brings the icons back, but this only lasts until you close it. I wasn’t sure what was causing this, until I remembered that I still had Gnome3 installed, which uses nautilus to manage the desktop. Cinnamon is derived from Gnome, and you can actually use gnome-session-properties to manage startup applications in both. The problem was that both nautilus and nemo were trying to take over, and neither were winning.
I didn’t have gnome-session-poperties installed, but I got it by emerging gnome-media. In the list of applications it listed ‘Files’ twice. Find the one that starts nautilus (highlight it and click ‘Edit’, then see what command it uses) and disable it. After logging out and logging in again I had my desktop back to normal.