Getting caja-open-terminal for MATE on CentOS 7

Due to what I am sure is an innocent oversight, caja-open-terminal, the moral equivalent of nautilus-open-terminal, is missing from the EPEL repository for CentOS 7. My solution follows.

In their mad rush to eliminate anything that smacked of Unix from the Gnome desktop, the developers of that product did everything they could to make the terminal application hard to find. This began back in the “Golden Age” of Gnome 2. As a consequence, getting a terminal icon on the desktop context menu had to be enabled by enabling a key in gconf. Later on they decided this was just too easy, and so moved that functionality to the dconf database where it was implemented in a Nautilus plugin. This is still the state of things in Gnome 3.

Having been built on the Gnome 2 code base, out of the box MATE suffers from this perverse architectural idiocracy. In order to get the terminal icon on your context menu the caja-open-terminal plugin has to be first installed and then configured via dconf-editor. The problem for those of us on CentOS 7 is that caja-open-terminal has not yet been added to the EPEL repository that is home to MATE (v1.8.0-2) for that platform. Some might think this is a small thing, others an offense worthy of a flame war. My own attitude is that it’s just one more annoyance in a legacy of annoyances from the Gnome project.

I would switch to XFCE in a second if so much of it wasn’t incomplete as currently shipped for CentOS 7 (like the absence of icons for basic apps like the terminal). It seems that XFCE on Centos 7, at least, was put together with the assumption of a pre-existing full install of Gnome 3 being present. That’s just not how this old sysadmin rolls. Sorry.

My temporary solution was to go on over to the Fedora 20 repository and grab the latest copy of caja-open-terminal (v1.8.0-3) from there, installing with the “–nodeps” argument. Once this was done I opened up dconf-editor and drilled down to org.mate.caja-open-terminal and checked off “desktop-opens-home-dir” before logging out and then back in to the desktop.

It will be interesting to see how the newly minted Desktop SIG for CentOS, as well as the Fedora Next Desktop team, handle these kinds of discontinuity. For this former MCSE (whose certificate number was in the low thousands) functionality always wins over form when it comes to desktop environments. I really hope that philosophy wins out in the end.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).