How To: Create Custom Desktop Launchers in Ubuntu (Gnome)
This guide is applicable to Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) and Feisty Fawn (7.04); I’m not so sure if this same method will apply on other versions of Ubuntu. I will show you how to create custom desktop launchers (or as they are more commonly known, desktop icons) in the Ubuntu Gnome desktop. For information on how to create launchers in KDE (Kubuntu) or Xfce (Xubuntu), please refer to their respective documentation.
Right-click anywhere on the Gnome desktop background and select “Create Launcher…” in the menu. For the type, select “Location” in the drop-down menu. In Name, type in what you want to call the launcher. In Location, type where the folder to which you want to launch is (ie /home/username/ ). Click OK.
A Properties window will open. Go to the Basic tab. Click on the button next to “Name.” A file browser window should open; go to where your custom icon is and select that icon (Gnome can read PNG and ICO formats).
Now go to the Link tab. In the URL text box, feel free to type in the name of the file manager you use before the location of the folder link. In this example, I’ve typed in my file browser (Thunar all lowercase), and the location of the folder. If you use PC File Manager, type “pcmanfm” without the quotes before the location address.
Sometimes the custom icon will revert back to the blank icon when you go to the Link tab. If this happens, simply repeat step 2 of this How-To. Click Close.