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Is there a way in OS X to change the desktop from Finder to something else (for example KDE from Fink)?

Basically, I want Finder to not boot up at startup, so no icons, no dock (but keep the menu bar)

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    Finder is not the x environment. Finder is simply the file manager. Much like explorer in windows. [themes][1] are what you're looking for and you can switch them out or find one that provides the minimal look you might be looking for. 1. You can hide the dock. 2. Not have icons on your desktop. Not sure if that will give you want you want. [1]: flavours.interacto.net – user1048138 Dec 5 '14 at 7:51
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I don't know if this still works; but in 10.6 you could define a different application to run in place of Finder. I did this for a iChat stand-alone "kiosk" once.

For example:

defaults write com.apple.loginwindow Finder /Applications/iChat.app

When you logout and login, the application you designated (in my case, iChat) will start. I suppose you could set this to XQuartz; but, again, I haven't tried it myself.

To back out the changes:

defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow Finder

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