For the most part, I prefer to work using the terminal on a minimal install of Linux; however, there are those occasional times where the GUI is necessary. Recently faced with having to add a few desktop shortcuts to the Desktop posed a bit of a problem for me. Basically, wanted to achieve two things, a Desktop icon to launch a script and a link (symbolic) to a directory on the system.
To create a Desktop icon using terminal, I created a file like this, with the name helloworld.desktop on the ~/Desktop with 755 permissions. Note the Icon is optional, you can remove it.
[Desktop Entry] Exec=/root/helloworld.sh Icon=/root/helloworld.png Type=Application MimeType=text/plain; Terminal=true Name[en_US]=Hello\n World Comment[en_US.UTF-8]=Hello World GenericName[en_US.UTF-8]=This is actually the Description, Hello World
To create a link to the desired directory.
ln -s /mnt/mydirectory ~/Desktop/
That's it. Couldn't be easier.