DesktopSweeper is a freeware APE Module (the equivalent of Unsanity's Haxies) that provides ways to control whether or not Desktop icons are displayed. This can be done with a configurable hotkey, or automatically, when the Finder comes to the front and/or leaves it.
DesktopSweeper doesn't work by covering the Desktop so your desktop background is not affected at all, even if you use an application that displays animated (or screensaver'ed) backgrounds. .
What's new in DesktopSweeper
Universal Binary (runs on both PPC and Intel based Macs).
Added ways to enable separately Display and Hide automatically.
Added an option to prevent the Finder to come to the front when clicking on the Desktop while icons are hidden.
Reworded most tooltips in the prefs pane.
Fixed a bug where the hidden state could get reversed for icons that were partially offscreen.
Added support and optional installation of SmartCrashReports.
Now comes with Unsanity's Application Enhancer 2.0 and Installer 3.6.1.