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In OS X any file name that starts with a "." is hidden, so to hide the .This is needed for the first command to take effect.You can also log out/reboot instead of killing the Finder, but the first command is needed to change a hidden preference (one that the Finder can’t change using the normal Finder view options or preferences).
The initial question is about hiding the dot files on the desktop and this answer solves this problem - thank you @micer [email protected] I use tinker Tool for showing system files, but also tried adding Xtra Finder to hide the .DS_Store file from desktop (and other hidden files which, on desktop, I don't want) - this way you can still have dot files displayed, just not on desktop. DS_Store is used by OS X to store directory information used by Finder such as icon position, etc.