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I have a few launchers in Unity that I might want to run as sudo once or twice, but I have no idea what to type into the terminal.

At the moment, crazily, I have to run the app, then search for likely candidates in System Monitor! I don't think the Unity Design team intend, ever, to give us a right-click action on the Dash, or a "Details" option if I right-click on a Launcher, so... how do I figure out what's actually being executed when I run a Launcher?

(for the curious, what I'm struggling with is Desura - it's not in the system path, so I can't just whereis desura, assuming desura is what's actually being run - I'd be guessing)

[EDIT : using the method I marked as the answer, I can see that Desura installs in my home directory and as it's a non-root install, it doesn't update the system path.]

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

To read the contents of the launcher file you can open gedit and drag&drop a launcher icon from the dash into it.

Gedit will then display the .desktop file for that launcher which is by the way stored in


in my case for example

#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Game Manager
Comment=Download and play the best games
Exec=/home/daniel/desura/desura %U

Now just look at the 'Exec=' line in that document in my case

Exec=/home/daniel/desura/desura %U

This will point you to where the executable is stored and tell you the name (desura).

By the way...normally it is neither necessary nor a good idea to run desura in root mode.

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Very elegant solution. Thanks! Still wish they'd add a right-click menu though... :-) – Scaine Aug 12 '12 at 22:42
Oh, and tried to run Desura as root to fix an issue and you're right - it doesn't want to do that. Found another way around the issue though, so no worries. – Scaine Aug 12 '12 at 22:48

Use the starter file properties

Drag the icon onto the desktop, right click on it and select "Proprerties". The command is in the "Command" field:

enter image description here

Use Arronax

Install Arronax, open Arronax and drag the icon from the dash into Arronax. , the command is in the "Command" field:

enter image description here

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Hadn't come across Arronax before, thanks. I tried to install Alacarte, but it wanted a pile of dependencies! – Scaine Aug 12 '12 at 22:41

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