I know in Windows it's a .EXE, what about Ubuntu? Specifically I removed the startup application hook for Docky and for whatever reason Docky won't add it back in, so I want to add it back in manually. However I'm not sure what file I am looking for here... So that brought me to this question, in general what file type am I looking for that is 'executable' in Ubuntu for this purpose?

I'm assuming there could be many files, or it might not be files at all.. I'm still shedding off my Windows-esque thinking mode, please help :)


You can just drag and drop the Docky item from Applications -> Accessories into the
Startup Applications window and it will be added to the list of programs that start on login.

The file type is .desktop. Go to ~/.config/autostart and you'll now see a docky.desktop and several other .desktop files.

Every program that has a .desktop file will have it in /usr/share/applications so if you wanted to you could also just manually copy /usr/share/applications/docky.desktop into ~/.config/autostart.

The format of .desktop files is basically the same as INI files.

  • I can drag and drop from there! Woot. – MetaGuru Nov 17 '10 at 16:47

Seeing as you are coming from windows, I will try to give you a better understanding of how applications work on linux.

Executables do not normally have a file extension; the are normally found in /usr/bin (as opposed to C:\Program Files\Vendor\Program\Executable.exe), and simply have the application's name (for example, docky = /usr/bin/docky). Desktop files allow for applications to be run with an icon, optional arguments, etc.

To add an application to your start up files, you can open the startup applications manager, click add, and type the application's name (usually this is the name of the executable).

For example, to start emesene (a chat client) you would add emesene to your startup applications.

As a rule: any file can be marked as an executable, even if it is not a program. For this reason, you should be sure to get a better understanding of how executables in linux work, before trying to do any administrative tasks.

  • much appreciated – MetaGuru Nov 17 '10 at 19:41

An executable file is one that has a 'x' permission. You can use a simple ls -l to view file permissions. You can make a file executable by using chmod +x <filename> and then execute it using sh <filename>.

For a detailed explanation on file permissions


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