I am totally new to Ubuntu/Linux and I want to create a link on a desktop (is this called an application launcher?).

I created a .desktop file placed on the Desktop with this content but it doesn't start the application:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=GIT Version Control System 6.0.3
Name[en_US]=SmartGIT 603

ll outputs...

-rwxrwxr-x  1 diulrich diulrich  321 Jun 18 18:35 SmartGIT 603.desktop*

I am using Ubuntu 12.04

Also, I have checked 'Allow executing file as program' in the Permissions tab when right-clicking the desktop symbol.

I tried to set required environment variable SMARTGITHG_JAVA_HOME in .bashrc, .profile and in /etc/environment without success.

Modifying the EXEC property in the .desktop file this way:

Exec=env SMARTGITHG_JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.7.0_40 /usr/local/bin/develop/versioncontrol/smartgithg-6_0_3/bin/smartgithg.sh

I am able to start the application by clicking the desktop symbol.

I wonder why this happens? Is GNOME (GNOME is responsible for running .desktop files, isn't it?) using another shell so that it does not execute .bashrc/.profile an subsequently SMARTGITHG_JAVA_HOME is not set?

  • If it is a shell script you might want to check with Terminal=true.
    – muru
    Jul 16, 2014 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


You can do it with gnome panel.

If it is not already installed run:
sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

Then create the shortcut with:
gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new

In the creation window choose the type and location of the target and then click OK.

  • I get E: Command line option --create-new is not understood
    – du-it
    Jul 16, 2014 at 8:54
  • Just tested it on 12.04 and it works fine for me. Can you post a screenshot of the command you entered and the output you got.
    – Pabi
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:09
  • myName@ub1204d:~$ sudo apt-get install gnome-panel gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new E: Command line option --create-new is not understood myName@ub1204d:~$
    – du-it
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:30
  • There are two seperate commands. First run sudo apt-get install gnome-panel to instal gnome panel then gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new to create the desktop icon.
    – Pabi
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:31
  • Here's the generated output: #!/usr/bin/env xdg-open [Desktop Entry] Version=1.0 Type=Application Terminal=false Icon[en_US]=/usr/local/bin/develop/versioncontrol/smartgithg-6_0_3/bin/smartgithg-64.png Exec=/usr/local/bin/develop/versioncontrol/smartgithg-6_0_3/bin/smartgithg.sh Comment[en_US]=SmartGIT 6.0.3 yet Name[en_US]=SmartGIT 6.0.3 Name=SmartGIT 6.0.3 Comment=SmartGIT 6.0.3 yet #Icon=gnome-panel-launcher ...but couble-clicking on it has no effect.
    – du-it
    Jul 16, 2014 at 9:47

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