71

Looking for a utility that allows me insert an item into the list of applications that GNOME knows about.

For example:
I have downloaded Eclipse EE (I have some very special plugins that I need to work with, and those plugins don't "like" the version available in the default repository). I'm using GNOME 3, on Ubuntu 11.10. So I want to execute Eclipse w/o opening a terminal and running it.

It must be something very simple.

71

You can use Main Menu for this. If not, install it first:

sudo apt-get install alacarte

1. Open Main Menu

2. See the example

Main Menu

After that you can call your applications with name: "command_of_application".

Edit: I missed that you had asked for applications in your home directory. If so, command must be the full path of that application.

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  • In German Ubuntu 17.10, search for "Menüberabeitung" – Christopher K. May 9 '18 at 14:25
64

The applications launchers Gnome knows about are .desktop files in /usr/share/applications, and ~/.local/share/applications. You can create custom launchers for whatever is in your home folder, by either manually creating and editing a custom .desktop file, or by using Alacarte, the old Gnome menu editor.

The Gnome desktop file documentation can be of help: https://developer.gnome.org/integration-guide/stable/desktop-files.html.en

The custom launcher is just a text file, named, for example, EclipseEE.desktop, with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Eclipse EE
Exec=/home/mrPeterson/path_to_executable
StartupNotify=true
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Icon=/optional/path/to/icon.png
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  • first link is broken – nispio Aug 11 '15 at 23:59
10

(Repost from the original OP)

This is neat trick pointed out elsewhere:

gnome-desktop-item-edit ~/Desktop/ --create-new

Now, I have an Icon. That was a nice feature to have bound to the context menu, but alas, I do not see it.

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  • This program wasn't installed by default for me; had to do sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends gnome-panel – yuikonnu Jan 7 '18 at 17:59
5

I like Jorge's simple gnome-desktop-item-edit solution. However, if I place the .desktop file on ~/Desktop/ it does not show up as an application but only as a file in the gnome menu. So I do:

sudo gnome-desktop-item-edit /usr/share/applications/ --create-new
| improve this answer | |
  • Howerver you want to create menu for all gnome users, you should prefer place it on ~/.local/share/applications folder and avoid to use sudo. – RousseauAlexandre Nov 23 '18 at 7:36
1

I know this thread is kinda old, but I wanted to share with you guys this bash function I just made because... because I can. If you find it useful, feel free to use it!

Warning: I just made it. It might not be perfect.

new-gnome-launcher-app(){
    # This functions adds some executable file to the gnome launcher.
    # It does the following:
    #   - Add symlink to /usr/bin
    #   - Add entry for gnome launcher

    # TODO: Check image file extension

    # Check if root
    # if [ "$(id -u)" != "0" ]; then 
    #   echo "Must run as root"
    #   return 1
    # fi

    # If parameter is entered, assume it's the executable's directory.
    # Else, ask for it
    if [ "$?" -gt "1" ]; then
        exec_path="$1"
    else
        echo -n "Enter executable file name: "
        read exec_path
    fi
    # Check if file exists
    if [ ! -f "$exec_path" ] || [ ! -f "$(pwd)/$exec_path" ]; then
        echo "File doesn't exist"
        unset exec_path
        return 1
    fi
    # Get absolute path to file
    if [ "${exec_path:0:1}" != "/" ]; then
        echo "'$exec_path' was not an absolute path"
        exec_path="$(pwd)/$exec_path"
        echo "Assuming path '$exec_path'"
    fi
    exec_basename="$(basename "$exec_path")"
    # Check if symlink already exists
    if [ -f "/usr/bin/$exec_basename" ]; then
        echo "File '/usr/bin/$exec_basename' already exists. We wont be able to create the symlink."
        unset exec_basename
        unset exec_path
        return 1
    fi
    # Add entry for gnome panel
    gnome_panel_entry_path="/usr/share/applications/$exec_basename.desktop"
    if [ -f "$gnome_panel_entry_path" ]; then
        echo "Entry '$(basename "$gnome_panel_entry_path")' already exists!"
        unset exec_basename
        unset gnome_panel_entry_path
        unset exec_path
        return 2
    fi
    # ask for display name
    while [ "$USER_RESPONSE" != "y" ] && [ "$USER_RESPONSE" != "Y" ]; do
        echo -n "Enter the program's name: "
        read APP_NAME
        while [ "$APP_NAME" == "" ]; do
            echo -n "Please enter something: "
            read APP_NAME
        done
        # ask for a description
        echo -n "Enter a short description: "
        read APP_DESCRIPTION
        # ask for an icon file
        echo -n "Enter absolute path to an icon image (empty for none): "
        read APP_ICON
        while [ "$APP_ICON" != "" ] && [ ! -f "$APP_ICON" ]; do
            echo -n "File doesn't exist. Retry: "
            read APP_ICON
        done 
        # ask if it needs a terminal
        echo -n "Will this program need a terminal? [y/n]: "
        read APP_TERMINAL
        while [ "$APP_TERMINAL" != "y" ] && [ "$APP_TERMINAL" != "n" ]; do
            echo -n "Please enter something: "
            read APP_TERMINAL
        done
        if [ "$APP_TERMINAL" == "y" ]; then
            APP_TERMINAL="true"
        else
            APP_TERMINAL="false"
        fi
        # ask for tags
        echo -n "Enter some categories that fit your program (';' separated): "
        read APP_CATEGORIES
        # Check if user is satisfied
        while [ "$USER_RESPONSE" == "" ] || [ "$USER_RESPONSE" != "y" ] && [ "$USER_RESPONSE" != "Y" ] && [ "$USER_RESPONSE" != "n" ] && [ "$USER_RESPONSE" != "N" ]; do
            echo -e "Is this information correct?\n"
            echo -e "\tName: \t\t$APP_NAME"
            echo -e "\tExecutable: \t$exec_path"
            echo -e "\tDescription: \t$APP_DESCRIPTION"
            echo -e "\tIcon File: \t$APP_ICON"
            echo -e "\tTerminal: \t$APP_TERMINAL"
            echo -e "\tCategories: \t$APP_CATEGORIES"
            echo -n "(y/n): "
            read USER_RESPONSE
        done
        if [ "$USER_RESPONSE" == "n" ] || [ "$USER_RESPONSE" == "N" ]; then
            echo "Then please enter everything again, kind sir"
            unset USER_RESPONSE
        fi
    done
    # User is happy
    # Add link to /usr/bin
    echo "Adding link to /usr/bin"
    sudo ln -s "$exec_path" "/usr/bin/$exec_basename"
    # Add gnome panel entry
    echo "Creating gnome-panel entry"
    echo "[Desktop Entry]" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Type=Application" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Encoding=UTF-8" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Name=$APP_NAME" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Comment=$APP_DESCRIPTION" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Icon=$APP_ICON" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Exec=$exec_path" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Terminal=$APP_TERMINAL" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Categories=$APP_CATEGORIES" | sudo tee -a "$gnome_panel_entry_path" > /dev/null
    echo "Entry added in '$gnome_panel_entry_path'"
    unset USER_RESPONSE
    unset APP_NAME
    unset APP_CATEGORIES
    unset APP_TERMINAL
    unset APP_DESCRIPTION
    unset APP_ICON
    unset exec_path
    unset exec_basename
    unset gnome_panel_entry_path
    return 0
}
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