Sunday 5 June 2011

Adding your own launchers to gnome-shell dash

This one has been driving me nuts for days!

I have a few applications that I install on my home directory and never copy to the global /usr directories. Naturally, they don't show up in the applications menu. In Gnome 2, adding a shortcut to such an application was as simple as right clicking the panel and selecting "Create new launcher". Unfortunately, since Gnome 3 seems to be designed by Mac users with single mouse buttons, right clicks have become some sort of a taboo.  (Why can't I right click the desktop to change the wallpaper any more? What is wrong with that dammit!). Worse than that, only applications appearing in the "applications" menu can be added to the dash. So what do you do if you want to have quick access to one of the locally installed apps?

After a bit of Googling, I found this fantastic link:

So, the steps are:

  1. Create a desktop file in ~/.local/share/applications (

  2. Reload gnome-shell (Press Alt+F2, type r and press enter)

  3. Now your app will show up in the applications list. Drag and drop to the dash to create the launcher

I am all for innovation and pushing boundaries, and  I am trying to keep a very open mind about Gnome 3. There are some pretty good ideas in there, and I appreciate the arduous task they have taken on. But come on, why do such blindingly simple things like this have to be so complicated?



Damián said...

thanks! good job with your blog, it's very helpful.
ps: the link to seems broken

DrLex said...

Most ironical is that Mac OS X has fully embraced right-clicking for several years. Pop in a two-button mouse or enable right-clicking for the Apple-supplied mouse, and practically everything offers a context menu. Gnome 3 on the other hand seems to be yearning for the ancient Mac OS anno 2000 or something.

I have tried the Unity-like n00b interface several times, but it keeps on driving me crazy. I had to go back to fallback mode (aka Gnome Classic) every time to preserve my sanity.