A Hotkey Based Application Launcher for Linux – GnomePie

Application launchers have long been a popular application for some users. For instance, the one that comes with Apple Mac OSX. Although in a way every shortcut is sort of an application launcher but a dedicated one does make managing apps easy for you nonetheless.

Starting with Unity, Ubuntu also has an application launcher of its own called “Dash”. Personally I have mixed feelings about these sort of utilities but again, they can be useful to some users.

Simon Schneegans has decided to follow a different approach and create an application launcher that uses a somewhat different philosophy and it’s called Gnome-Pie. This launcher, unlike entering program names in order to launch, Gnome-Pie lets you launch apps from a category based window, which is called a “Pie” and by using the master shortcut you can open ‘Gnome-Pie’ anywhere on your desktop.

To get a better understanding, have a look at the below screenshot.

Gnome-Pie after launching the “desktop programs menu” …

Main features…

*. When you install it, it comes with some predefined application categories (such as text editors, multimedia apps etc). But you can always add or remove any time you want.

*. Change the master keyboard shortcuts according to your preference.

*. When you press a shortcut, it displays a pie (in a circular manner) near your mouse pointer location (can be disabled) and moves with it too.

*. Adds the Main Gnome desktop by default.

*. Transparency and other few 3D rendering effects.

*. Few built in themes.

This seems to be one of the “light weight” themes… (called “Funky”)

*. Integrates well with both Unity 2D & 3D desktop modules.

*. Control desktop Log out-in functions.

*. Built in Windows related functions: Maximize, Minimize, Show desktop, etc.

*. Access main functions via the notification icon.

You can install Gnome-Pie in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot by simply adding its PPA. For that, as usual, use the below commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:simonschneegans/testing

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install gnome-pie

Although it needs a reasonable amount of system resources (CPU and GPU specifically) for those rendering effects I suppose… certainly not a resources hog though … but having installed the proper GPU drivers should also help. Well, that’s all I have to say about that ;-).

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