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Customizing the GNOME Main Menu

A lot of the comments on digg.com have been missing the mark on what SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10's Main Menu is all about. Accusations of filching the concept from Vista, and oversimplifying the interface have had some solid defense in the threads, so I won't bother to address them here.

But one line of question that is interesting to me has to do with customizing the interface. One comment stated something to the effect that the interface seems to assume what applications a user will need.

More Applications Application BrowserIndeed, defaults have to be in place for Favorite Applications. And as it stands now, the menu is not a learning interface. That is, icons don't just add themselves because you use them a lot. ("Recently Used Applications" sort of does this, but it just shows what you most recently used as opposed to most frequently use.)

The "Favorite Applications" is easy to customize. From the "More Applications" button, you get the Application Browser window, shown here. It has a cool filter function on it, so you can see that I have typed "ga" to filter down to the items that have "ga" in them. Gaim and several games come up. (I could have also typed "Instant" to see Gaim.)

From there, a right-click brings up the menu you see here. That's how easy it is to add an item to the menu.

Removing Gaim from the Main MenuWhen you want to remove items, you do it right from the menu. Easy as that.


22 Responses

  1. […] New menu – Looks a bit like the new Vista menu, though mock-ups of concepts like this have been floating around for years. More info here. […]

  2. Here’s a flash version of how to customize the menu http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/tip/17432.html

  3. I installed new applications, how do I get them to show up in more applications? I assume it is a directory with links? what is the location?

  4. Marc [3]:
    They should be under the “New Applications” section of the More Applications dialog. (You can test this with an install of Skype or VMware to make sure that it’s working.) If it does not work, then you may need to create an application launcher icon for that icon manually.

  5. So, How does one manually create an entry in the menus on Suse? I’ve looked around a bit and I still can’t find a way to accomplish this simple task. Any help is appreciated.

  6. Deek [5]:
    I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. Can you provide a bit more info?

  7. I’ve installed an application which works fine from the command line but the installtion did not generate a launcher entry in Suse’s menus. I have manually created one on the desktop but I would like to also enter a menu item for it in the “Application Browser” under the “Audio and Video” section.

    (I’m running SLED 10, with Gnome Main Menu 0.6.1)

  8. deek [7]:
    Please include your email address in your next reply. I’d like to ask you a few things so that I can post a complete reply.
    For now, have you put your launcher in /usr/share/applications ?


  9. Ted,

    Thanks for your continued responses. I did copy the launcher into usr/share/applications but I still don’t see it on the menu.

    I’m sure this is much easier than I’m making it…. 😦


  10. Is it possible to rename the “Computer” button for the Gnome Main Menu?

  11. I have the same problem. What is the solution? Good example is after installing Firefox 2 (just extracting the download archive), I can’t figure out how to make that icon show up in the application menu!?

  12. Troy [10]:
    Sorry for the lag in response. I had emailed the answer to Deek [8] and never posted here as a comment.

    The trick is to create a launcher icon in /opt/gnome/share/applications. If you use gedit to open one of the icons inside that location, you can piece together how the categories are applied to different launchers.

  13. lol the sled a rip off of vista…….give me a free-hopping break.

    it is copy of spotlight…off which vista is imitating through grey&blue tinted corporate goggles.

  14. application launchers for add-on software or for you custom applications should be placed in /usr/share/application/ folder. As suggested by other earlier, just copy any of the existing “.desktop” file and modify it to suite your needs.
    Hope it helps!


  15. Hey how do I change the color or opacity it dosen’t seem to take my gtk themes and I tried adding it to my compiz opacity settings but nothing seems to work

  16. @Wray [15]: I’m not sure how you would do that. Try consulting this page.

  17. Can the application browser be disabled and replaced by the standard Gnome menu?

  18. @Erik Forsberg: Yes.

  19. Is there a way to change the name on the Menu “Computer” and the Icon for let’s say Ubuntu and the Ubuntu logo?

  20. @Spartan2276: Probably if you were to use gconf-editor, you could find the non-programmatic options available. Try the Ubuntu forums, too. I’m not at Novell anymore, so I have not really followed advancements from a technical angle lately.

  21. […] a simple (I said simple) program launcher does not exist for Windows. Interestingly enough, some distributions of Linux have such a menu. […]

  22. a simple way add a menue item into the “application browser” “right click” on you desktop , select create launcher , this process will create a .desktop file in you $HOME/Desktop directory , copy that file to /usr/share/application/ folder and thats it!

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