Friday, August 31, 2012

Adding custom Application Launcher to Ubuntu Unity

In order to install custom, out-of-repository software, maybe a newer version or one that doesn't exist in the repository at all, you need to do some extra work to get a nice icon in the Unity launcher.

For me, an example is the Eclipse IDE.

Normally, one would copy additional software to the /opt folder. Eclipse has an internal update system which why I installed in my home folder: /home//Programs/eclipse, that is writable by the user that is running the program.

To create a launcher one needs the gnome-desktop-item-edit tool, in the gnome-panel package:

sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

Then, as local user, create a Desktop file for the program, e.g. Eclipse:

gnome-desktop-item-edit --create-new ~/Programs/eclipse/

Now fill in the name, command and choose a Icon, e.g. Eclipse, /home//Programs/eclipse/eclipse and /home//Programs/eclipse/icon.xpm

Now, when you browse to the Programs folder, you can execute the created Launcher and lock it to the Unity menu.

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