There are thousand and one ways to launch application in Linux. You can use the Application menu, via the dock, use a app launcher like Synapse or Gnome Do or simply press “Alt + F2” and type the name of the application. Gnome Pie is yet another application launcher that allows you to quickly launch your applications, except that it is slick and highly configurable.
Gnome Pie has a slightly different setting as other application launcher. It is keyboard shortcut based and it appears as a group of applications instead of a single application.
To install, open a terminal and type the following:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:simonschneegans/testing sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install gnome-pie
Once you launched Gnome Pie, you won’t see anything on your screen. You have to go to the system tray and select the “Preferences” option from the Gnome Pie icon.
In the Preferences window, you can configure it to startup on login, show indicator (aka the tray icon) and whether to open Pies at Mouse. What this means is that when you activate Gnome Pie, should it appear at your mouse tip or at the center of the screen. In addition, you can also change the theme of the launcher.
The Pies tab is where you will be spending most of your time on configuring. Each group of applications is known as the Pie while each application is known as the Slice. In the Pies tab, you will see several Pies (Bookmarks, Main Menu, Session, Multimedia, Applications, Window) with their own shortcut key.
Under each pies is a series of slices (applications/actions/commands) that you can configure. For example, under the multimedia pie, you have the various slices (Play, Stop, Next track, Previous track) to control the music player.
You can easily create your own Pies/Slices. Simply right click in the window and select “Add New Pie” or “Add New Slice”. You can even drag and drop URLs/bookmarks/files/applications to the window and add them as slices.
Gnome Pie in action
Once you are done with your configuration, it is time to see it in action. To access your bookmarks, simply press “Ctrl + Alt + B” (or whatever shortcut you have assigned it to) and you can go round and round selecting the directory you want to access.
Similarly, you can press “Ctrl + Alt + M” to access the Multimedia pie and select the action for your music player.
As can be seen, Gnome Pie is highly configurable. You can customize the keyboard shortcut to your preferences and add your own pies and slices. It might take some time to get use to, but it is sure a fun and interesting way to access your applications.
Check it out and let me know if you like this way of accessing your apps.
Gnome Pie is available for Gnome only and works in both Gnome 3 and the Unity desktop.
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