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Deskbar – The Katapult equivalent for Gnome

13 May 2007 3 Comments

I have been seeing a surge in people searching for ‘launchy linux’ in my stats from one of my previous posts.

I love seeing new ideas that change the way we use something that was considered just a normal part of life. Launchy, Quicksilver and Katapult are great examples of this. I was reading the other day about keyboard shortcuts and one guy said he gets so frustrated to see someone click in the URL bar and then press or hold delete until the old URL was gone before typing the new URL – (Ctrl+L) achieves the same for you in Firefox and Opera btw.

I can understand his pain. I see people using a Start Menu these days and it just pains me. click, move mouse, look, can’t find.. go up and down with the mouse, then slowly one by one until they find the program in question. oooh.. painful to watch.

Being a Systems Admin for a Financial Services company though, I just can’t go installing launchy on all our Domain controllers – so the pain runs even deeper. I mean, I could cos’ “I’ve got the power” so to speak but well, I try to stay old school and conservative to fit in with my peers.

So.. the point of the article is Gnome’s Deskbar right? Yes, KDE have Katapult and so Gnome has deskbar. I recently moved from PCLinuxos to Ubuntu Feisty Fawn and Gnome was a part of that move – I’ve seen no reason to go back since.

Deskbar is actually more advanced / integrated than Katapult in that it integrates with Beagle (a desktop indexing tool). So, in this effect it is a little like having a mix of Google Desktop + Launchy all in one.

I bind Ctrl+Shift+X to run Deskbar. You want to send an email? Ctrl+Shift+X -> type “Gar” and there it is, the action “Send Email to Garry G….”

In Summary deskbar can:

  • open a folder location in Nautilius
  • run a program in your menu structure
  • run a binary from your path
  • send an email to a contact
  • search text that beagle has indexed
  • or it falls back to a beagle search if it can’t find anything


  • no built-in calculator
  • wouldn’t automatically take focus when using with beryl

I am fairly new to the Gnome camp, I came for beagle but conduit, tomboy notes & the great music player Listen

I am still sorely missing Ifolder which I haven’t managed to successfully install under  Ubuntu Feisty.

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