If you have a graphical application, you should put it into your GNOME application menu. All you have to do is create appname .desktop , where appname is your application's name , and install this file into $(PREFIX)/share/applications . Here is an example, miracletext.desktop :
[Desktop Entry] Name=Example Comment=MiracleText Word Processor Comment[de]=MiracleText Textverarbeitung Comment[es]=MiracleText procesador de textos Name=Edit documents with MiracleText Name[de]=Dokumente bearbeiten mit MiracleText Name[es]=Edita documentos con MiracleText TryExec=example Exec=example %U Icon=example.png Terminal=0 Type=Application Categories=Application
Like many other files that you have seen so far, there are keys and values here, and you can specify a locale with square brackets (  ). You must use UTF-8 for all values with a locale identifier and ASCII for the rest. The key meanings are as follows :
Version : The .desktop file format, currently 1.0.
Type : For applications, this is always Application .
Encoding : Character encoding; set this to UTF-8 .
Name : The name of the application that should show up in the menu item. If there's enough space, include a very short blurb indicating the application's purpose.
Comment : A fairly detailed description of what the user can do with the application. Use a verb's imperative form in the phrase: for example, "Set the system clock" or "Automatically upload to websites ."
TryExec : The name of the application's executable without options.
Exec : The executable's syntax. You may use any of the following placeholders:
%f A filename.
%F A set of filenames.
%u A URI.
%U A set of URIs.
%d A directory.
%D A set of directories.
%n A filename without a path .
%N A set of filenames without paths.
As you can see, MiracleText is a fairly modern application, accepting URIs on the command line.
Icon : The icon for the menu; the path should be relative to $(PREFIX)/share/ pixmaps .
Terminal : Set this to true if the application must run in a terminal emulator window, and false otherwise .
Categories : A semicolon-delimited category path for the application. Use one of the following:
GNOME;Application;AudioVideo; GNOME;Application;Development; GNOME;Application;Game; GNOME;Application;Graphics; GNOME;Application;Network; GNOME;Application;Office; GNOME;Application;Settings; GNOME;Application;Utility;
A new menu item should appear as soon as you copy its .desktop file into $(PREFIX)/share/applications .
For more information on the file format, see [Brown]. You can also edit a .desktop graphically with gnome-desktop-item-edit .