Fast application launcher like quicksilver/gnome do

Posted on 2009-10-19 14:52 UTC by Marcus Wikström. Status: Under consideration, Categories: Utilities.

As a gnome user I've become addicted to gnome do, and I think that a similar program would be awesome for the N900. Ctrl-space and win!

Anyway I looked into it a little bit and even though there is some old port of mono for maemo I concluded that it's not the way to go.

I found another launcher called Kupfer that does not require mono and is pretty similar. After some tinkering and compiling of libraries (namely python-gobject_2.16 to get gio) I actually got it compiled on the sdk. It ran, but didn't actually work.


The usage of this application is very simple.

Press your keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-space for example) and a dialogue pops up. By typing it suggests an application to launch based on what you've typed, and enter launches that application. The list is prioritized in such a way that the most popular hits come up first. You should be able to scroll down the list of matches.
Some of these programs can perform all sorts of tasks, but the most basic is to very quickly launch an installed application.

Solutions for this brainstorm


Solution #1: Port Kupfer to maemo

Posted on 2009-10-19 14:56 UTC by Marcus Wikström.

Most of the libraries used by kupfer can be run in maemo so a straightforward port could be a way to implement this.


Solution #2: Create an application launcher from scratch

Posted on 2009-10-19 14:59 UTC by Marcus Wikström.

The application could be rather simple so it's not unfeasible to implement the program from scratch.


Solution #3: Port gnome do when the mono libraries are ported

Posted on 2009-10-20 10:01 UTC by Marcus Wikström.

A straight port of gnome-do is feasible once the mono packages are ported to fremantle.


Solution #4: Universal menu overlay

Posted on 2009-10-20 20:06 UTC by Joseph Pingenot.

A good number of pixels are wasted on the left-hand side of the screen, waiting for users to tap there instead of interacting with their application. A quicksilver-like system which respects stylus and keyboard would be an excellent way to replace this.

There are 2 modes. The first is non-quicksilver, based on the GNOME slab interface:

1) The top, left-hand-side button on the front (brings up a list of active programs atm) is reassigned.  Instead of bringing up a list of running programs, it brings up 4 items, centered in the middle of the screen (with pictures, but I can't reproduce that here):

[Programs] [Applications] [Contacts] [Web]

This basically replaces both the existing functionality and the left-hand side, and is brought up only when the user needs it.

2) Similar to the slab GNOME interfce, selecting the appropriate slab with the stylus brings up a sub-menu:

[[Programs]] [Applications] [Contacts] [Web]

[Numpty Physics] [Terminal A] [Terminal B]

[Browser window A] [Browser window B]

(Ideally, there's a thumbnail of the running program; [[]] denotes an "active" choice) The sub-menu choices are displayed on the lower portion of the screen. If needed, wide, thin scroll buttons "<" and ">" can allow the users to scroll around (shouldn't be used by default; the user might choose to put too many items in a category, though])

3) Going into a menu below the sub-menu replaces the previous top-row menu with the bottom-row.

Keyboard use simply is a shortcut.

Option Two: quicksilver/slab hybrid:

Same as above. However, a new top-level item is present, similar to quicksilver, which searches through a database. Results are brought up as typing occurs, and displayed in the lower portion of the screen as described above. Hitting tab allows the user to switch between lower/upper portions and the quicksilver area. When an item is selected in the lower list, an action may be chosen, like in gnome-do (shift-enter?)


Solution #5: Extend the contact search dialogue

Posted on 2009-10-21 05:28 UTC by Marcus Wikström.

The contact search that appear when you start typing while at <home> could be extended in a way that it could launch applications or websites. And a shortcut key-combo to access this dialogue from other places could be added. In theory that could be much easier and more effective than actually running a separate application.

once the dialogue is up the options could have a list of stuff to look for in the search. So if you prefer, the dialogue could work exactly as before, only searching contacts.

A global shortcut combination, for example ctrl-space, could be implemented. enter should open or launch the highlighted element, as should clicking on it on the screen, as it currently does.

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