if you are running gnome or kde just go into the start menu and near the bottum there is something that says run command. Click that and type in the application you wish to run. If that program runs just right click on the desktop and in gnome click new launcher and in kde go into "create new" and click link to application, give it a name, icon, and just type in the same command used to launch it in the command area. If it doesn't lauch from the run program box you can go into the terminal and type whereis programname and then it will give you a location. Instead of just typing in a command in the command line area of the shortcut/launcher box just click browse and go where the whereis command told you the aplication was.
Hope this helps,