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Old 06-06-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Question An age-old subject=> to Linux...from 'that other OS'...

Please pardon the length of this posting - it is an explanation which I cannot see any way to shorten and it seems important to clarify this before I ask further questions.

I am posting in the Newbie's area because I happen to be the only guy that a few folks know who happens to have some Linux exposure over time; so as such they are looking to me as being somewhat experienced compared to their total lack of any...

As for myself, I am not a total newbie and not any sort of total devotee either (as posted in my intro here).

Here's my story, which leads to some questions:

OK, I admit it=> as an old DOS guy when win-doze took over I was appalled, and having no real choices but to accept that, years ago...
I instead found ways to keep it from losing data and crashing. It's been JUST good enough but NOT a happy thing all this time. (Like being held prisoner in a place without any severe discomforts but still wanting to GET OUT !!!)

So all the years since then I've waited & hoped for Linux to become as simple & easy as the rotten win-doze 'virus' has been (knowing I wanted it & would help others to get there as well).

The dream-time is what I'd describe as when some Linux distros would be 'grandma & grandpa ready'; and having tried aplenty over time...they weren't there quite yet.

Now it looks like that time has come.

I've had one very cool success thus far=> an 80+ year old friend of mine is now using the ZorinOS I installed for him as his everyday OS, very happily.
(And looks back at his years as an M$ user with a frown too.)

My own measure of this success as it applies to myself revolves around being able to tweak a Linux installation so that it is every bit as easy & simple to use - and with all possible functionality duplicated so as to be able to use one just as I use the other.
More of a quest for a work-alike situation than any sort of look-alike situation.

YES=> Linux IS NOT ween-dooz=> NO ARGUMENT HERE.

My ambition:
I have 2 PCs in the same room right across from each other; a simple turn of my chair to reach either.

I want to be able to use each closely enough as if I am a totally non-technical end-user doing my daily thing.
(And I've almost reached that goal too !!!)

Now it's time for me to meet this challenge for myself and my own daily usage.

(Wow - you read all that - Thanks !!!)

My first query is about an oldie but a goodie (and please don't flog me for asking for an equivalent to a ween-dooz tool !!!).

I ask because it suits me to have my most-used program icons on the desktop - and as such it is also desirable to access most-used applications very quickly without having to reach the desktop.

An ancient M$ powertoy called 'deskmenu' did exactly that - a single click brought up a menu of all the icons on the desktop very quickly and conveniently.
It looks like this when opened with a single click=>

Is there anything which can mimic this for use in Linux (ZorinOS or Ubuntu preferably) ?
Old 06-06-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.
You must understand that in the GNU/Linux word there are different graphical interfaces available for users. Unlike other platforms in which there is only one desktop manager in Linux each desktop manager offers different tools for you to access your data and applications.
I believe LXDE, Xfce, and other windows managers offer a behavior in which you right click on the main desktop and that brings a menu for you to launch applications and access directories and files. By the fault the menu contains the basic shortcuts but you can add more either by category or on the main menu.

Do a search about different desktop manager for linux and try a few until you find the one you like. you should also try different windows manager then you can select what type of graphica interface you prefer.

There are specific ways to install them on each distro so you will have to do a search for the distro you are using. Also there is a way to select what graphical interface you want to use when you log in for your session.

Good luck to you.

Last edited by TroN-0074; 06-06-2012 at 08:14 PM.
Old 06-06-2012, 08:13 PM   #3
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Try it in wine maybe. Do you have deskmenu.exe?

I don't exactly know of a clone of it by it looks simple enough to make.

There are a few ways to make a simple button or menu type window that can run scripts. I did a small one for about 40 tasks a few months ago. I forget even what I used. I searched for something like x window menu simple or such.

Last edited by jefro; 06-06-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:33 PM   #4
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@1st reply:
A very good start, thanks !
This adventure has landed me firmly into ZorinOS as my best starting point.

I have zero interest in changing away from the default GUI/window manager I am using in ZorinOS, especially as I've already spent a load of time customizing it so it already suits me to about 98%.

This ZorinOS is based upon Ubuntu 11.04 and frankly I didn't bother to memorize all it's specs; Gnome 2 perhaps - or am I way off here ?? (I do not claim to know everything, that's why I'm asking questions...)

Wine. I am SUCH a dummy. Thanks Jefro !

ZorinOS has Wine all ready for use and I used it with other things, but did not think of it for such a simple I say to myself: Duh.
That's next for me to try.

A further query before I add anything here:
In looking for work-alike apps is it preferable to make a separate posting here for each query; add things into one very long & messy thread; or maybe just make one thread looking for such things and add to it as they occur to me olde braine to ask them ?

Thanks !!!
Old 06-06-2012, 08:46 PM   #5
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Probably best to ask separately, unless you can come up with a list in post.
That said, have you looked our page for that very qn: ?
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:39 AM   #6
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I tried deskmenu.exe in Wine and it ran...but could not open anything it listed.
In the meantime I tried a little thing easily added to the panel which makes a drawer of sorts - which is close, except that each thing must be added manually whereas the ancient deskmenu just showed anything it finds on the desktop.


Thank you - I had not seen that yet and it is sure to be helpful !!!

Perhaps someone knows of something I can add to the panel which scans & includes all the desktop icons/contents rather than having to manually add each one ?

Thanks !
Old 06-15-2012, 02:05 PM   #7
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Dear Smallhagrid,

You sound very familiar to me -- just like looking at a mirror (justification for the "Dear" address) -- except that I DO NOT
NEED to bring some interim family element who is already 80 years old to justify the «shamefull» use of ZORIN OS or let me by the way publicize: PINGUY which is a Gnome distro very akin and as 'sympathico' as ZORIN.

That's a fact Smalhagrid: Linux-Ubuntu-Debian branch is, in my non humble opinion, pointing the way future, defeating the
high browse snobbery of Linux Gurus and high Lords of the Esoteric Knowledge as priviledge of the selected 'iluminated' few.
The same wizards that patronize so many amatteur-prone 'applications' that do not work partialy or at all -- mantaining Linux in the sad domain of a wishfull-thinkinking alternative OS.

Brace yourself Smallhagrid if you intend to continue within that line of expression: you're offending the sacred versicles of
Linux higher rank Experts and you'll be punnished (or even banned, if you insist...). Soon youĺl be scolded, called attention to, re-directed to some Good Rules of participation and advised to change your attitudes or else...
BEWARE! But be also aware of the fact that You, not them, are the future of Linux if it will prevail.

Last edited by henriQ; 06-15-2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: word corrections
Old 06-15-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Hello henriQ and thanks for your interesting response.

2 separated trains of thought in return:

Thing the 1st=>
I was 'doing PCs' since before there WERE any - meaning in the times of the ancient processors and so forth, and when DOS came along I was juuuust fine with it.

Ween-doze however...NOT FINE. Not even close to OK.
A stupid idea for stupifying people - badly done - crawling with unslain bugs - and as time passed it was just one bad paint-job after another bad paint-job applied to try and hide and maybe to smother those bugs without EVER truly fixing them.

I coped with it despite the extreme distaste it has always inspired - even managed to get succeeding versions to behave well enough so that data-loss was not a regular thing. (And I've waited=> and HOW I have waited !!!)

Thing the 2nd=>
I like desktop PCs, and I like having a desktop too - and having things neat & what comes next, frankly, offends me once again despite it's inevitability.
And that is=> touchscreen-centered-EVERYTHING.
What this means to me is two-fold; desktops are more or less done with already as THE FORCE in the personal computing platform (clamshell form-factored NBs have been dead almost 2 years already in case that escaped notice), and since people are messy & sloppy by nature the touchscreen-centered world will simply enhance that messiness.

And what has all that blather to do with wonderful, reliable, intelligently made Linux ?

It's simple really:
Time to shine more brightly than ever before because mikro$oft knows quite well that ween-doze is a lost cause and multitudes of their former profit sources are trying to make do with ONLY non-weendoze hand-held devices already.

This cannot last however simply because the desktop has it's place and cannot be replaced fully & completely with those lower-powered devices.

SO=> as the ween-doze desktop dominance fades for very good reasons and folks adopt more and more things powered with an 'alternative OS', it is a getting-ready step for what CAN come after...Desktop Linux !!!

For that to occur, I'm sorry to say that guys like me will have to keep asking for familiar-looking and -working desktop things and tricks so that when folks finally wake up a teensy little bit from their tablet-ized trances, they can easily get a nice, familiar desktop MINUS the ugly, horrible, resented, hated Redmond Domination.

So scowl away at me all you wish, you scowlers.
Be as high- and heavy-handed as you wish also...

Now that I and others who are JUST like me are upon this path (with decades held desires for a BETTER (but familiar) desktop to share with those less inclined to work at it a bit) - we are NOT just going to shut up and go away.

We've been held back and tortured TOO LONG.
Time for better choices.

Like ex-smokers who powerfully disdain just the very smell of smoke; we who have been FORCED to accept krapware DO exist in HUGE numbers and now WE WILL BE HEARD !!!

I sincerely think that the devoted, long-time Linux Hothead Types mentioned in henriQ's post are intelligent enough to see and embrace this opportunity for what it is (but only time will tell).

Win-Borg's power to assimilate is already OVER=> so say I and many others.
Now it is OUR TURN to join, be joined, or assimilate what we need.
Why fight against the inevitable ???!!!
Old 06-16-2012, 07:56 AM   #9
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Now, everybody hear this! Hear! Hear!

hello smallhagrid,

As i said before: 2 very equivalent user-profiles we have.
I started as well with DOS untill along came Ween-Dose 3.11 and the 5.25 inches drives as external data collect devices. In due time, while consistently skeptic journey, passed through the obnoxious 95, then 98, and 98SE, made a lateral raid to Millenium and Red Hat (none of them convincent enough to grab me for long, then Win 2000 Profissional (and let me praise it as the best M$ OS ever -- which precisely because its free structure, allowing several types of managements, clean from DRM policies (as vomitted by the so-called 'Dry-Salmon Association', which you might recall...and this quest basicaly brough to surface XP the "Gendarme",scrutinizer and denouncing back to HQ the users "mal-use" acttivities, programmes and non-accepted files present in the said users rigs.
The dominance game increased and sophisticated approaches trhrough the good services of multiple «updates», installing specific surveillances, and spying hidden applications some of them provided with encrypted mechanisms to stop or even delete some type of files from the user system. XP was nevertheless vulnerable to circumventing manouevers and soon appeared the compacted versions, like 'Windows eXperience' and others which accelerated the dominnance policies of M$, launching WeenDose Vista - a huge flop, as everybody knows -- and ultimately leading to WeenDose 7 and even eight -- which i refrained from essay, mostly because i had reach my edge of tolerance and begun tolling with Linux (first with SUSE which i found too difficult and demanding to my knowlege and lack of patience. And after a brief flirt with Slackware, i changed to Debian the classic, stable and wealthy OS -- until i realized that after the downfall of some distros -- pushed by the same old Gang* Leader -- on account of the facilities they were providing to users (mainly in the multimedia area -- codecs, video handling applicationms and DVD building programmes mostly.
The *same Gang that undercovering their greed with Copyrights garanties, still manage to manipulate the international law as per Public Domain Art, ensuring that some items which still hold substantial commercial allurance are kept under restrict Copyright «protection», avoiding the general public to enjoy the freedom of its Public Domain status and ensuring commercial exploitations. One stout example?? Here is it: the movie THE JAZZ SINGER, produced in 1922 and marketed in 1927 should be available to download by everyone, since it is Public Domain for decades, but you try to get it and see.
Smallhagrid this long piece of prose threatens me to be banned as personna non-grata here... So if you're interesred enough we wouldd take the theme to another section later on. And IF, allowed, of course...

Last edited by henriQ; 06-16-2012 at 07:58 AM.
Old 06-16-2012, 08:11 AM   #10
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I don't know what kind of menu you have in zorrin, but have you tried adding what you want/need to the favorites tab. Then all you have to do is click once on the menu icon and you get everything you want right there. In fact, considering that bringing up the app list will work only when you right click on the desktop, it means that you have to first close whatever application you are currently using first before you do this, hence two clicks. Having them in the favorites list means only one.
Old 06-17-2012, 05:26 AM   #11
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WHAT?!? -- Beg your pardon, but...

...I accept you mean well INKIT, but i'll be damned if i make the faintest idea about what you're talking about. Sorry...
Old 06-17-2012, 05:09 PM   #12
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There's a program called dmenu (was originally part of DWM) that is the text driven equivelent to what you're looking for.

You set it up as a keybinding, and when invoked, will bring up a menu at the top of your screen that lists all programs in your $PATH. You can then start typing the name of the program you want, and it will parse the menu down to programs that match your text input.

Never installed it on Gnome or anything though, I've always used it in dwm, i3, and awesome window managers.

Its not as graphical as the menu you speak of in your OP, but it serves the same purpose.

Don't know if that helps at all.
Old 06-19-2012, 05:29 AM   #13
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Good Grief !...

...For Pete's sake, NICK2DAY: could you please elaborate on what are you "talking" about?
What is 'dmenu'?? or DWM? When, how did i ask for it or something akin?
Holly ch@iT i cann't even begin to understand your post.
What's happening? -- Saint Jeremy help us here!
Old 06-19-2012, 07:05 AM   #14
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Oh sorry henriQ.

It was in response to this here:

An ancient M$ powertoy called 'deskmenu' did exactly that - a single click brought up a menu of all the icons on the desktop very quickly and conveniently.
It looks like this when opened with a single click=>

dmenu is a text/keyboard driven menu that accompishes something similar to what you're looking for with that deskmenu. Its not all pretty and icon-ey and everything, but it does allow you to view programs that are installed on your PC.

You can either navigate using arrows (which is kinda slow and clunky), or you can start typing the name of the program. For instance, if I wanted to bring up dmenu, and I have it mapped to ctrl + super + d, this would bring a text menu up.

Then say to launch firefox, I would type 'fire' and it would automatically show programs that started with 'fire'.

It may not suit your needs, but its a quick way to launch programs. Here's a short video that shows how it works:

Sorry for the confusion :-\
Old 06-19-2012, 08:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by smallhagrid View Post
An ancient M$ powertoy called 'deskmenu' did exactly that - a single click brought up a menu of all the icons on the desktop very quickly and conveniently.
It looks like this when opened with a single click=>
Another very good solution you might want to try is Openbox window manager which gives you a highly customizable menu just with a simple right click of the mouse. See this for some reference.
Hope this would help.

Last edited by VDP76; 06-19-2012 at 08:20 AM.


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