Graphical app launcher for X with little dependencies

Welcome. This is xlunch, the coolest graphical app launcher for Xorg/X11. It requires only pure Xlib and Imlib2. It allows you to run a program by clicking its icon; alternatively, you can also just type any arbitrary command using your keyboard. UTF8 input is fully supported. The Run commandline also works as a filter for the icons; all matching icons are visible as long as the title or command matches what you typed. It is possible to run xlunch in two different modes, see below for more.


Available Modes

  • One time launcher mode - this is default mode. There is no need to specify any commandline parameter for this mode. In this mode, xlunch opens as a fullscreen application, and offers screen with icons to select application to run, plus commandline which serves as a filter for the icons at the same time. Running any app or command ends the launcher. You can also cancel the launcher with Esc key, or click with right mouse button.
  • Desktop mode - this mode is activated with -d. In this mode, xlunch sends itself to lowest position, so all other windows are above it. Your window manager will not have any control over it, so xlunch does not receive any input or focus and it cannot be raised to front. This emulates desktop with icons. In Desktop mode, applications start using fork (as another process). Xlunch in this mode cannot be terminated (except by killing it with SIGTERM).

Keep in mind that if you use desktop mode while you are running some other desktop already, you may end up with launcher running under your other desktop, thus it may be inaccessible. The desktop mode is intended only for users without other desktop.


Commandline options:

-d        desktop mode, keep the launcher lowest (behind other windows)
-r        use root window's background. Fails if you lack one
-k        hide the prompt, and allow user to only run app by icon
-g [file] image to set as background (jpg/png)
-m [i]    margin (integer) specifies margin in pixels between icons
-p [i]    padding (integer) specifies padding inside icons in pixels
-b [i]    border (integer) specifies spacing border size in pixels
-i [i]    icon size (integer) in pixels
-c [file] path to config file which describes titles, icons and commands
-n        Disable fullscreen
-t [i]    Top position (integer) in pixels for the Run commandline
-x [text] string to display instead of 'Run: '
-f [name] font name including size after slash, ex: DejaVuSans/10
-s        disable single-instance check - allow multiple instances running.
          This may be useful if you want to run xlunch from another xlunch

Multi monitor setup

xlunch does not know how to detect your output monitors, it sees your monitors as a big single screen. If you run it, your window manager positions the window and makes it fullscreen, so it is up to your window manager to decide what monitor xlunch runs on. If you, however, start xlunch in Desktop mode (which bypasses your window manager) or if you do not have any WM at all, you can customize the size and position of the window manually by providing the top/left coordinates and width/height of your monitor screen, which effectively positions xlunch on the desired place/monitor. Use the following options:

   -a [i]     the x coordinates (integer) of the top left corner of launcher window
   -e [i]     the y coordinates (integer) of the top left corner of launcher window
   -y [i]     the width (integer) of launcher window on your screen
   -z [i]     the height (integer) of launcher window on your screen

For example, if you have two 800x600 monitors side by side, xlunch sees it as 1600x800. You can put it to first monitor by: -a 0 -e 0 -y 800 -z 600, or to second monitor by using -a 800 -e 0 -y 800 -z 600. Remember that all these settings are overridden by your window manager unless you start xlunch in Desktop mode.


make test
make install

Configuration file:

During compilation, sample config file is created for you. By default, the config file is installed into /etc/xlunch/icons.conf. You should always manually edit the file and adapt it to your needs, remove all the icons you don't like, etc. When xlunch starts, it firstly tries to load your config file from ~/.xlunch/icons.conf. If this fails, system-wide config is loaded from /etc/xlunch/icons.conf. Format of the configuration file is following:


Example usage:

# launcher mode:
xlunch -g wp.jpg -f "OpenSans-Regular.ttf/10" -c sample_config.cfg

# desktop mode:
xlunch -g wp.jpg -f "OpenSans-Regular.ttf/10" -c sample_config.cfg -d -k -s

Tips and tricks:

If you wish to run xlunch as app launcher, best practice is to set up a keyboard shortcut to start xlunch, such as Alt+F2. Or you can have a button in taskbar to run it.

For example, to start xlunch on Alt+F2 in i3wm, add this line to ~/.i3/config:

bindsym $mod+F2 exec /usr/bin/xlunch

To have xlunch running as a desktop with icons in i3wm, add this to ~/.i3/config:

exec /usr/bin/xlunch -d -k -s

xlunch is a perfect dmenu replacement, or rofi replacement.

© 2016, 2017, Tomas Matejicek - tomas [at] slax [dot] org

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