July 2, 2012

Two Alternative Program Launchers For Kubuntu

While standard Kubuntu installs come with the classic-styled Kickoff menu, there are plenty of alternatives to satisfy any need to go outside the traditional program launcher that has been around for years. With Ubuntu's Unity getting lots of press of late (and perhaps rightfully so), I thought it might be a good time to look at two different full-screen application launchers that are readily available in Kubuntu: The Rosa Project's "Simple Menu" and "Takeoff". Two very similar and yet very different KDE application launchers. 

To install either or both of these applications, head on over to samrog131's Launchpad Page and add his PPA to your software sources. Now you can install Takeoff by selecting the package 'plasma-widget-takeoff' and downloading it to your system.  Simply add Takeoff as you would any other widget, either to your desktop of to your panel of choice. 

For Rosa's Simple Launcher, the process is similar: Install the package 'rosa-launcher' from samrog131's PPA. With Rosa, however, there is one extra step. Download the zipped plasmoid widget file from here.

Installing the plasmoid widget:
Change to the Download directory, and install the plasmoid widget using the following command.

  • $ plasmapkg -i  rosastarter.zip
After the successful installation of the Rosa Launcher plasmoid, the Rosa Launcher is now ready to use from the add widget menu, just like Takeoff. Drag the widget to your desktop or taskbar and enjoy! 

It seems that the KDE UI teams use Kickoff as it's a happy medium between spartan (read: CLI) and bringing on the bling, which these  launchers obviously try to do. Do you have a preference? Or are you 'old school' and eschew flashy launchers?