Ubuntu – How to ungroup applications separately in unity launcher


Unity is pretty cool. One of main feature I like with Unity is access running apps with handy Winkey. However one issue is annoying me with grouping of apps without tray feature.

I'm running more than 2 wine apps [wine-app1, wine-app2, wine-app3]. All of them appears in Unity application placer under one icon. Pressing Winkey (hold it for 1 sec) shows up the number and pressing corresponding number takes to a particular application. This is the difference with Alt+Tab. In ALT+TAB you walk through all application windows and select the one you wanted.

However, you walk through rest as well which you don't need. In my working environment, I use few editors and few windows apps due to company IT. Since all windows apps are grouped as one, everytime when i wanted to access wine-app1, wine-app2, the wine-app3 appears in walk through. [this is something similar to Win+w – Show all windows in a tiles fashion] I access wine-app1 & 2 frequently and very very occasionally use the wine-app3. But, it should be running in the background so that I can access when its needed.

What i'm looking for a way to pin the apps with a number. So that, I can access quickly. If I want to access wine-app1 and wine-app2, I had to pass wine-app3 and minimize wine-app3 everytime (since it appears using win key) I access other two apps using Winkey. Is there way, we can let unity to treat these apps separate one though these are wine based apps. It shouldn't even group. And I can give new icons and access in separate.

Best Answer

The way links show up and act in Unity (or most modern Linux-desktops for that matter) is directed by the .desktop files (under: /usr/share/applications/ or for a single user under ~/.local/share/applications/) For more on that see: http://standards.freedesktop.org/desktop-entry-spec/latest/. Another good guide on using the .desktop file to change the behaviour is http://themagicofscience.blogspot.com/2011/05/unity-adding-items-to-dock.html (inclidung further references)

As standard setting, wine creates e.g. for Picasa (in my case in a file "~/.local/share/applications/wine-Programme-Picasa 3-Picasa 3.desktop") the command

Exec=env WINEPREFIX="/home/[user]/.wine" wine C:\\\\windows\\\\command\\\\start.exe /Unix /home/aj/.wine/dosdevices/c:/users/Public/Startmen├╝/Program Files/Picasa\\ 3/Picasa\\ 3.lnk

that has as a result that all wine-apps appear under a single icon in the launcher. To change this behaviour you have to create a new .desktop file for picasa or change the existing one so that wine directly launches the application's executable.

so the command should be (don't ask me, why ~ or %USERNAME% don't work here)

Exec=wine "/home/[user]/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Google/Picasa3/Picasa3.exe"

To create the link and the accompaning icons I followed the rather complicated guide under the bug report "Unable to add Wine applications to Unity launcher"

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/704187/comments/3 whole report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/704187/

But with the aforementionedguides you might even create the .desktop file yourself or at least adapt it to your needs once you have the correct basic setting.

Added benefit for this is that you see the application icon in the launcher (not just wine) AND can pin the wine app to the launcher.

HTH Andreas