Main Menu Alternatives


While being very complete with content, the default main menus for LXDE and GNOME Flashback desktop environments on Trisquel 7.0 can be lacking in functionality for power-users.

GNOME Flashback

The list of abandoned projects is greater than those that provide an alternative to the default main menu. Some are listed at the bottom.

Install Cairo Dock

Cairo Dock provides a lot more functionality than required, but it has a searchable menu. In the configuration for cairo-dock you can bind a key to pop open the menu so you do not have to click it.

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock

Note: It may not look very good without a compositor or a composing window manager.


Unfortunately, there are no native menus to LXDE that include search functionality. Nonetheless, you can easily install xfce4-panel and xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin without needing too many dependencies. The Xfce4 panel is powerful enough to replace the LXDE panel's functionality, but it is very modular (for extended functionality you will have to search the repository). You can also both xfce4-panel and lxdepanel running at the same time.

Install Xfce4 Panel and Whisker Menu

sudo apt-get install xfce4-panel xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin


Now it is time to configure the xfce4-panel. If you want to put it in the bottom do not move it just yet. Run:
xfce4-panel &
Add new items to the bar by right clicking it. The menu itself can be configured by right clicking it, once you add it to the panel. The xfce4-panel can be resized to occupy as much as 16x16 pixels and if you auto-hide it you will barely even notice it. This is great if all you want is to use the menu.

To make the changes permanent, you will have to alter the lxsession configuration file for your user. This can be found at ~/.config/lxsession/Trisquel-mini/autostart . Make a backup and edit it with your favorite text editor. Replace:

@lxpanel (...)

You can make a keybind for this menu. For that go into LXDE's keyboard configuration menu and add a new custom keybind for "xfce4-popup-whiskermenu". This will allow you to open and close the menu without clicking it.

Reboot. When you login with your user you should have the xfce4-panel running.

"Dependency Hell"

There are main menu alternatives (most of them developed for Ubuntu), which generally have a substantial amount of dependencies. Of all of these probably the most noteworthy is "mintmenu", because of the general interest people take in this.
  • mintmenu (spans for a few dozens of dependencies)
  • cardapio
  • gnomenu
  • gnome-main-menu (active development for Ubuntu)


01/29/2015 - 10:07