Monday, May 23, 2011

Synapse, an Alternative to Run Dialog and Dash

A great alternative to Gnome Panel's Run Dialog and Unity's Dash is Synapse. It can not only run commands, but also installed applications, which you would otherwise have to run through the menu of classic Gnome, Cairo Menu of AWN, or the Dash of Unity. And similar to the latter makes it use of the Zeitgeist engine to also give you quick access to any kind of recently accessed stuff.

Synapse is in the official repos of Natty Narwhal, as well as Zeitgeist, but I recommend installing/upgrading both of them through their respective PPAs, to get the most recent versions/features. For Zeitgeist that is the brand-new Activity Log Manager, see this guide on how to use it:

If you are running an earlier version of Ubuntu, you will have to use the PPA of Synapse anyway, because it was only added to the official repos with the release of Natty Narwhal.

These PPAs provide the necessary packages for all Ubuntu releases down to Lucid.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:synapse-core/ppa
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:zeitgeist/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install synapse
sudo apt-get install activity-log-manager

Synapse PPA:
Zeitgeist PPA:

To get more matches for your queries in Synapse, you can install some additional data providers. You may spare the providers for apps you don't use.

sudo apt-get install zeitgeist-datasource-bzr zeitgeist-datasource-emacs zeitgeist-datasource-eog zeitgeist-datasource-geany zeitgeist-datasource-gedit zeitgeist-datasource-rhythmbox zeitgeist-datasource-totem zeitgeist-datasource-vim

You need to restart the Zeitgeist daemon to make the updates affect it:

zeitgeist-daemon --replace

After the installation, you will find Synapse in "Applications > Accessories" if you are using classic Gnome or Cairo Menu of AWN, or in the Dash of Unity. For obvious reasons, set in its preferences that it gets run at login.

When it's already running, you can summon it by just pressing Ctrl+Space. You can set another key combination in its preferences if you like.

If you are using AWN, you can also run/summon it through the "Launch..." menu item in Cairo Menu.

Related Posts:

Accessibility , Launcher , Zeitgeist