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SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop Deployment Guide
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9.2 Customizing Menus

The way in which the GNOME Desktop implements menus enables you to do the following:

  • Customize the menu hierarchy easily. The menu hierarchy is not based on the file system hierarchy. You can edit a small number of files to customize the menu hierarchy. You do not need to modify your applications or move files.

  • Install applications easily. You do not need to provide information about the menu hierarchy to applications when you install the applications.

  • Configure menus so that users cannot modify them.

Menus in the GNOME Desktop use the following components:

9.2.1 Desktop Entry Files

A desktop entry file is a data file that provides information about an item in a menu. This file specifies the details for the item such as a name, a command to run, or an icon. It also contains keywords which determine the location of the item in the menu hierarchy. Desktop entry files have a .desktop file extension.

The following is a sample desktop entry file:

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Calculator
Comment=Perform calculations
Exec=gcalctool
Icon=gcalctool.png
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=GNOME;Application;Utility;
X-GNOME-DocPath=gcalctool/gcalctool.xml

The following table describes the most important keys in desktop entry files.

Table 9-7 Desktop Entry File Keys

Desktop Entry Key

Description

Encoding

Specifies the encoding of the desktop entry file.

Name

Specifies the name of the item. This name is displayed on the item in the menu.

Comment

Specifies a short description of the item. The comment is displayed as a tooltip when you point to the item in the menu.

Exec

Specifies a command to execute when you select the item from the menu.

Icon

Specifies the filename of an icon that represents the item. Does not specify the file extension or the path to the filename.

Terminal

Specifies whether the command in the Exec key runs in a terminal window. If the value is True, the command runs in a terminal window.

If the command does not create a window in which to run, the value of this key must be True.

Type

Specifies the type of item. This value is one of the following:

  • Application: Use this option for an item that starts an application.

  • Link: Use this option for an item that links to a file, folder, or FTP site.

Categories

Specifies the keywords that describe the item. The keywords are separated with semicolons (;). To view a list of the standard category keywords, see the desktop menu specification at freedesktop.org

The vfolder information files map the keywords to menus.

X-GNOME-DocPath

Specifies the help file to display when you select Help on application-name from the menu item pop-up menu.

For more information on the keys in desktop entry files, see the desktop entry specification at freedesktop.org.

NOTE:Panel launchers and desktop objects also use desktop entry files. These desktop entry files provide the same information as for items in a menu. For example, the desktop entry files provide the command to run when a user selects the launcher or object.

9.2.2 Directory Entry Files

A directory entry file is a data file that provides information about a menu. The directory entry file specifies the details for the menu, such as a name, a tooltip, and an icon. Directory entry files have a .directory file extension.

The following is a sample directory entry file:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Accessories
Comment=Accessories menu
Icon=gnome-util.png
Type=Directory

The following table describes the most important keys in directory entry files.

Table 9-8 Directory Entry File Keys

Directory Entry Key

Description

Name

Specifies the name of the menu, which is displayed on the menu.

Comment

Specifies a short description of the menu. The comment is displayed as a tooltip when you point to the menu.

Icon

Specifies the filename of an icon that represents the menu. Does not specify the file extension or the path to the filename.

Type

Specifies the type of menu. The value of this key is always Directory.

9.2.3 Editing Menus

SUSE Link Enterprise Desktop uses the freedesktop.org menu specification. This specification uses the following files and directories:

Table 9-9 Menu File Locations

File

Description

/etc/xdg/menus/applications.menu

This file contains the XML definition for the default application menu layout. If a user has their own applications.menu, it replaces the system wide menu.

/etc/xdg/menus/applications-merged

This directory contains the default merge directories included in the <DefaultMergeDirs> element. You can add new <Menu> files in this location.

/etc/xdg/menus/preferences.menu

This file contains the XML definition for the GNOME Control Center.

For more detailed information on adding and editing menu items, see the Desktop Menu Specification Web site.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop Deployment Guide
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