Silly question, but hopefully some easy rep for someone. I am new to the linux/open source community, and I find it very feature rich, but often confusing.

I am trying to configure a speedy environment for research, and want to know how to initiate a program from the terminal and, if possible, to predetermine which area of the desktop it occupies from the start.

Also, I tend to use secondary monitors for extra screen real estate, if you can, please answer with respect to that.


Launching a program from the terminal is as easy as running the executable. For example:

$ firefox &

The '&' above is optional, and it puts the process in the background, which lets you immediately run another program in the same terminal.

You can only pre-determine the screen location of the program's window if the program accepts an argument to do so. Most X programs will accept a -geometry option which can be used to set the X-location, Y-location, width, and height of the window, but there is no requirement that graphical programs accept any such parameter.

  • 1
    You can also use external programs to place windows in specific locations. – terdon Apr 10 '15 at 17:05
  • so to implement the -geometry option what must i do? i used konsole to open another instance of itself successfully btw, and for that you get the answer! :] @John – Wolfgang Steele Apr 10 '15 at 17:07
  • which programs are these for placing windows? @terdon – Wolfgang Steele Apr 10 '15 at 17:14
  • 1
    @Wolfgang - you implement the -geometery command-line argument if you're the developer of the program. As a user, you either have it available and use it or you don't. To find out if it's available, look at the program's manual page (e.g. man konsole). – John Apr 10 '15 at 17:19
  • 1
    @WolfgangSteele wmctrl is one and (probably) xdotool another. For example, with wmctrl, you can run firefox && wmctrl -r firefox -e 0,1,1,1100,1100 to launch firefox and then place it at the top left of your screen with a 1100x1100 window. There may well be better tools but that deserves a separate question of its own. – terdon Apr 10 '15 at 18:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.