I just figured out how to manually create a .desktop file which allows a program to be launched by issuing the command gtk-launch [program.desktop]. Problem is it only seems to work if my present working directory is the Desktop directory for my username. Thus when I enter the command gtk-launch program.desktop it runs.

The problem is when I try to enter gtk-launch /home/userName/Desktop/program.desktop. Instead I get a message from terminal saying: gtk-launch: no such application. I know the file is there and cat works just fine reading it.

Why does gtk-launch only seem to be working from inside Desktop? Can I get around this? I'm using Kali linux with GNOME from a persistent USB.


The manpage states the following:

gtk-launch takes at least one argument, the name of the application to launch. The name should match application desktop file name, as residing in /usr/share/application, with or without the '.desktop' suffix.

This indicates that the desktop file should be in the specified location, otherwise it can't used to launch an application. Source file gtk/gtk-launch.c shows that gtk-launch doesn't execute anything, but puts a message on D-Bus to to ask for the launch the required application.

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  • Ah yes. It does. Although it does beg the question--how does one launch a program via a .desktop file with the command line from OUTSIDE of the desktop? I haven't come across any solution which does not involve gtk-launch. – Shadow43375 Sep 19 '17 at 1:05
  • For that this post on AskUbuntu may set you on your way. – hspaans Sep 20 '17 at 6:31

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