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On Arch Linux PCManFM shows applications when I go to menu://applications in it, without a problem. I do not think I even had to configure it to do this. On Gentoo and Void, however, this does not happen out-of-the-box. Is there a way to get PCManFM to show applications when opened to menu://applications on these other distributions? For example, do I need to install extra applications or compile some packages with different options on Gentoo?

Based on https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PCManFM#No_.22Applications.22 I decided to delete all files in ~/.cache/menus and restart PCManFM. It did not work. Granted that was the Arch Wiki and Arch seems to work perfectly with respect to PCManFM.

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There is no need to install everything to make application tab work. To make it work though you need the lxde package which provides menus. In Gentoo and archlinux it's lxmenu-data. Just install it and see if that works if it doesn't follow the arch wiki. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PCManFM#No_.22Applications.22

If you do not use arch or gentoo, then search your specific distro. Most of the popular distro packages are available here: https://pkgs.org/download/lxmenu-data .

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  • This works in Fedora Core 35.
    – lqlarry
    Feb 23, 2022 at 6:40
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I found a way to do so, although it isn't what I'd call ideal. It is to install LXDE in its entirety, although I wish I knew the exact package that sets up the application database in it.

This answer may be accepted, but if you have a better one I will happily accept yours instead.

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It's all about permissions. You'll see the applications in menu://applications just by launching PCManFM with root privileges. Change the permissions and ownership of all subfolders and files under your /home directory, including the hidden ones, and make sure they are owned by user, not root. This will solve other problems too you might be facing, such as PCManFM and other apps not remembering their own settings.

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