Creating own desktop entries for Linux Gnome3
Assuming, you want to install the vanilla Firefox browser or Thunderbird. And you want to have nice starter symbols in Gnome3 as favorites. Here’s how to do it:
Let’s assume, you installed/extracted Thunderbird into the directory
~/programs/thunderbird. Then simply put
the following file under
[Desktop Entry] Name=Thunderbird Exec=/home/user/programs/thunderbird/thunderbird %u Icon=/home/user/programs/thunderbird/chrome/icons/default/default48.png Type=Application
You’ll need to replace
/home/user/ with your real directory path.
Gnome3 monitors the directory and should pickup the new desktop entry automatically. You should be able to see it now in the application menu. If it doesn’t appear, you might need to restart Gnome.
Now, on to the Firefox entry. There I had the problem, that Debian ships an own version of Firefox, now the
Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release). If I create a simple desktop entry like above, Gnome will pick
the icon from Firefox ESR and also groups the windows as if Firefox ESR had been started. But there is
also a solution to this issue:
How to tell GNOME to separate firefox from firefox-alpha?. We want to separate firefox from firefox-esr. The key to the
solution is, to provide a different “window class name” for firefox, which can be done via the
parameter. The complete desktop entry file for firefox (stored as
looks like this:
[Desktop Entry] Name=Firefox Exec=/home/andreas/programs/firefox/firefox --class=VanillaFirefox %u Icon=/home/andreas/programs/firefox/browser/icons/mozicon128.png Type=Application Categories=Network;WebBrowser; MimeType=text/html;text/xml;application/xhtml+xml;application/xml;application/vnd.mozilla.xul+xml;application/rss+xml;application/rdf+xml;image/gif;image/jpeg;image/png;x-scheme-handler/http;x-scheme-handler/https; StartupWMClass=Firefox StartupNotify=true
I took here some more entries from the Debian provided file
By the way: Both Firefox and Thunderbird provide the option, to select them as the default applications. They
do this by writing a .desktop file to
~/.local/share/applications. They are called e.g.
However, they have set the key “NoDisplay=true” so these desktop files won’t appear in the menu. The files are
merely used for associating the mime types to make them the default applications. See also the
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