Gnome Pie – A Circular Application Launcher (Menu) for Linux

You know about Dash to Dock and Dash to Panel. But do you know about Gnome Pie? It’s a completely different concept from the app launchers typical of Windows, Mac, and Linux systems because it implements an idea known as “Fitts’ law”.

Fitts’ Law is a model of human movement primarily used in human–computer interaction and ergonomics that predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target.

Gnome Pie is a circular application launcher made up of pies that each consist of multiple slices that can be opened using specific key strokes. Apart from using it to launch applications, it can be used to open files and simulate key presses.

Unlike other launchers that require the user to remember at least the first letter of the application they need, users will only need to remember the direction of the app icon and each pie has a single assigned role, for example, Applications, Bookmarks, Main Menu, Multimedia (play/pause/previous/next) e.t.c.

Here’s a video demo of how it works:

Features in Gnome-pie

  • Free and open-source with code available on GitHub.
  • Create new pies.
  • Edit and delete existing pies.
  • Access pies from a dock.
  • Adding slices via Drag’n’Drop.
  • Customizable keyboard and mouse shortcuts.
  • Clipboard slice group with copy & paste history.
  • Customizable using Gnome-pie themes.
  • Adjustable copy & paste history for copy & paste history.
  • Option to hide slice labels.
  • Import/export Gnome-pie themes.

The best way to install Gnome Pie is via it’s PPA so that you can always get updates whenever they’re available.

The following installation commands will work on Ubuntu and similar distros including Linux Mint:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:simonschneegans/testing
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-pie

You will only see an indicator in your panel after the installation is complete. Press Ctrl-Alt-A to open an example pie in order to fiddle with the pie menu a bit, CTRL + Alt + B for bookmarks, e.t.c.

All the supported keyboard shortcuts can be changed from the Gnome Pie Preferences which you can access by interacting with its indicator icon. Read up on detailed info on how to use Gnome Pie.

Have you used Gnome Pie before? How more efficient do you think it is compared to other app launcher types? The comments section is down below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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