14 May 2011

Since I started using GNOME 3 a while back, one feature that I’ve wanted to see is an option to have certain programs start up when I login. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to look into this until now, and a quick look in the release notes pointed me in the right direction. There are two ways of doing this; neither of which I find very obvious, and both do essentially the same thing. The easiest way is by using gnome-session-properties. Unfortunately, this is something that the shell in GNOME 3 doesn’t seem to know much about. Entering it in the search bar in the shell doesn’t provide anything useful, apart from a wikipedia or google search possibility. To open the dialog, we must either open a terminal and enter gnome-session-properties, or hit the trusty Alt+F2 and enter it there. At this point, I would like to point out that the Alt+F2 command launcher now has tab auto-completion (I’m not sure if that was a feature before or not, but I’ve only noticed it now)!

startup applications preferences

As you can see, this presents us with the familiar Startup Applications Preferences dialog, where we can add/remove applications to our hearts content! As you can see from the screenshot, the first application I added was RSIBreak. This is a handy little utility to help prevent Repetitive Strain Injury.

The alternative way to add something to startup on login is to manually create the.desktop files in ~/.config/autostart. Some examples can be found in /usr/share/applications.