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Need a Gnome-Do alternative? Try Kupfer

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty big fans of Gnome-Do around these parts. However, there’s a new little app that, in some ways, might just be drinking Do’s milkshake. Its Kupfer, and no, I have no idea how thats pronounced.

First Impressions

One of the first things that I thought when I ran Kupfer was, “Holy crap, full visual navigation of the application menu?!” Well, sort of. It runs all your apps, alphabetically, without categories. Still, kinda cool in case you don’t remember of the name of some new application you installed. When you first open Kupfer, using ctrl space, you can immediately press down to get a whole list of basically infinite programs, commands, and files, that load as you scroll, without even typing anything. That was kinda strange, kinda neat, but it was fast so I didn’t feel like I was losing any performance by loading all this stuff. Selecting Chromium and pressing right gave me a full list of bookmarks that I could navigate through, and all that without even typing. Once I did start typing, I got the standard behavior of finding apps and then launching them, and also with the near standard of full file keyboard navigation through all my folders (although it hides my hidden folders, kinda cool).

Then the OMG!

What if you want to load up like 6 pictures? Guess what? Type the name of the first one, press comma, and bam, its all lined up and you can start typing the second, comma, bam, then the third, then launch them all at the same time. Thats right, you can cue up a whole list. That means you can simultaneous launch 6 bookmarks, or 19 files, or a whole load of pictures, or whatever. I’m sure the possibilities are nutty and endless. Mis-cued items can be removed with a simple delete key, and keep on searching. Free text mode (ctrl+.) seemed a little bit more thought out then Do, giving standard options to look up or copy, but also a ‘show text’ option, which looks like this:

Useful for quick reminder notes and such. But where it gets really nutty, is when you push crtl+enter, to ‘compose command’ and then set the text to run after a delay, or on a trigger, such as a key combo. This is very useful as a place to store quick notes and reminders, as well as play pranks… which is less than practical, but no less fun.

Theres also support for selecting files or apps and putting them in a ‘Favorites Shelf,’ although there doesn’t seem to be the full behavior learning that Do has. Other little features include an inbuilt calculator, rmedia player controls, window listing of open windows, and an attempt at workspace management that I couldn’t quite get to work.

What I Like and What I Don’t

I love the comma trick, allowing for multiple different actions of any complexity to take place. Kupfer has a pretty similar plugin set as Do, which all work well. The only real drawback at this point is its looks, which are anything but nice looking. Not only does it spawn in its own window, it has some odd color choices and just feels rather crowded to use. In addition, it behaves odd concerning mouse clicks, as it doesn’t close when I click outside of this. I think this is intentional for some features in it, but I found it annoying, because I wasn’t trying to do any of those actions. Kupfer runs decently on resources, although that could always be smaller, as it is heavier than gnome-do. I like it. I’m going to use it for a few days and see if I like it enough to not use Do, so we’ll see what I think in a few days.

Installation: Installation is a snap, and requires no ridiculous dependencies (its not KDE specific) from the Kupfer PPA:

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kupfer-team/ppa
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install kupfer
  • enjoy!
If you’re like me and use Gnome-Do on ctrl-space, make sure you close it before running Kupfer, as they get in each others way. If you take a look at the Kupfer Tip page, you can get an idea of how to use all the keyboard shortcuts and what not.

Tell us what you think of Kupfer in the comments!

Super Thanks, Quentin!