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Ulauncher is a Lightweight App Launcher for Linux Desktops (Updated)

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.
ulauncher gif

Using Ulauncher to launch Firefox

Finding a Linux app launcher isn’t difficult. Along with music players and weather applets there are a plethora of keyboard-based application launchers.

ULauncher is among them.

It’s a small app launcher written in Python that loads quickly, uses fewer resources, and can run on pretty much every and any desktop environment you ask of it (works great in an OpenBox session with tint2).

Launcher Features

Ulauncher is no more (or less) efficient at what it does (launching apps) than other apps of a similar ilk, like Albert, SynapseKupferAlawalkZazu, or even the Unity Dash (to an extent).

The app lets you:

  • Search and launch installed applications
  • Browse folders and open files
  • Launch Google and Wikipedia searches

The default shortcut key to open the app is Ctrl + Space.

Ulauncher is very fast and super responsive, displaying search results instantly. This is true even when flitting through folders to find files. Thanks to fuzzy search​ you don’t even need to worry about spelling an app or folder name perfectly.

ulauncher on ubuntu

And to really speed things up the app is also able to remember your previous choices to automatically select the most relevant option from its results.

Ulunacher comes with two built-in plugins: Google search and Wikipedia search. These are simple to use: type ‘g’ followed by your search term to search Google, and use ‘w’ to conduct a Wikipedia search.

Here’s a video of the app in action:

Install Ulauncher on Ubuntu

Ulauncher has its own PPA but it has not been updated for a couple of years. Thankfully the installer, which you’ll find linked below, works just fine on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (though you will also need to install the python-levenshtein package too).

Download Ulauncher 1.0.0

Edit March, 2017: Since publishing this article development of the app has been renewed.

You can download newer builds of ULauncher from Github.