I don’t currently use the MATE desktop environment, but if I did I’m almost certain I’d use the Brisk Menu on it.
What’s Brisk you ask? Why Brisk is a fantastic looking alternative to the standard app menu applet that the MATE desktop ships with. It’s a single, category-based menu with built-in search. Think Windows start menu — but fast and efficient.
Want a similar app menu for GNOME Shell?
Try the Arc Menu extension
The keyboard-centric approach Brisk takes means you can open it at any time simply by pressing the Super key on your keyboard (other keyboard shortcuts are configurable). This not only instantly throws up the menu but also auto-focusing the search box, meaning you can start typing ahead to filter through matching results in a couple of key taps — which I love!
It also lets you drag app launchers out of the menu and drop them on your desktop to create shortcuts (something I miss in GNOME Shell). You can also choose to show, hide or customize the menu label text.
Brisk is co-developed by Ubuntu MATE and Solus (Solus has a MATE version, dontchaknow).
New in Brisk Menu 0.5
A new version of the Brisk menu, v0.5.0, was recently released.
This update introduces a new Favourites backend. This feature (as you can probably take a wild guess at) enables you to add your favourite or most used apps to a ‘Favourites’ category, for easy access. To add (or remove) an app from your favourites just right-click on a launcher and select the appropriate action.
But right-click context menu fun doesn’t stop there, though!
Brisk 0.5 also displays
.desktop actions for apps that use them. So, for example, you can right-click on the Firefox menu entry to quickly launch a ‘New Private Window’; right-click on Rhythmbox to control music playback; or right-click on the terminal emulator app to spawn a separate session; and so on.
This release also features many under the hood improvements to make the applet faster, cleaner and more modular.
Brisk Menu 0.5 can be downloaded from Github and installed manually on Ubuntu MATE. If that’s too much effort (and let’s face it, it is) you can install an older version from whatever package management tool you use on Ubuntu MATE
For the latest release you’re best off keeping an eye trained on the Brisk Menu PPA.