Linux for Starters: Your Guide to Linux – Navigating the Desktop – Part 6

Last Updated on May 22, 2022


The GNOME desktop doesn’t provide an application menu you’ll be familiar with if you come from a Windows background. Opening software in Ubuntu is just as easy as under Windows, but just different.

Click the grid button at the bottom of the Dash.

Linux for Starters - Desktop Applications
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As you can see from (1), there’s a icon list of applications installed on the system. This isn’t actually every program you’ll have on your system. For example, there are many hundreds of command-line programs that aren’t shown here. Right click on an icon lets you adds the software to our favorites. All your favorite software appears direct in the Dash alongside existing ones like Firefox and Thunderbird.

On the right hand side, there’s vertical dots (2). On our system, there’s three dots which tells us we have three pages of applications. We can use the mouse scroll wheel to cycle through these pages. But if you’ve installed a ton of extra software, it’s quicker to enter a few characters of the program in the search box.

The developers of GNOME have made a lot of effort to make the desktop as easy to use as possible. Over time, some functionality has been removed to make the desktop easier to use and maintain. This approach doesn’t lose any flexibility, as inspiring developers have created GNOME extensions that add additional functionality. If the desktop is missing something you need, install an appropriate extension. In the case of an application menu we recommend ArcMenu. It’s listed at #3 in our recommended GNOME extensions.

In the next article in the series, we’ll look at installing software on Ubuntu.

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Breakdown the Desktop
Page 2 – Activities Overview
Page 3 – Dash

All articles in this series:

Linux For Starters: Your Guide to Linux
1What is Linux? Why use Linux? What do I need?
2Choose a Linux distribution meeting your specific needs and requirements.
3Make a bootable Ubuntu USB stick in Windows.
4We show you how to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard disk.
5Things to do after installing Ubuntu.
6Navigating your way around the Desktop.
7Updating the system, install new software.
8Open source replacements for proprietary Windows desktop software.
9Get started with the power and flexibility of the terminal.
10We cover the basics of files and permissions.
11Getting help from your system.
12Learn all about the file system.
13Manipulating files from the shell.
14Maintain your system with these simple tips.
15Managing users on your system.
16Explore different desktops to GNOME 3.
17Gaming on Linux.
18Protect your privacy with this guide.
19Access the Windows desktop from Linux using a remote desktop client.
20Set up a virtual machine running Ubuntu as the host and openSUSE as the guest.
21Wine lets you run Windows programs on Linux without emulation.
22Extend your GNOME desktop with extensions and themes.
XUseful Linux commands.
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John Duncan
John Duncan
2 years ago

My beef with Ubuntu is that there’s insufficient testing of each release.