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Fehlstart is a small desktop application launcher for Linux and friends, inspired by Gnome-Do and Launchy. It's main design goals are responsiveness, a minimalistic user interface, and a reasonable memory footprint.


Fehlstart can run in two ways. You can add it to your desktop environment's autostart and keep is runing in the background. This mode is very responsive, but is uses some memory even when not used. Press the hotkey (default is super-space) to bring up the window.

Alternatively you can start it with the --one-way flag, for example through a task-bar launcher. This will cause the window to appear immediately and after one use Fehlstart will exit. This mode is slightly less responsive, especially on older disk drives, but uses no memory when not in use.

When you see the window, start typing the name of the program or action you run. You can use tab or the cursor keys to navigate the list. Hit enter to run the program or escape to abort. Fehlstart remembers your actions so the next time you should get there with fewer keyboard strokes.

Note that space has a special meaning. Everything you type after a space will be used as argument, see Actions for details.


By default Fehlstart only launches applications that show up in your start menu. To add custom actions, launch the Fehlstart Actions item to open the editor.

Custom actions can have parameters. Everything entered after the first space will be used as the command's arguments. This is a very simple mechanism, but it can be extended by launching a script to do the more sophisticated argument parsing.

# comment
[Action Name]
Exec=executable # can be absolute path or exe in $PATH
Icon=icon       # can be absolute path or default icon name 

Example: Lock screen with slock

[Lock Screen]

Example: Search the Web using Firefox. When you type goo "foo bar" the executed command would be firefox --search "foo bar".

[Search Google]
Exec=firefox --search
Icon= /home/maep/pics/Google_Favicon_2009.svg


Launch Fehlstart Settings to edit the config file.


Hotkey binding to show window in "background" mode. This can be a combination like <Alt>x but also something like Super_L for uing the left "Windows" key. See https://github.com/engla/keybinder for details.


Include executable name when matching. Useful for Gimp, where the full name is "GNU Image Manipulation Program" won't match, but the executable name is actually "gimp".


On underpowered machines icons can cause a lot of lag. Turning them off gives maximum responsiveness. Icon scaling looks better for larger window sizes but is lagy on older processors.


Change appearance of the window border. color can be a name like blue or a code like #0000ff.


Change appearance of window. round controls rounded corners. If your window manager has no compositing this setting has not effect. arch controls the highlight in the background.


Change appearance of text. size1 is for the application name, size2 for typed text. Note that for long names the size is reduced to fit the window. showinput controls if the typed text should be displayed.


Just clone the source and run make. You'll need gtk2 and libkeybinder2. If you want cutting edge, try the gtk3 branch.