Home Package management How To Integrate AppImages To Application Menu Using AppImageLauncher In Linux

How To Integrate AppImages To Application Menu Using AppImageLauncher In Linux

By sk
Published: Updated: 23.7K views

This brief guide explains what AppImageLauncher is, why we need it, how to install AppImageLauncher in Linux and finally how to integrate AppImages to application menu using AppImageLauncher utility in Linux.

Introduction

Nowadays, many developers are moving away from platform-specific package formats to platform-agnostic package formats, such as AppImages, FlatPaks and Snaps. This is because there are many different Linux distributions, and developing applications for each one can be tedious.

AppImage is a popular universal package format. AppImages are portable and self-contained software packages that can run on any Linux system without installation. This makes them a convenient way to install and run software on Linux, especially if you don't have root access.

Many popular applications have been released in AppImage format. AppImages are bundled with all necessary dependencies and distributed as a single file. There is no need to install them. Simply make an AppImage file executable and run it from command line.

A minor issue with AppImages is they can be launched only from command line. For instance, to launch balenaEtcher, you would navigate to the location where the balenaEtcher AppImage file is stored and then run the following command:

$ ./balenaEtcher-1.5.120-x64.AppImage

This is how we launch all AppImages at the moment. However, there is now a better way! We can now run and integrate AppImages to the Application menus and launchers in our Linux system using an application called AppImageLauncher.

What is AppImageLauncher?

AppImageLauncher is a helper program that makes it easier to organize and update AppImages on Linux. It allows you to integrate AppImages into application menus and launchers with a single click. It also provides helpers to manage, update, and remove them from there.

AppImageLauncher will create the desktop entry and the related icons in the relevant locations for your AppImages. You don't even have to make the AppImages executable. Just double-click them to open them and add them to the menus.

When you launch an AppImage before it is integrated into the menu, AppImageLauncher will prompt you to add the AppImage to the application menus and move it to a predefined location. By default, AppImageLauncher moves AppImages to the $HOME/Applications directory. You can change this location as you wish.

After integrating the AppImage into the menus and launchers, AppImageLauncher will create two new entries, "Update" and "Remove," in the context menu of the AppImage's entry. As the names suggest, the "Update" entry allows you to update the AppImage, and the "Remove" entry allows you to remove the AppImage file.

AppImageLauncher also ships with a command-line tool called ail-cli, which provides basic operations in the terminal for automation in scripts, etc. As of the writing of this guide, it only allows us to integrate and remove AppImages, but more features are planned for upcoming versions.

Install AppImageLauncher in Linux

AppImageLauncher is packaged for Arch-based, DEB-based and RPM-based systems.

Install AppImageLauncher in Arch Linux, EndeavourOS and Manjaro Linux:

AppImageLauncher is available in AUR, so you can install it using any AUR helper programs such as Paru or Yay.

$ paru -S appimagelauncher-git

Or,

$ yay -S appimagelauncher-git

Install AppImageLauncher in Ubuntu:

There is a PPA available for Ubuntu and its derivatives. To add the PPA and install AppImageLauncher on Ubuntu, run the following commands one by one:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:appimagelauncher-team/stable
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install appimagelauncher

Install AppImageLauncher in Debian:

If you don't want to use PPA, you can download the .deb packages from the AppImageLauncher releases page and install it like below:

$ sudo dpkg -i appimagelauncher_2.2.0-travis995.0f91801.xenial_amd64.deb
$ sudo apt install -f

Install AppImageLauncher in RPM-based Systems:

To install AppImage on RPM-based systems such as Fedora, just download .rpm packages and install it like below:

$ sudo rpm -ivh Downloads/appimagelauncher-2.2.0-travis995.0f91801.x86_64.rpm 

Sample output:

 Verifying…                          ################################# [100%]
 Preparing…                          ################################# [100%]
 Updating / installing…
    1:appimagelauncher-2.2.0-travis995~################################# [100%]
 Installing AppImageLauncher as interpreter for AppImages
 insmod /lib/modules/5.11.18-300.fc34.x86_64/kernel/fs/binfmt_misc.ko.xz 
 systemctl restart systemd-binfmt 

Install AppImageLauncher Lite Edition

Starting with version 1.4.0, AppImageLauncher has a Lite edition. It provides all functionalities of regular AppImageLauncher edition without having root or sudo access to your system.

The Lite edition itself is available in AppImage format. You can install it as the way you normally run AppImages like below:

$ ./appimagelauncher-lite-2.2.0-travis995-0f91801-x86_64.AppImage install

Once installed, AppImageLauncher Lite will integrate itself into your home directory.

Integrate AppImages to Application menu using AppImageLauncher in Linux

Launch the AppImage by double-clicking it or from the command line, as shown below. For the purpose of this guide, I will be using balenaEtcher AppImage.

$ ./balenaEtcher-1.5.120-x64.AppImage

If the AppImageLauncher is being launched for the first time, you will be prompted to configure the central target location to add the AppImages. The default location is $HOME/Applications. You can change it to another location if you wish. After choosing the central location for the new AppImages, click OK to proceed.

Choose the target central directory for saving AppImages
Choose the target central directory for saving AppImages

Next you will be asked whether you want to move the AppImage to Central location and integrate it to the application menu (if it is not already added).

To move your AppImage to the central location and include it in your application launcher, click the "Integrate and run" button.

Integrate AppImages to Application menu using AppImageLauncher
Integrate AppImages to Application menu using AppImageLauncher

If you don't want to add the AppImage to application menu, simply click "Run once".

If you have chosen the "Integrate and run" option, AppImageLauncher will move the AppImage file to the predefined directory (i.e., $HOME/Applications), create a desktop entry and the relevant icon in the appropriate locations, and add the AppImage to the application menu or launcher.

From now on, you can directly launch the AppImage from the application menu or launcher, just like you would launch any other application installed by the default package manager.

Launch application from Application menu in Gnome desktop
Launch application from Application menu in Gnome desktop

If you right click on the AppImage, you will see the Update and Remove entries will appear in the context menu. You can use them to update the AppImage or remove it from the system.

Change Central Location

As mentioned earlier, AppImageLauncher moves all AppImages to a central target location. By default, this location is $HOME/Applications. To change this location, open the AppImageLauncher settings window from the menu or launcher.

Open AppImageLauncher settings
Open AppImageLauncher settings

Change the location where you want to save your AppImages in the AppImageLauncher tab.

Change location to save your AppImages
Change location to save your AppImages

The new AppImages will now be stored in the chosen location.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is AppImageLauncher?

A: AppImageLauncher is a helper application for Linux that makes it easier to manage AppImages. It allows you to integrate AppImages into your system's application menus and launchers, and it also provides tools for updating and removing AppImages.

Q: What are the benefits of using AppImageLauncher?

A: There are several benefits to using AppImageLauncher:

- It makes it easier to find and launch AppImages.
- It keeps your AppImages organized and up-to-date.
- It provides a consistent user experience for launching AppImages, regardless of which desktop environment you are using.

Q: How do I use AppImageLauncher to integrate an AppImage into my system?

A: To integrate an AppImage into your system using AppImageLauncher, simply double-click on the AppImage file. AppImageLauncher will prompt you to choose whether to integrate the AppImage or simply run it once. If you choose to integrate the AppImage, AppImageLauncher will move it to a central location and create a desktop entry and icon for it.

Q: How do I update an AppImage using AppImageLauncher?

A: To update an AppImage using AppImageLauncher, right-click on the AppImage's desktop entry and select "Update AppImage". AppImageLauncher will check for updates to the AppImage and install them if necessary.

Q: How do I remove an AppImage using AppImageLauncher?

A: To remove an AppImage using AppImageLauncher, right-click on the AppImage's desktop entry and select "Remove AppImage". AppImageLauncher will remove the AppImage from your system, including its desktop entry and icon.

Q: Does AppImageLauncher work with all desktop environments?

A: Yes, AppImageLauncher works with all major desktop environments on Linux, including GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Cinnamon.

Q: Do I need root access to use AppImageLauncher?

A: No, there's a "Lite" version of AppImageLauncher designed to work without root access. It integrates itself into the user's home directory.

Q: Is AppImageLauncher free?

A: Yes, AppImageLauncher is open-source software, and it is freely available for use.

Similar Read: How To Easily Manage AppImages With Gear Lever In Linux

Conclusion

In this guide, we discussed what AppImageLauncher is, how to install it, and how to use it to add AppImages to the application menus or launchers on Linux.

If you frequently use AppImages, AppImageLauncher is a useful tool to help you organize and manage them efficiently on your Linux system.

Resource:

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5 comments

2linuxdz May 17, 2021 - 8:58 pm

Thanks

Reply
Motlke May 21, 2021 - 12:11 am

Nice article. However, the title should read “integrate appimages in Gnome app launcher” as it is the only DE I’ve come across that doesn’t have a tool for doing that ; XFCE, KDE, Mate, Cinnamon, Trinity and probably others have such a tool, and if they don’t, you can install menulibre tool or simply create an appimage.desktop file, place in ~/.local/share/applications, by the way, this method doesn’t even work in Gnome either. For example, in KDE you just have to right-click on menu and select “edit application launcher”, and from there add the appimage; add an icon, set the category, description, adjust the “exec” line, etc. The tool will create the corresponding .desktop file, click on save and voila! The app now appears in the menu in the corresponding category. For this among other reasons is why I don’t like gnome,I use around 20+ appimages. The one thing I find Gnome does right is its Wayland support, it stand out above the rest there, but overall, a very frustrating DE, at least in my experience. I use KDE, by the way. 🙂

Reply
Michael December 24, 2021 - 1:31 am

The commands do not work on Debian 11. They return:
Err:9 http://ppa.launchpad.net/appimagelauncher-team/stable/ubuntu jammy Release
404 Not Found [IP: 91.189.95.85 80]
E: The repository ‘http://ppa.launchpad.net/appimagelauncher-team/stable/ubuntu jammy Release’ does not have a Release file.
N: Updating from such a repository can’t be done securely, and is therefore disabled by default.
N: See apt-secure(8) manpage for repository creation and user configuration details.

Reply
sk December 24, 2021 - 4:32 pm

Ubuntu PPAs usually will not work under Debian. Download and use the AppImage file from the releases page. https://github.com/TheAssassin/AppImageLauncher/releases

Reply
MarkDuyba October 13, 2023 - 2:33 am

A Flatpak to manage AppImages? Think about that…

Reply

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