Synapse: launcher application

Try Synapse, the all-powerful <Ctrl-Alt> alternative on Ubuntu. It’s fast, lightweight and relieves you from grabbing the mouse all the time. Synapse is a semantic launcher written in Vala. It can start applications as well as find and access relevant documents and files by making use of the Zeitgeist engine. Got rid of my start menu in Ubuntu – one less gnome-applet.

Synapse works on a plugin-based design. The main plugins shipped with Synapse are:

  • Applications – searches your desktop files
  • Banshee – allows you to play/enqueue music files in Banshee (or Rhythmbox, Xnoise)
  • Commands – runs any command (ie. “sudo apt-get update”)
  • Devhelp – search documentation using Devhelp
  • Dictionary – find definitions of words
  • Directory search – allows opening of commonly used directories
  • Gnome session – log out, shut down, restart
  • Hybrid search – complete Zeitgeist results by searching for similar files
  • Imgur – share images using Imgur
  • Pastebin – upload files to pastebin
  • Rhytmbox – play/enqueue music files in Rhythmbox
  • SSH – connect to remote host using SSH
  • UPower – suspend & hibernate your computer
  • Zeitgeist – search anything logged by Zeitgeist

To install Synapse on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:synapse-core/testing
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install synapse

To enable the pastebin plugin, run:

$ sudo apt-get install pastebinit

Webpage: Synapse

Similar software

Update: I have started using Unity in Ubuntu 12.04 and the HUD provides all the functionality of Synapse.


Found a decent application to publish articles on WordPress from the Ubuntu desktop: gnome-blog. Not too feature-rich but OK for quick posts. Available in Synaptic Package Manager.


  • Simple to use interface
  • WYSIWYG styled text support
  • Panel popup allows entries can be written gradually over the course of a day
  • Spell checking
  • Drag and drop support for images

To install on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-blog

Webpage: gnome-blog