Linux Apps

Synapse – A Semantic Launcher for Searching and Launching Apps and Files

Synapse Application Launcher for Ubuntu
Written by Martins D. Okoi

Synapse is a free and open source quick launcher application with which you can easily start applications and access files using the Zeitgeist engine – kinda reminiscent of Ulauncher and Gnome Pie.

Here is how, the developer, mhr3, describes it:

“It well… searches stuff… If you ever used Gnome Do / Quicksilver / Gnome Launch Box, you’ll feel right at home with Synapse, if not, the only thing you need to do is run Synapse (or press Ctrl+Space to summon it), type what you’re looking for, and Synapse will present you a list of items that match your query.
Once you found the item you were looking for, you can perform an action on it (and these are defined by the plugins you’re using). If you don’t like the default action, just press Tab and search appropriate action.

And besides this primary use-case, you can also browse recent items which were logged by Zeitgeist, in case you close a document by mistake or just want to hear again the music track that played a few minutes ago.”

Synapse comes with 4 themes, namely Default, Dual, Mini, and Virgillio, so you can choose which suite fits your taste.

Features in Synapse

  • Applications – searches your desktop files.
  • Banshee – allows you to play/enqueue music files in Banshee.
  • Commands – runs any command (i.e. “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.
  • Rhytmbox – play/enqueue music files in Rhythmbox.
  • UPower – suspend & hibernate your computer.
  • Zeitgeist – search anything logged by Zeitgeist.
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Synapse is also accessible on GitHub if you wish to contribute some code to the project.

Installation and Usage of Synapse

Synapse can be easily installed using PPA as shown.

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

Launch it from Applications > Accessories > Synapse when done with the installation.

Apart from being able to set custom keyboard shortcuts to call the Synapse function, you can choose to automatically run Synapse each time your PC comes on. The settings menu is located at the launcher’s upper right-hand side.

Do you use any custom launchers on your PC or do you use the default ones embedded in your desktop environments like Unity or Gnome App Launcher, for example?

Drop your comments below and feel free to include your app suggestions as well.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and programmer.