Install a HUD like Unity's on any Ubuntu-based distro


As those of you who use Ubuntu with Unity will already know, this distro comes with a very useful tool installed that allows us attempting from installed programs to files on our PC. This tool is known as HUD (Heads Up Display) and makes it much easier for us to search for a file or an application lost by our system.

In this article we want to show you how we can install the Unity HUD in Ubuntu MATE, in Linux Mint, in Xubuntu, and ultimately any Ubuntu based distro. We tell you.

Thanks to the i3-hud-menu developed by Rafael bocquet, we can use the Unity HUD in almost any desktop environment. So if you were looking for such a tool, maybe this is a good solution for you.
This tool developed by Bocquet, works with GTK2, GTK3 and applications that use QT4. Even so, the application has some bugs with QT5 such as LibreOffice. What's more, this tool, despite how useful it can be, has some limitations:
  • Doesn't work for Firefox or Thunderbid
  • Doesn't work with QT5 apps
  • It does not work with LibreOffice.
  • To work with Java applications that use the swing library, you will need to install Javatana.

Installing i3-hud-menu

First of all, you need to install a couple of packages, which are basically python3, python-dbus, dmenu, appmenu-qt, unity-gtk-module, and wget. To do this, just run:

sudo apt install python3 python-dbus dmenu appmenu-qt unity-gtk2-module unity-gtk3-module wget

Now we can proceed to download and install the application. For this we execute the following:

cd /tmp
tar -xvf master.tar.gz
sudo mkdir -p /opt/i3-hud-menu
sudo cp -r i3-hud-menu-master/* /opt/i3-hud-menu/

Basically, what we do is get the entire source code project from its Github repository, save it in / tmp /, unzip it and create a directory where we will copy the entire project.

Now, we have to open the file ~ /.profiles of our system. How do you see when you start with "." It is a hidden file, so if you are going to open it graphically, in order to view it you will have to press Ctrl + H.

Once the file is open, we add the following source code at the end of it:

if [ -n "$GTK_MODULES" ]



If it doesn't work for you, you can try copying this same source code into the file ~ / .bashrc.

Now, and as a last step, we only have to make the application run at the beginning of our session. To do this, we have to make the program that is executed at the beginning is called inside the directory ~/ opt / i3-hud-menu /. If you are on Xubuntu, you can go to System settings, then in Session and Startup (or its equivalent in Spanish), then in Application Auto start and finally click Add and then fill in the information as follows:

  • En Name we have to put "i3 menu service", or a name that helps us to identify the application.
  • En Description we can write a little explanation about what the application does, although this field is not necessary.
  • En Command we have to put the program path, which in our case is /opt/i3-hud-menu/

The way to add startup applications depends on the distro we are using, but in general we must always follow the same "path": Configuration -> Startup applications -> Add and finally fill in the fields as we just mentioned.

Now, the interesting thing would be to be able to open this application using a combination of keys, right?

Well, to do so, we just have to go to the system configuration, and click on the tab:

  • Keyboard on Xubuntu.
  • Keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu Mate.
  • Add custom shortcut on Linux Mint.

Next, we have to choose the combination of keys that we want (in my case (Alt + L), and we will get a window like the following:


In which we will have to write the path of the program to be executed, which in our case is /opt/i3-hud-menu/ en Command (or its translation in Spanish).

From now on you will have it a little easier when searching for applications on your system. Until next time 😉

Original source: Wepupd

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  1.   reizor said

    Again violating Creative commons license. Copying post without citing the sources.

    The original source is as follows:

    If you do not put the source, I will ask Google to desindexe this post from Google.

    There you ... or learn to cite sources or google will not index any post.

    1.    Miquel Perez said

      Good morning Reizor,

      Thanks for the warning, our last intention is to violate the Creative Commons license. My fault. I wrote the post at 6 in the morning and failed to cite the original source.

      Sorry for the inconvenience.

  2.   reizor said

    rectifying is wise, but I do not think you are concerned and that the issue goes with you. You can clearly see that the issue of giving references does not suit you.

    Already put to rectify you can do the same with the following links:

    etc ....

    If you don't know the references I can give them to you ... and if I look at more post I will find more.

    1.    Miquel Perez said

      Thank you very much for your help.
      As editor of UbunlogAs you can imagine, I can only be responsible for my posts and I do not believe I have the right or freedom to edit the articles of my fellow blog writers. Still, if you have any complaints or suggestions about the blog, you can write them in -> this <--- contact form.

      As a supporter of Free Software, I always try to respect everything related to third party licenses and content. Still, this can be very relative. I agree that if the resulting article is remarkably similar to the original, the source should be mentioned. But if you just took the idea from another blog and wrote a different post on ours, I don't see why you have to mention the source.

      Ideas exist by themselves, and because another blog writes first about a certain topic, we will not be able to write about it. Furthermore, many topics are absolutely objective, so many times there is no other option than to copy a certain procedure as is, since it is done exclusively in one way and not another. Still, in Ubunlog We always try to give everything in our own articles and, above all, give our point of view. Greetings and thanks for the criticism 🙂