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The current maintained version of genmenu can be found here. The current version is being maintained by Robert Krause.


Genmenu is a script capable of generating menus for Blackbox, Fluxbox, Openbox, WindowMaker and Enlightenment. It works by checking the current user's $PATH for a predefined list of binaries and adding them to menu if they are found.

The following options can be configured during runtime:

  • Default font to use in all X terminals
  • Default X terminal (will be used to launch all console apps in the menu)
  • Default size of all web browser windows
  • Include menu for starting other window managers (yes|no)


I am bored with manually editing the menus every time I for some reason wipe my configuration files. I figured I might as well write an automated script for it. I also can't stand having default menus which contains lots of programs which aren't actually installed on my system.

What it looks like...

Here is a sample on what the generated menus will look like (from 0.8.4).


Blackbox menu example

Window Maker

Window Maker menu example


Enlightenment menu example

What you can do to help

You can help me out by telling me what programs (which category), fonts and other window managers you would like genmenu to check for (if they aren't already checked for in the script). Also please read the FAQ below.


Will you include a check for program X in genmenu?

Yes, if it is a program you actually use on a regular basis. Keep in mind that my goal is not to include every single program that exists in Linux distributions/Other OS in the menu. Also I prefer modern-looking programs written in a modern toolkit in the menus. This means I will only include "ugly" programs if they are the only/best thing available in a specific category :)

Will you include the GNOME or KDE menus as a submenu?

No. I only want the actual programs, not the whole menu structure from GNOME or KDE.

Will you include support for special distribution features or menus?

No. I want it to be the same on every distribution.

Will you include support for internationalization?

No I wont do any development to support this. But I would be happy if someone writes a patch to support translations. Just note that ive gotten several requests about hosting translated versions of genmenu but I wont do that because its a maintenance nightmare which can only be solved by adding support for different translations in the script itself. If you want internationalization I really suggest you rewrite genmenu from scratch anyway in a more sensible language and remove other limitations while you are at it. Genmenu is a hack, deal with it, it just happens to serve my needs.

Will you make support for window manager X?

In short, not if I don't have any use for it myself. In addition, there are major architectural limits with genmenu being a shell script and all. In hindsight I realize I was silly to implement this in a shell script in the first place, but it started as a pet project that grew beyond what I had expected.

Limitations of genmenu:

  1. Sub menus in the Application menu deeper than one level is not supported.
  2. Some window managers supports icons and such in their menus. This is not taken into account in genmenu.

How can I run the script in a non-interactive mode?

Let's say you for some reason wish to run the script without manually answering any questions. Here is the way to do it:

  1. Make a file which contains your answers.
  2. Run genmenu < genmenu.cfg (add &>/dev/null to the end if you don't want any output).
  3. That's it.



(License is GPL)

Last update: February 14 2011 07:05 PM

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