Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Setting Your Ubuntu 18.10 Favorites Bar In A Script

Of late I’ve been setting up and tearing down a lot of Ubuntu virtual machines as part of a PowerShell Core on Linux and macOS course I’m working on for Pluralsight. I wanted to create a script to install everything I need in one fell swoop so I could start testing my PowerShell Core code on a new box.

The one thing that annoyed me though was the Ubuntu Favorites bar on the left. I wanted to be able to add and remove my favorited automatically, rather than manually setting them up each time.

I didn’t think it’d be that hard, but it took a surprising amount of web searching to find the correct answer.

From inside a bash terminal session, you can issue the following command:

/usr/bin/gsettings get org.gnome.shell favorite-apps
(If /usr/bin is in your path, which it likely is, you could omit that part as we’ll see in a moment.) This will produce an array containing a list of your favorites.
['ubiquity.desktop', 'firefox.desktop', 'thunderbird.desktop', 'org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop', 'rhythmbox.desktop', 'libreoffice-writer.desktop', 'org.gnome.Software.desktop', 'yelp.desktop', 'ubuntu-amazon-default.desktop']
I’ve seen all sorts of suggestions on how to update the array, Use Python, Ruby, you could even use PowerShell to rearrange it if you wanted. To be honest though, I took the simple approach.
I just set my favorites manually, one last time. That way I could let Ubuntu tell me the correct application names to use in the background, without having to hunt them down. Once I had them set, I simply ran the gsettings get command (see above) again to get the list of apps, in the order I wanted them.
I then used gsettings again, this time in set mode.
gsettings set org.gnome.shell favorite-apps "['firefox.desktop', 'org.gnome.Terminal.desktop', 'org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop', 'code_code.desktop', 'azuredatastudio.desktop', 'org.gnome.Software.desktop', 'yelp.desktop']"
Just add this to your setup bash script, or enter it at the terminal, and ta-da! Your favorites are now setup like you want.
Naturally all of this is entered as a single line, this is just wrapped here due to space. Also, these are the favorites I want for my situation. Rather than just copy and pasting above, follow my suggestion to set things up manually, then use the output of gsettings get as input for the set.
I have tested this in Ubuntu 18.10, in theory it should work in 18.04 as well. I would imagine it would also work in 19.04 when it’s released, I’ll come back and update this post once I’ve had time to test it.