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I have been a fan of Gnome-Do for a long time. Mac users have been used to having programs just a few keystrokes away with Quicksilver search, and Windows joined the fun with its newly designed start menu in Vista and 7. Cardapio simultaneously simplifies the gnome menu and delivers easy hotkey searching.

From Cardapio’s Launchpad page:

Cardapio can work in two modes: as a panel applet (in which case it is an alternative to Gnome’s application menu applet) or as a stand-alone launcher (in which case it is an alternative to the simplest use-cases of Gnome Do). It has a beautiful gtk-native interface and includes plugins for performing inline searches of Files (via Tracker), Software Center, Google, Wikipedia, and much more!

You can set the shortcut to any combination you like. I have mine set to Super (the key with the windows flag) and Space. I’ll show you how to do this after how to install the program.

In Ubuntu 10.04+, run these commands in a terminal one line at a time:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cardapio-team/unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cardapio

Once the package is installed, add it to your panel. Right click on the panel, click “Add to Panel”, and select “Cardapio”. From there, move it where you want on the panel by right clicking, selecting move, and dragging it to the desired location.

To set your custom keyboard shortcut, right click on the Cardapio Menu and select “Properties”. Under the “General” tab, modify the Shortcut Key value. Mine is “space”, which has the menu open when super and space are pressed. Cardapio can also be used as a standalone launcher. See the Launchpad page for details.