Installing the Takeoff Launcher in KDE 4.8.0

My application launcher of choice is Lancelot, which comes as part of the package kde-base/kdeplasma-addons. If you haven’t already tried it, you really should.

Anyway, recently on the blogsphere I read about Takeoff, another Plasmoid application launcher for KDE, first issued end July 2011. Looking at screen snapshots of Takeoff reminded me of a tablet’s screen: an uncluttered array of large application icons. My curiosity was piqued, so I decided to install the Takeoff Plasmoid. Here’s what I did to install it in KDE 4.8.0 in Gentoo Linux. The same straightforward procedure should also work in other Linux distributions with KDE 4.8, although installation is a bit easier for Arch Linux, Chakra, Fedora, openSUSE and Ubuntu, as packages exist for those distributions (see the Download page on the project’s Web site for details).

I downloaded takeoff-1.0.tar.gz to ~/Desktop

I right-clicked on the tarball and selected Extract > Extract Archive To… and extracted the files to the directory ~/takeoff-1.0

I opened a Konsole window and entered the following commands:

cd ~/takeoff-1.0

The README file tells you exactly how to install the Plasma widget (although I ignored the instruction to create the directory ~/takeoff-1.0/build/ as it already existed):

cd build
cmake .. && make
sudo make install

Then I did the usual in KDE to add the Takeoff widget to the Panel.

To configure Takeoff I right-clicked on its icon, clicked on ‘Takeoff Settings’ and, under ‘General Settings’, I unticked ‘Show Takeoff in full screen mode’. I also clicked on the icon under ‘General Settings’ and changed the icon to one of my choice. If you fancy a picture as the background of the launcher’s panel, tick ‘Show background image’, click on the ‘browse for file’ icon and select any wallpaper file that you have stored on your disk. There are other configuration options you can play with, such as the number of columns and rows of application icons to display in the launcher’s panel.

To display the launcher’s panel, just click on the Takeoff icon on your Panel. The Takeoff panel will pop up, as shown in the snaphot below of my screen.

Takeoff Launcher in KDE 4.8.0

Notice that there are tabs across the top of the launcher’s panel; these are the different categories of application available: Favourites, All Applications, Accessories, Education, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office, and so on. Click on one of these tabs to view all the applications in that category. If there are too many applications in that category to fit on the launcher’s panel, there will be a slider button at the bottom of the panel; just click on the next number on it to view the next page of applications in the category.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, naturally those are Gentoo penguins on my Desktop wallpaper. 🙂

EDIT (July 10, 2012): For users of Gentoo there is now an ebuild (kde-misc/takeoff) in the Portage main tree, so use that to install Takeoff Launcher.