Making a Ubuntu executable

Making a Ubuntu executable

i have made a program in C using the gcc compiler. Right now it has no GUI components. I am compiling it with makefile and running it in the terminal. I need to deploy it so that the executable is standalone. I want the executable to have an icon and when clicked start the program in the terminal. Can anyone tell me how to do this?

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The basics

(disclaimer: the following was tested with kubuntu, you might need to make some adjustments for your system).
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Actually there is a standard to do that, not just for Ubuntu but for any number of *nix systems.

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Lets assume you have your foo.bin file you want to deploy.

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According to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, a good place to put it (if you are not using a package manager) is /usr/local/bin/.

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You will also need an icon, I will assume your artistic talent produced foo.png, and a good place for it might be /usr/local/share/icons/..
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Now you need to create foo.desktop that might look like this:.
[Desktop Entry] Comment=My awesome fooish application  Exec=/usr/local/bin/foo.bin Icon=/usr/local/share/icons/foo.png Name=Foobar NoDisplay=false StartupNotify=false Terminal=1 TerminalOptions= Type=Application 
and put it in /usr/share/applications/.. You might be able to use your menu editor to create such a file.

Look for the generated desktop file under ~/.local/share/applications/.. This should do the trick.. Another convention is to put everything under /opt/foo/ and create symbolic links to /usr/local/..

Cross DE with Portland

The Portland project provides the xdg-* command line utilities that make it easy to install the application's icon / menu entry / resource file, in a DE (GNOME, KDE, etc) independent way.. See the KDE & GNOME cross-desktop development tutorial on

A better way

For deployment you should consider creating a *.deb package.

(with your executable, *.desktop file and icon).

There are several tutorials on this subject e.g. Note that if you are using a package manager, the convention for file location becomes /usr/ instead of /usr/local/..

Go all the way

The next step, if you are inclined to take it, is setup your own repository, or PPA..


Chen's link gets the desktop icon and menu entry; for Ubuntu specifically (and really any Debian-derived system, for the most part), there is a whole lot of good documentation.

It's available starting at this link: Start reading at "PackagingGuide".

:) . As far as running your app in a terminal under X - on Ubuntu - just run.
x-terminal-emulator -e /path/to/your/command 
The x-terminal-emulator command is managed by "update-alternatives" and will be a symlink to whatever the preferred xterm emulator is on the system.

For a Kubuntu system, it'll usually be kterm, for a regular Ubuntu system it'll likely be gnome-terminal, etc.

But you can count on x-terminal-emulator being available if X is installed.

And the -e option works for all of them, because it's an xterm command which they all implement for compatibility..

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