[maemo-users] powerlaunch - power key shortcuts

From: Austin Che list-maemo at austinche.name
Date: Tue Oct 2 06:07:11 EEST 2007
    I'm releasing an initial test version of powerlaunch:

    It's trying to go for a different type of launcher and system
    interface. Some of the reasons that motivated me to work on this
    came from issues I've had with the default UI:

    - I want a way to be able to play and control music playing while
      the device is in my pocket.
    - Launching programs quickly is not as easy as it could
      be. Finding the right button on the screen to push is difficult
      to do quickly and I'd rather use hardware keys with feedback.
    - In bright light, it's difficult to see the screen well enough to
      turn up the brightness of the screen so I can see. Other devices
      have had buttons I could hold to at least temporarily turn on a

    - I've realized I don't use any of the functions of systemui at
      all. I map the long powerkey to softpoweroff and that's the only
      thing I need to turn on/off the device. So the short power
      button press is completely wasted for me.

    What powerlaunch does:
    It replaces systemui. It actually pretends to be systemui so that
    it can interact with the rest of the system properly. It
    intercepts the powerkey press that normally brings up the system
    menu and gives the user the option to display whatever they want
    All of the hardware keys (including power and home) can be bound
    to do what the user wants (such as launch programs, lock the
    device, reboot, whatever). It is extremely customizable via the
    config file. The interface is also designed to be configurable
    using glade.
    There's an unlimited hierarchy/nesting of modes. For example, you
    could map some arbitrary combination of keys like
    left,right,up,right,right to launch your favorite program. Or you
    could implement a device lock that requires entering the right
    combination of keys to unlock.

    It's probably easiest to just install it to see what it can
    do. For example, I use it to go into pocket music mode by pressing
    power,select. This immediately blanks the screen, locks the
    screen, but leaves the keys unlocked. In this mode, I can
    start/stop, change songs, and change volume using the hardware
    keys (uses mpc to control mpd). Whenever I hit the cancel button,
    it locks the keys also and is then in full softpoweroff mode. All
    of this functionality is specified in the config file.
    I would recommend making sure you can log in via ssh to kill the
    program if necessary, as it is possible to edit the config file in
    such a way to make it impossible to close the program. And edit
    /etc/mce/mce.ini to enable softpoweroff with the long power press
    as softpoweroff will normally close powerlaunch (unless you have
    told it otherwise).

    - Install the deb package from 
    - Stop systemui as root with "sudo /etc/init.d/osso-systemui stop"
    - Look at and edit /etc/powerlaunch/powerlaunch.conf (or you
      won't have any ideas of what keys to press). Most of the
      documentation that currently exists is inside the config file as
    - Start powerlaunch as a regular user
    - If you want to start it and run it in the background, try 
    dsmetool -o /usr/bin/powerlaunch

    If you decide you don't need systemui like me, you can remove the
    two init links /etc/rc2.d/*osso-systemui* (nothing bad seems to
    You can edit the interface by using glade to edit
    /etc/powerlaunch/powerlaunch.glade and specifying the particular
    layout you want in the config file. This is probably the least
    developed part of the program, but the eventual idea is to have
    templates in the glade file and ways to fill in the template from
    the config file (e.g. setting images of buttons to correspond to
    the programs that keys launch as mnemonic aids). The example setup
    has a not so pretty test interface that should show how buttons
    can be handled in the config file.

    Comments and ideas welcome.

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