New sshmenu, with updates for various platforms, forked from 3.18 sshmenu on sourceforge
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sshmenu, with newer updates for various platforms, Forked from 3.18 sshmenu on sourceforge.


Update Oct 20, 2014 JJW:

  1. Ubuntu 14.04 problem SOLVED - fix / workaound checked in, see issues.

  2. Appindicator work is stalled - checking in to alternate branch: AppIndicator.


As of March, 2013, work has begun on integrating into the "App Indicator" menu, in Unity (yuk), anyway, FWIW.

Will require ruby-appindicator and the dev packages.

Current (3.20) version works on Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10, with Ruby 1.9x series.

Also, a few bugs fixed for the newer Ruby version, and dependencies (FileUtils, not ftools).


Since the original sshmenu, at, has been stale since about 2009, I have forked this repo here to update it to at least be able to use it productively.

Grant McLean's (the original author) stated reasoning, according to the 2011 mailing list posting, is: "I'm not clear at all on what the future of applets is for GNOME 3. I'm still on GNOME 2 for that reason."

My take on it, is that the huge CF (ClusterFork) of the Linux Desktop, caused by the Gnome3 / Unity debacle, has cause a lot of fallout and fragmentation due to the various incompatibilities and lack of coherent support for any way to implement Panel Applets in a consistent matter across various desktops, - And worse, not even within Gnome itself.

What were they thinking?!

IMHO the two worst things holding back Linux desktop adoption, are (1) fragmentation (or the perception of and uncertainty surrounding it), and the (2) lack of wider hardware / corporate support for hardware (except for, a plug for my company).

This whole Gnome3 / Unity train wreck sets the Linux Desktop back hugely, and gives the naysayers something to point at for why they should stick with Windows or Mac.

Strategy and direction

Anyway, my current strategy is to use the sshmenu standalone app, which launches as a small square about the size of an icon - BUT: it launched xterm by default, and this is not as nice as using the built-in terminal for the desktop in question, be it gnome-terminal, lxterminal, or whatever.

Also, there's no reason that gnome-terminal (or mate-terminal, or lxterminal, for that matter) can't be used to provide the terminal capabilities (without requiring gnome-sshmenu), I am implementing a config option for this - first step is lxterminal, since I now use LXDE to avoid the Gnome CF.

UPDATE: This version now looks in several places, in a specific order, for a valid terminal to launch, and is configurable via the SSHTERM and TERM envo vars. See "Usage".


Until such time as someone does a gem-based intall or the distros pick this up for debian packaging, I recommend the following installation:

  • Obtain & install the debian (or yum, pacman, etc) package of version 3.18 from the distro of your choice
  • Check out the git repo of this project
  • Delete & symlink /usr/lib/ruby/1.8/sshmenu.rb (YMMV dependning on your distro) to point to the ssnmenu.rb here in this repo.

Post questions or issues if you have problems or suggestions, or want to take on the gem/deb/rpm packaging tasks..


Everything is identical to sshterm, except the terminal launch handling - the standalone (non-Gnome) sshmenu will look for the following, in order, for the terminal program to launch:

  • The contents of the SSHTERM environment variable, if present
  • gnome-terminal if present
  • mate-terminal if present
  • lxterminal if present
  • The contents of the TERM environment variable (usually 'xterm')

Note that the syntax for the title, geometry, and commands to execute differ between xterm and the others, which are all generally "gnome-terminal syntax compatible", so if the SSHTERM or TERM ends in 'xterm', the xterm syntax is used, otherwise the gnome-terminal syntax is used. See "Future directions" below, and indicate your preference as desired :).

Other related projects of note

Possible Future Directions

  • Add panel applet capabilities with other windowing systems, such as XFCE, LXDE, MATE, Cinnamon, etc.
  • Refactor more terminal launch options into the connfig file
  • Merge functionality with the related projects mentioned above
  • More robust / configurable syntax for launching arbitrary terminals