I’ve been getting a ton of Linux questions for my Ask Jack reader Q&A series. I love it! Here’s one of the most recent questions about Linux Mint from reader Mark Hawthorne, along with my answer.

Q: G’Day I would like know how to have the downloaded programs that are ticked in the ubuntu or mint11 software centre added to the applications lists to use. I seem to have a lot items ticked but don’t appear in the applications drop down menu. I do have youtune-dl downloaded but can’t get them into the sound & video but when I downloaded pidgin its in the internet drop down menu. As you can see I a long way to go with linux os but at my age I loving challenge.
A: This one should be simple, but you have to deal with numerous levels of complexity. First and foremost is the desktop used. The default for Linux Mint 11 is GNOME. Typically GNOME does a great job of adding applications to the menu, but if you install an application and it does not wind up where you think it should be in the menu structure, the first thing to do is poke around inside the rest of the sub-menus. Sometimes, depending upon how the developers or the programmer packaged the app, the category could wind up missing or in the wrong sub-menu.

There’s also the instance with the application you mentioned. I believe youtune-dl is actually youtube-dl; in which case, that is a command line application. One thing about command line tools is that they don’t get their own GUI menu entries. If that were the case, your menu would be so jammed full of entries, you’d never find anything. Here’s a tip: If, after you install an application, it’s nowhere to be found in the menu, open a terminal window and issue the command to start the application (you might have to guess at this). If the tool runs within the terminal window, you know you’ve installed a command line app, and it won’t have a menu entry.

If you’re using GNOME 3, a very simple way of locating that app is to open the Dash (move your mouse to the upper left corner of the screen), click Applications, and enter the app name in the search field. If the application is installed, it will show up. If it is a command line tool, it will still not show.

Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I’ll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)