gExec is a tool for running commands from a GUI. It presents the user with an entry field into which they can type their command and some toggle buttons for specifying how the command should be run. (I.e. in a terminal).

It features (normal, understandable, working) tab-completion, history list and options for running commands in a terminal emulator and/or the root user (via gksu).

gExec was created because I mainly use GTK programs, but I do not run Gnome (or at least not the panel). Instead I use WindowMaker. WindowMaker does have it's own run dialog, but it doesn't have tab-completion nor does it have a history, which is quite annoying. There are a bunch of third-party program lauchers available, but at the moment of writing none of them do what I want. So came about gExec.




In order to compile gExec, you will need:

  • Gtk 2.0+ development headers
  • Glib 2.0+ development headers

In order to run gExec, you will need:

  • Gtk 2.0+ dynamically loadable libraries.


Compiling gExec is easy. Just type 'make' at the command line in the source directory.


gExec is composed of only a single binary. You can copy it to any destination on your system. May I suggest some directory that is in your path, like /usr/local/bin?

Typing 'make install' at the command line in the source directory will do just that. It copies the binary to /usr/local/bin. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.


From the --help output:

  gexec [OPTION...] - Interactive run dialog

Help Options:
  -?, --help               Show help options
  --help-all               Show all help options
  --help-gtk               Show GTK+ Options

Application Options:
  -k, --keepopen           Keep gExec open after executing a command
  --display=DISPLAY        X display to use


gExec has a few configuration options which are stored in the file


This file will automically be created if not present the first time gExec is run. It can contain three options:

cmd_termemu=STRING   (default:  xterm -e %s  )
cmd_su=STRING        (default:  gksu "%s"  )
history_max=INT      (default:  20  )

These options should be self-evident. Including a %s in the command will replace it with the command entered by the user in the program.

Please be careful about the construction of the commands for the terminal emulator and the SU program. Not all programs will work nicely together and some of the commands need to be carefully crafted taking in account quotes and other stuff. Frankly, changing any of these commands might open up a whole can of worms (which is why there isn't a configuration display). Use at your own risk.

Feedback / Contributing

Questions? Problems? Ideas? Visit this gExec's project page, where you can submit bugs/feature requests/questions, at:


Known bugs

This program is full of known bugs. Here are some of them:

  • Running a command in both a terminal and as root fails (depending on the commands used).
  • Usage of deprecated gtk_combo.
  • Failure to execute a command via terminal or as root will go unnoticed.

Most of these bugs have a reason for not being fixed (and not even because I'm just a lazy bastard). Mostly the reason is that the bugs don't really matter in such a small program, solving the problem opens up new problems or the problem isn't gExec's in the first place.


gExec is Copyright by Ferry Boender, licensed under the General Public License (GPL)

Copyright (C), 2004 by Ferry Boender

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free
Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option)
any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY
or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License
for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

For more information, see the COPYING file supplied with this program.