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If your Debian menu in GNOME ever disappears

I recently had my Debian menu in GNOME disappear for reasons I could not explain. Since this is where the launcher for many of the applications one installs are typically housed, it was quite the inconvenience. I posted to the debian-user mailing list, and asked around on IRC in #debian and #debian-devel, but the most I ever received was a suggestion to run 'update-menus' from a command line. Having done that within the first 30 minutes of the issue’s appearance to no avail, I resigned myself to making do without the menu for the time being.

Uninstalling and reinstalling the menu package was of no help. Reinstalling the gnome package yielded no joy, either. I could examine the contents of /var/lib/gnome and see that the menu structure was being built, it just wasn’t making into the menu.

Through some poking around and talking with some folks who emailed me off-list to admit that they, too, had experienced this and were at a loss, the mystery has been solved. Apparently during some upgrade to packages, the menu-xdg package had been removed. Reinstalling it restored the menu to its formerly visible and altogether handy state. I posted a follow-up reply to debian-user in hopes of it helping posterity.

This issue must seem like such a stupid or neophyte question that some people refrain from replying to a mailing list post about it. For those who knew the answer (I assume someone did), the question must have somehow seemed unworthy of reply. However, looking at the menu package, I don’t even see a Suggests entry for menu-xdg. It would be a shame if there are other people facing this issue with no resolution, so I am openly admitting that I had this problem in the hopes that it helps someone else out. Perhaps I should file some sort of wishlist bug, but my knowledge of the menu system is still narrow; maybe I will.

I find myself periodically expanding the Debian menu on my desktop just to look at it and enjoy that warm, cozy feeling I get from having it back. 8^)

13 thoughts on “If your Debian menu in GNOME ever disappears”

  1. apt-cache rdepends menu-xdg in sid shows some packages depending more or less on menu-xdg:

    Package: desktop-profiles
    Suggests: menu-xdg

    Package: education-desktop-kde
    Recommends: menu-xdg

    Package: gnome-panel
    Suggests: menu-xdg (>= 0.2)

    Package: kdelibs-bin
    Depends: menu-xdg

  2. Yes, Bill Alombert pointed me to Bug #322517; this problem keeps occuring because GNOME still only suggests menu-xdg, even though nearly everyone expects this menu to always present. Note that KDE appropriately depends upon menu-xdg.

  3. One final step for me: I had installed menu-xdg, but after a reboot there was still no Debian menu. All was well, however, after running dpkg-reconfigure menu and dpkg-reconfigure menu-xdg.


  4. Hi
    apt-get install menu-xdg was the clue. I spent almost hours on the problem how to get the debian menu entry back. Thank you for the posting. Great work! Btw, happy new year 😉

  5. Thanks for the clue! It seems that I had a similar problem. I got back the “Applications” menu just by reinstalling menu-xdg (the same version already installed). I lost it yesterday when I updated “etch” using the version 20060118 of the DVDs (I was using 20051104 previously; menu-xdg was one of the updated packages). Actually the problem was that every time I clicked that menu, it appeared for less than a tenth of a second and then disappeared. I thought the cause was gconf2, because its version was 2.12 when all the other gnome packages were 2.10, so I downgraded it, but it solved nothing. In fact I’m not sure if it has something to do with the problem because I still keep the downgraded version. I suppose not.


  6. Not fit for my desktop yet. that must be a huge hole for the debian families’ beginner such as me.

  7. Hi. I have menu-xdg installed, but no despite this there’s no Debian menu among the GNOME menu…

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