How to set up Menu items such that if an instance is already running, the running instance is brought to the foreground?

Charles Polisher cpolish at
Sun Mar 6 15:59:25 GMT 2011

On Sun, Mar 06, 2011 at 03:16:34PM +0000, Duncan wrote:
> kde posted on Sun, 06 Mar 2011 01:31:16 +0000 as excerpted:
> Perhaps part of the problem for your seniors is kde's session management.  
> If they quit kde with several app instances running and kde restarts them 
> when it comes back up, but they don't understand that, they may be 
> starting a new instance each time, not thinking that kde might have 
> remembered what was running the last time and restarted it, so the 
> instances gradually build up...
> Of course, you can make kde start with a clean session each time, if you 
> wish.  That would cure that issue.
> But what about going about it from the other angle?  Have kde start all 
> the apps they need, then save that as their session, and hide the 
> launcher, so all they have is the taskbar.  You could take the close 
> button off the title bar too, making it more difficult to close the apps, 
> and if they did, they'd only have to restart kde to have the pre-set 
> session come back with all their apps.
> It may or may not work in practice, but it's certainly thinking about the 
> problem from "outside the box".  Reverse the problem and it goes away. =:^)

Would this be a workable approach for the OP - wrap the app launch
in a generalized mechanism, let's call the mechanism Larry (as I
abhor the imprecision that comes with "it", and have no better name).
Larry handles each attempted application launch for the seniors.
Here's what I envision happening:

Larry looks at the proposed app, and if that app has one or more
running instances, display a dialog, with a suitably large font,
with a clickable list that distinguishes each running instance
of the app. At one end of the list, distinguished visually in
some way from other items in the list, is a "nope, none of
these, start a fresh new instance" list item. Clicking a list
item or using the arrow keys and the enter-key would switch to
that instance or launch a new instance of the app. 

Larry should have a way to back-out of any action at all - "cancel".
And a Help button that has both an icon (I favor a question mark)
and a (largish) text label to go with it.

Larry could be assembled using bash, kdialog, and some tools
such as xmumble and grep, right? (Mumble is a place-holder for
an actual executable name. This isn't a fully worked example).

  itemlist=`xmumble | grep mumble | sort | ...`
  myitem=$(kdialog --menu "Click what you want" $itemlist)
  # activate the selection or launch new app
  /usr/bin/mumble myitem ...

Charles Polisher

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