Configure Startup Programs In Ubuntu!

For those of you using a Linux OS, you might have wanted to start a particular program or application at start up – when you login.

Windows has a StartUp folder, and placing a shortcut there does the job. What about Linux?

This is something I have done on my setup – Ubuntu Feisty Fawn. But I am sure that it is available in other Linux distribution, because it is a reminiscent of Unix

Here is what you need to do. Go to the home folder, and edit your login’s .profile file. In Ubuntu, the steps would be as follows:

(There is a easy way in Ubuntu. Skip the steps and read the end of the post).

Application > Accessories > Terminal

Open the file in VI Editor.

vi .profile

You can use any editor that you are comfortable with.

Go to the end of the file.


If the .profile was never changed after the install, then just follow these steps. But if you had edited it, then you know what we are doing. We are just going to the end of the file where all the environment setups are completed.

Enter the command-line syntax of the application. Every Linux application has one. For me, I wanted to fire up the IM client.

That fires up the GAIM. The ‘&’ is to specify it to make it a background process.

Save it.

That is it. Next time you login, the application you specified would have started up. You can choose any application you want and if you have more than one application to be put on startup, put them on separate lines. 

In Ubuntu, there is a simpler way. Go to System > Preferences > Sessions. Then, with the ‘Startup Programs’ as the selected tab, click on Add. Give the name and command, and hit OK. You are done.

So, why do we need to know the hard way when there is a simpler solution? Well, the GUI setup does not have facility to order startups of more than one application. By working with the .profile, you have much more programmatic control over it.

Update : Andy has shared with us the tip to do the above mentioned task (i.e. configuring startup programs) in Kubuntu and most likely these steps will work with any KDE. Here are the steps mentioned by Andy.