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Using Ubuntu's GUI I can add/remove/edit Startup apps from System->Preferences->Startup Applications menu.

Now if I only have SSH access to that machine, how can I edit/add these apps? In what file(s) is the configuration stored? Can you post an example how to add, say, VLC player?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you want to do this for every user, change to /etc/xdg/autostart/. If it's only for your user account, go to your home directory and to .config/autostart/. There should be lots of .desktop-files here.

Create a new file named yourcommand.desktop, e.g. for VLC by using sudo nano vlc.desktop. Then add the following information in the file:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/usr/bin/env vlc

Save the file. That should do it. For any other command, change the Name and the Exec line. The Exec line should point to something you can run, obviously. In this case it's the vlc command.

(I tested this with Ubuntu 10.10, worked like a charm)

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Excellent, thanks – Siim K Nov 15 '10 at 11:10

If you have an X server on your local machine, you can SSH in with X forwarding enabled (ssh -X) and run gnome-session-properties.

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