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I have a couple of terminal based programs which I'll never be able to leave behind. When I start them from the command line with something like

gnome-terminal --command foo

or when I make a Foo.desktop file and I click on the icon in the Applications overview, Gnome does the right thing in that it makes a new terminal window and runs the program within it. I can even give the window a distinct title with --title=Foo. But the application name as Gnome knows it, shown in the top bar, and the icon next to it, are still just "Terminal" and the generic "prompt" icon. :-(

Apart from bad aesthetics this also makes it inconvenient to switch to the window because it gets lumped together in the UI with all the terminals running shells. If I were a mouse user (grin) it would take an extra click to select the window from the group of terminals - as it is, me being a 90% + keyboard user, I cannot just enter the overview and type "Foo" because that would start a new one, not switch to the running one.

So, where does the UI get these bits of information, so I can go there and change them? Trying to solve this puzzle I found something interesting: if I use urxvt instead of gnome-terminal as the emulator, Gnome displays "rxvt-unicode" as the application name. Where the hell does that come from? The program is named "urxvt" and so is the window (in the sense of Xwindow resource names), and the window class is "Urxvt". So far as I knew "rxvt-unicode" was just a human oriented nice name of the project, not something the system understood, so where does Gnome get it?

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    Marius, had you read my question carefully, you'd have understood that doesn't answer it. Sep 12, 2018 at 16:23

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You can't, because this is how GNOME Terminal works; it is still one application with many windows. (It's similar to opening multiple web pages in different windows in Firefox.)

Your UX issue is partly addressed by the Alternate Tab shell extension — although, even without that, the Tab key in the overview does switch between all windows, not just grouped applications.

(FWIW: I'm not sure where rxvt-unicode is coming from offhand, but if you run strings /usr/bin/urxvt|grep rxvt-unicode, it does appear in there.)

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  • Sorry, I am struggling with the stupid web interface for commenting. Sep 12, 2018 at 16:15
  • >> this is how GNOME Terminal works; it is still one application with many windows. (It's similar to opening multiple web pages in different windows in Firefox.) << I don't think this is right. The problem is the same with urxvt, and urxvt is an old style Xwindow program which knows nothing about multiple windows or tabs. Sep 12, 2018 at 16:18
  • >> the Tab key in the overview does switch between all windows, not just grouped applications << Really? For me, Tab in the overview does nothing at all. Perhaps you mean the switcher widget which appears on Window-Tab? Sep 12, 2018 at 16:21
  • No, I mean in the overview....
    – mattdm
    Sep 12, 2018 at 16:25
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    Turns out there is already a UI to do what I want, without any extension; it's just not advertised loudly and maybe not bound to a key. It's the "Switch windows" action in Settings. ACKing this answer because it pointed me in the right direction. Sep 12, 2018 at 21:54

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