Eclipse (and Eclipse based apps) on Ubuntu 13.04 desktop hacks

Using Eclipse with full user experience with newest Ubuntu 13.04 is tricky. Trickier then in previous Ubuntu releases as Ubuntu changes with every further release. The following tips also apply to any Eclipse-based apps like Aptana or Plexflow.

Note: I describe “download from & unpack somewhere & run” setup. I never tried eclipse package from Ubuntu repositories.

Unity global AppMenu and Head-Up Display (HUD) support

Eclipse is for unknown reason blacklisted in Ubuntu Unity global menu and HUD. There is not clear reason why Eclipse is blocked. Although it is easy to integrate Eclipse menus in Ubuntu global menu and HUD, the associated bug is present from Ubuntu 10.10 and still not fixed.



Hopefully clever brains discovered cheeky workaround. The trick is to replace Eclipse with e.g. Xclipse in file(s). Various Ubuntu version have various location for this file. Moreover it differs on 32 and 64bit branches.

I personally use the following standard commandline Linux tooling to search for all whenever in /usr/lib/ (IMHO the folder where files always live). Subsequently I ask sed to replace Eclipse string with Xclipse and making backup with .original extension at the same time (

$ sudo sh -c 'find /usr/lib -type f -name -print0 | xargs --verbose -0 -I {} sed --in-place=.original s/Eclipse/Xclipse/ {}'

Unity icon and desktop launcher

Also seeing right Eclipse icon is not straightforward. Unity uses question mark or ugly resized icons.

eclipse-unity-icon-before2.png or eclipse-unity-icon-before1.png

Create ~/Desktop/Eclipse.desktop file with the following content:

(Update paths appropriately.)

[Desktop Entry]

This will fix Unity icon


But also adds desktop launcher. However desktop launcher is considered for “untrusted” until you make it executable.


libor@pc-libor: ~/Desktop$ chmod +x Eclipse.desktop

Now you can launch it but…

Huge desktop icon


Due to another bug in Ubuntu 13.04 desktop launcher icons cannot resize XPM icon format. Eclipse ships with hi-res icon.xpm which results in huge unresizable icon on desktop.

Convert XPM to more common PNG format with Gimp or similar. Or from commandline util like mogrify which comes with Ubuntu by default.

$ mogrify -format png /home/libor/dev/eclipse/icon.xpm

And change XPM to PNG in ~/Desktop/Eclipse.desktop and get this:


Dark tooltip background

You will be scared how default tooltip looks. White-on-black.


To change this to much prettier traditional black-on-yellow install gnome-color-chooser

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-color-chooser

run it


and in Specific → Tooltips change




Restart Eclipse if needed and enjoy black-on-yellow tooltips.


Got any other or better tips for smoother Eclipse integration into Ubuntu, share it in comments bellow. Thanks.

About Libor Jelinek

Enthusiastic Eclipse, OSGi and Java desktop programmer, happy Ubuntu Linux user, early adopter and open source believer. He's living in small town near to Prague (Czech Republic) and splitting free time among yoga, vegetarian cooking and dog. See more.

17 thoughts on “Eclipse (and Eclipse based apps) on Ubuntu 13.04 desktop hacks

  • Lars Vogel says on June 3, 2013, 10:40 am | Reply

    Thanks. I used to hack some files on Ubuntu for the tooltip thing but your solution is easier.

  • Sumit says on June 3, 2013, 11:37 am | Reply

    Thanks, I struggled a lot for tooltip thing.

  • Andreas Schildbach says on June 3, 2013, 12:56 pm | Reply

    Why don’t you just “apt-get install eclipse-jdt” and let the distro take care of your problems?

    • Libor Jelinek says on June 4, 2013, 8:53 am | Reply

      Hello Andreas, because eclipse-* packages are pretty old (3.8 in Raring). Just a question: does this packages take care of AppMenu/HUD and unreadable tooltip?

  • Bananeweizen says on June 4, 2013, 12:50 pm | Reply

  • Attila SATAN says on June 4, 2013, 1:49 pm | Reply

    For users who use language packs on ubuntu change the line of desktop file


    to this:


    My distro pack is Turkish. Because of that I use [tr_CY]

  • Sebastian Wilzbach says on June 4, 2013, 10:18 pm | Reply

    Thank you. There’s also a relatively new ppa for fixing eclipse globalmenu in unity automatically:

  • Axel MAUMONT says on June 5, 2013, 8:23 am | Reply

    Thanks for your tricks.

    An other issue with Eclipse and Ubuntu since the version 11 is the use of sliders (instead scrollbars) which does not work with Eclipse.

    To resolve it I created a .sh script where I put the following instruction before launching Eclipse:


    There are other ways to use it you can find on the Web by searching the string “LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0″.

    • Libor Jelinek says on June 6, 2013, 7:58 am | Reply

      Great! I didn’t have an idea how to get around this. Thanks!

  • marc says on June 9, 2013, 3:49 pm | Reply

    Thank’s, very useful tips!!

  • minastaros says on June 28, 2013, 8:11 am | Reply

    Thanks Libor, very useful compilation of useful hints.

    Also necessary for C++ programmers: the background of the Popups which show resolved source code (e.g. when you hover over a function call or a type alias) ist black by default as well and unreadable. So set up:

    Window / Preferences / C/C++ / Editor / Appearance Color Options / Source Hover Background
    and choose your own colour or the (now fixed) system colour.

    (It drove my crazy to find this after gnome-color-chooser and all other tweak tips (e.g. modifying the theme’s setup or even clone the theme) did not work)

  • Amin says on June 30, 2013, 5:56 am | Reply

    Thank you so much Libor :)

  • Camilo says on July 11, 2013, 8:53 pm | Reply

    To set the icon for Eclipse in Unity I use this:

    sudo cp /yourEclipseFolder/icon.xpm /usr/share/pixmaps/eclipse.xpm

  • Todd says on July 12, 2013, 6:28 pm | Reply

    Thanks, Libor, for the very useful information!

  • Yves says on July 20, 2013, 9:35 am | Reply

    An infamous one year old bug:

    This and other problems in 13.04 (while installed on July) make me wonder if there could be some slackening in Ubuntu’s efforts to make a good product :-(

    Thanks for the tips anyway.

  • Carlos M. says on August 30, 2013, 4:22 pm | Reply

    Thanks Libor,

    this is def a much better solution than I found somewhere else!!

    Carlos M.

  • Mohammad Reza says on September 17, 2014, 1:13 pm | Reply

    Thanks very very very much.

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