I live my computational life inside Emacs, which is the best user interface for almost everything; but it's sometimes frustrating that you can't escape Emacs' text-only world. Well, here is a little hack that lets you launch arbitrary files from a Dired view of a directory; using the operating system's registered application; ie, if you navigate to a .pdf file and hit 'l', Acrobat (or whatever) will launch and show you the file. Now I never have to use the accursed Finder. Works on Mac OS X and Ubuntu; might need modifcations for other systems.
;;; Hack dired to launch files with 'l' key. Put this in your ~/.emacs file
(defun dired-launch-command ()
(gnu/linux "gnome-open") ;right for gnome (ubuntu), not for other systems
(dired-get-marked-files t current-prefix-arg)))
(lambda (&rest ignore)