This is an idea - the examples are not complete or even consistent... OTOH, release early, release often :)
The application menus appear to be driven by an office worker's world view of named applications.
Why not replace it with a more flexible and functional view?
'Tag' the menu entries for applications and use a menu system based on a set of filters on tags.
And not just one set of tags.
A 'menu' tag.
Each current menu is given one or more menu tags and all apps with that tag appear in that menu. Instant reproduction of current menu :) This also allows the applications to be categorised as they implicitly get associated with parent menus too.
A 'me' tag.
A personal world view would provide a structure about me and my things.
What do I do with a system? I interact with data or maybe a better word is content:
- Consume or use content/data from sources that vary from very local through to very distant and from permanent to transient.
- Create or amend content of all types: linked to 'recent documents' maybe?
- Interact with other people to share content
- Consider the past
- Plan the future
So initially: use, create, edit, others, past, future
A 'task' tag?
Consider some common tasks and structure around them:
- relax : games, listen, compose, draw, write
- communicate : email, irc, im, video, audio
- work :
- system admin
A data type tag.
Clearly some kinds of data tag would be useful. This descibes the kinds of data the application works with and is closely related to the current menu but more tightly defined: examples would be:
- audio, video, geographic,
I mean, seriously, what do I expect to find in: 'Applications/accessories' or 'Applications/other'
And nowadays, what's *not* in 'Internet' ?
Where do I find my GPS application? network, office?
This kind of approach can become adaptive, frequently accessed applications migrate to more accesible levels.
And this is linux... software is free.
So why only list software that you've got installed. If I go to 'Amend content->entertainment->music' then I'd like to see (subtlely presented) options to install various applications. Maybe a bubble that says 'click here to see more options available for download', and we're sent to the package manager with pre-populated searches.
Of course this isn't easy - there are multiple taxonomies, categorising would be hard, there's a risk of clicking down 30 menus to find a browser... all of these things need to be considered.