Removal of notification area

Aurélien Naldi aurelien.naldi at
Fri Apr 23 15:05:47 UTC 2010

On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 4:02 PM, Davyd McColl <davydm at> wrote:
> For what it's worth, I'd like to put in 2 (perhaps long-winded) cents here.
> The short story and suggestions:
> I think that culling the Notification Area could be problematic

I also think that it may be a bit early to remove it completely.
While I'm not involved in this, I'll try to share what I like about
the new system.

> 2) Whilst I like the floating click-through notification concept, it doesn't
> help for being able to tell, after being away from the desktop, when, for
> example, I've missed an IM. I really hope no-one expects that the user
> should have to scan all open applications for updates in lieu of a
> "systray". Since I don't use empathy (finding it clunky, and, well, just
> "not pidgin" enough for me and my set ways), I don't know if the user status
> icon can show that there have been IMs since the user stepped away from her
> desk -- but I'm assuming not? The pidgin tray icon lets me know straight
> away.

I don't use pidgin but if I recall properly, pidgin supports the new
"message indicator", introduced in karmic. It provides a single icon
to show unread messages for each messaging application (empathy,
evolution, pidgin, gwibber, probably others, esp. kopete).

> 3) I've had a look at the spec at
> for the "menu"
> concept, and I have to ask: what, apart from the fact that moving the mouse
> will open another app's menu (which may actually confuse new users who don't
> expect that) is the difference between this concept and the current
> notification area with clickable icons? It doesn't seem all that abstracted
> to me...

IMHO, the fact that we can't switch from one menu to another in the
panel when they belong to different applets make these menus feel
weird (compared to the ones found in a single application). I remember
comments about this from the gnome-panel maintener years ago saying
that a new design would allow to fix this problem. The application
indicators solves this but only partially as it only allows to switch
between the menus of applications using this system. I would really
love something working for the whole panel as we can see on macosx. My
main critics here is that we now have single applets or notification
icons (which don't allow switching at all) as well as several groups
of menu inside which we can switch: the application/places/system main
menu, the application indicators and the me/session menu.
At least merging the message-indicator and application-indicator menus
would much improve the situation IMHO (but would also lead to less
flexibility WRT positioning them..).
Another big difference between notification area is that the
application does _NOT_ paint its menu, it only provides icons, text
and callbacks for the available actions. Painting, positioning,
showing the menu.. is up to the applet, which provides a much better
desktop integration (for exemple, a kde application can use it with a
gnome panel and the menu will use gtk, thus not feel alien or depend
on toolkit theming hacks). In fact this is also why it is possible to
switch between the different menus. It also makes it easier to change
the way they are presented or they react to user input without needing
to update each separate application (no more right-click here and
left-click there). It will also make it much easier to build solution
like hiding silent application, even if I would much prefer making
good use of the available space and creative solution like grouping
stuff like the message-indicator does than adding auto-hide featres
which would send a message saying: you can overuse this space, we try
to compensate for it.
For now this system is limited to relatively simple menus but as I
understand it, more advanced features are planned to support more
complex needs like the network-manager applet or the clock applet.
So it is not finished yet, but as a lucid user I must say I like the
first step and look forward to the next one. Even if I'm also
concerned about the risk of removing the notification area too early.


Aurélien Naldi

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