Removal of notification area

Dmitrijs Ledkovs dmitrij.ledkov at
Fri Apr 23 15:51:06 UTC 2010

On 23 April 2010 16:05, Aurélien Naldi <aurelien.naldi at> wrote:
> 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.

Well. I guess I'm from the opposite "camp" =) I can't wait to shut
down all applets & notification area. I love envelope turning green
when my nick is mentioned in "gnome-xchat" and I love how my power
button turns red after unattended upgrade & requirement to reboot to
get new kernel. (when you click red power button you see red circular
icon next to where "Restart" was, which gets renamed to "Restart

>> 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).

& gnome-xchat

>> 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.

(in reply to this and earlier email)

I don't see why Linux can't lead the way in this respect. With
appindicator library you will just wait when Canonical or someone else
comes up with a library to support Gnome-shell, Windows & Mac. On mac
(not sure how they are called correctly) indicator behaviour is
similar to that AppIndicator but it is a bit silly =) e.g. you cannot
bring up Skype contact list using that you have to click on the Dock

With respect to people being familiar with the "old-way". Well..... my
parents started to use bookmarks & tabs and read pages auto-translated
from english thanks to chromium. Previously they said firefox is too
complex for them. And based on the whooping last quoter Apple sales
and shrinking microsoft profits calls I think we are right on track to
fix bug #1 even if we borrow some ideas here and there.

With linux i think it's like code or bit rot. Take one talented hacker
(Linux), frustrate him (apparently "telneting" on random ports is
called "hacking" nowadays) and there you have it - git which just
boomed since then. If you don't use git you are "ugly & stupid"[1].
Will it kill hg & bzr? probably no, we are active competitors in this
race. But look what it did to svn & their current roadmap =/ I see
app-indicator thing in the same light. It doesn't matter whether it's
system tray, notification area or Appindicators: silly small icons
related to head-less apps & computer healthcheck must look about the
same, act about the same way and feel about the same way otherwise
that app is "ugly & stupid".

ps. Just to finish this rant - I'm a bit annoyed that we switched from
"close" last on the left hand side, to "close" first on the left hand
side. I was so used to the new intended layout.

[1] I think that's what he said in Google TechTalk.

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