Removal of notification area

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Thu Jun 10 10:43:45 UTC 2010

Hash: SHA1

Davyd McColl wrote on 23/04/10 15:02:
> 1) Already we have the case of apps which don't "play nicely" with the
> user notification applet such as Pidgin and Skype (both probably out of
> portability concerns). Now, personally, I don't want to use 2 different
> IM clients (home, Linux; work, Windows), so cross-platform for me, and
> some others, is a win. It's also a nice way to make people comfortable
> when they cross over from another platform to Ubuntu. In other words, I
> don't want to use Empathy -- and I don't see why I should *have* to.
> Now we're adding another mechanism to make development for
> cross-platform apps more difficult? I expect some fall-out here, and
> the user is the one who will get the bad end of it, when devs don't get
> around to or can't be bothered to support this "no notification area"
> concept.

Yes, this will be a test of our API design, documentation, and
evangelism skills. Some cross-platform applications, such as Dropbox and
Transmission, have already switched.

> 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".

No. That kind of notification can be achieved by the window requesting

> 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...

The main difference is that every item will behave like a menu, whereas
in the notification area items could do anything they liked.

> Point (3) brings me to wanting to support the idea of a notification
> area bridge, since the spec just currently creates more work for
> application developers who already have a notification area icon in
> place -- and more effort for people who have abstracted notification
> icons for cross-platform development.

I don't understand how that would work. Let's say your application has a
notification area icon that opens a simple menu on left click, a complex
menu on right click, and a window on double-click. (Quite a few
notification area items on Windows work like this.) How would the bridge
handle them?

> Also, I can see how the notification area applet will probably never
> die, but the users who still want it will have to install it on top of
> the default installation to handle all the apps which haven't moved
> over to align themselves with Ubuntuism.

Once it is removed, it will not be possible to re-add the notification
area applet (or any other applet) to the Unity panel.

> On a side note, the Win7 handling of notification icons is great here:
> you see what you want; icons which have something to say appear for a
> short while and are hidden again and choosing what to see is a simple
> drag-n-drop operation -- quite well done from the company we all love
> to hate, to be honest.

I think I explained pretty well what's wrong with the Windows 7 system.

- -- 
Matthew Paul Thomas
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


More information about the Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list