Default layout of the GNOME Classic session

Jeremy Bicha jbicha at
Sun Apr 22 20:16:50 UTC 2012

On 21 April 2012 17:18, Benjamin Drung <bdrung at> wrote:
> I like to discuss the default layout of the GNOME Classic session and
> get some consensus about it. The GNOME Classic session from Ubuntu 12.04
> (precise) differs from the GNOME 2 sessions from earlier Ubuntu
> releases:
> 1) It has no Ubuntu logo in the top panel on the left side.

I just found out that this isn't too difficult to re-enable. A small
amount of branding is good and every GNOME2 distro included it so I
think this is worth doing. I requested this as

> 2) It has no "System" menu in the top panel.

That's an upstream decision and it'd be a small headache to revert.
With GNOME 3, you're supposed to use either System Settings or look in
Applications>System Tools.

> 3) It has no Firefox launcher in the top panel.
> 4) It has no Help launcher in the top panel.

The Help launcher wasn't in default Ubuntu 10.10 either. More
importantly, there are two versions of Help, help:ubuntu-help explains
Unity; help:gnome-help explains GNOME Shell; there is no help for the
GNOME Classic session.

Having only one app get special treatment with a default launcher
doesn't make sense. Chromium is almost as popular as Firefox so the
Firefox launcher won't be useful to a third of our users by my
estimate. And I don't know about you, but I always have my web browser
open; I don't need a launcher for it to be always visible.

> 5) It has no trash icon in the bottom panel.
> I propose to add the trash icon back to the bottom panel. IMO, there are
> more reason for it than against it:
> + We had the trash icon in the panel in previous releases.
> + We have a big trash icon in Unity.
> + It takes one instead of four clicks to reach trash.
> - GNOME does not have the trash icon by default.
> What do you think? Should we add the trash icon back? Should we get the
> GNOME Classic session look more like the GNOME 2 session?

I managed to open the Trash in 3 clicks by using the Places menu. I
don't think average users use the Trash very much to justify
cluttering the default look for it. I use my Downloads and Documents
folders all the time though but those don't get prominent placement.

For 11.10, we shipped gnome-panel essentially untouched. For 12.04 I
made two changes to the default layout to improve the usability. I
replaced the upstream notification area with the indicators since the
notification area is very broken. I also added the show-desktop button
since it's silly to require a keyboard shortcut to look at the desktop
(especially since Ubuntu has desktop icons enabled by default). For
12.04 we have all four corners acting as "hot corners" with useful
functions. I'm hesitant to add anything else by default unless it's
useful to most people. And if it is that useful, it should be proposed
to GNOME or Debian.

> BTW, there is one merge proposal [1] that fixes the theming bugs #955376
> and #981289.

Thanks, I'm going to follow up on getting the theme problems fixed now
that we've identified possible solutions.

Unfortunately, gnome-panel uses gsettings a bit more creatively (look
for panel-default-layout.layout) so it's not as easy to override
settings as it would be in other packages. It sounds like a pain to
set that up and I don't think there's a need for it.


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