Something we have been spending some time working on in this cycle has been fixing the mess that is the system tray. This is based upon an awesome specification submitted to Freedesktop by KDE. The spec has been implemented by KDE, we have written an implementation for the GNOME panel and it shipped in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Alpha 2.

This work has a range of benefits:

  • Better usability: no more confusing mix of left and right click menu options.
  • Multiple indicators can be scrubbed: click once and move your mouse between them instead of having to click multiple times.
  • Icons are properly spaced.
  • Separate panel icons can be specified which helps improve theming.
  • Better KDE and GNOME integration.

I have blogged about this work before, but I had not yet seen the last bullet in action. Here, my friends, is the KDE application Kopete running in GNOME having it’s indicator rendered using GTK menus and respecting GTK icons where appropriate:

Of course, the equivilent happens running GNOME/GTK+ applications in KDE. Rocking!

We have also started adding application indicator support to many of the applications we ship in Ubuntu, and of course these patches are going upstream as they are written. Over the next week or so patches for Brasero, gnome-bluetooth, gnome-control-center, Vino, gnome-disk-utility, and gnome-power-manager will be sent upstream, and we have already sent Nautilus and Rhythmbox patches upstream. We have also seen the community create application indicator patches for Transmission, LottaNZB, Lernid and more.

If you would like to add this rocking support for your app, take a look at this guide and feel free to hang out in #ayatana on Freenode.

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