Ubuntu to kill its notification area (system tray)

Ubuntu will soon begin to phase out its traditional "system tray" in favor of a new overhauled menu  and notification system. Citing inconsistent behavior and weak notification ability, the Canonical Design Team has announced that the current notification area will be dropped in favor of more consistent and user friendly status menus.

The problem: A weak and inconsistent notification area

To explain its decision, the team went back to the origins of the current notification area that many operating systems incorporate. Originally conceived in Windows 95, the notification area began its life as a place to see the time and adjust the volume, but soon started to become known as the “system tray” as Microsoft allowed developers to use “systray.exe" for their own applications. 

As much as Microsoft has tried to dispel the term “system tray” in favor of “notification area", the Ubuntu team cite two main reasons for it still being used. The first, as stated above, developers are able to use the notification area for uses that aren’t even notifications (such as hiding an application to its tray icon). For the second, they state that the use of extremely small icons do not effectively alert the user other than small case scenarios such as “you have new mail” or “your battery charge is at 10%”. 

Microsoft’s solution to the second problem came with the Windows 2000 and the introduction of notification balloons. While they did provide more detailed and noticeable notifications, the balloons floated on top of other windows "regardless of whether you need to pay attention to them right now”. Canonical addressed this issue by incorporating Notify OSD bubbles as a replacement for notification bubbles. Notify OSD presents translucent bubble overlays which can be clicked through so that the active content isn’t blocked. Multiple notifications through this system can also be queued by the software to prevent flooding.

Notification balloons vs Notify OSD

 

  

Going back to the first issue, third party developers today have exacerbated the situation by needlessly adding their application icons into the notification area. Applications such as VLC and Pidgin store an icon in the notification area for non-notification purposes. These applications usually provide a “system tray” icon as another means of hiding the application to avoid taskbar clutter, but Ubuntu is taking a strong hand approach to end this behavior as it introduces conflicting window management conventions. 

Application icons in the notification area also introduce further inconsistencies in the way that they handle mouse clicks: "some items open a menu on left click, some open a menu on right click, some do both, some open a window, and at least one reliably disappears when you click it. It’s hopelessly inconsistent — and as long as we continue with the current protocol, it always will be inconsistent."

The solution: Nuke the entire site from orbit — it’s the only way to be sure

The Ubuntu team has been progressively depreciating the traditional notification area since 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. In 9.04, new software updates were presented by just launching the updates window rather than alerting users through the notification area. In 9.10 Karmic Koala, the transition to a new menu system was introduced with a new universal messaging menu for all chat or messaging applications to use. A new session menu was also introduced to combine the previous fast user switching menu and shutdown dialog button. 

10.04 Lucid Lynx brought a new sound menu to replace the standard Gnome volume applet. Also introduced was a new “me” menu for setting instant message statuses and broadcasting to social networks like Twitter and Facebook.  

    

10.10 Maverick Meerket will introduce some of the largest advancements to the new menu system. A new power menu will replace the standard Gnome Power Manager applet, a new network menu will replace the Network Manager applet, a new time and date menu will replace the standard Gnome clock applet, and a revamped sound menu will provide a central control area for music players.

The underlying pattern from these examples illustrates how Ubuntu is transitioning from the age old notification area to a single set menu system that integrates the OS with its third party applications.

"An e-mail, instant messaging, feed reading, or similar applications should integrate into the messaging menu. An instant messaging client should respond to status changes in the “me” menu. And a music player should integrate into the sound menu.”

Applications should no longer have an icon in the notification area for minimizing but should either integrate themselves with the new menus, use a custom status menu, or simply use the regular minimize function. When a user clicks on a menu now, he or she can just scrub left and right to switch between different menus. 

Rhythmbox, a music player, using a custom status menu

Ubuntu plans to make the complete transition about a year from now with Ubuntu 11.04. Ubuntu’s netbook edition will actually depreciate the notification area even earlier with 10.10. 

 

The modern comparison: Mac OS X

While there are several differences, Apple’s very own desktop operating system offers a similar menu and notifications approach that Canonical Team has outlined here. Mac OS X doesn’t include any notification balloons like Windows and instead relies on translucent notifications and the Dock for alerting the user. 

When changing the volume, adjusting the display or keyboard brightness, and ejecting a disc, Mac OS X presents similar translucent confirmation bubbles; dock bounces and badges are also used to notify the user. Ubuntu’s Notify OSD provides a larger set of notifications by default that OS X users can only get through a third party application called Growl.

Mac OS X

    

Ubuntu

 

Likewise, the far right side of the OS X menubar is not a “system tray” but rather a collection of “menu extras” that provide quick access for adjusting settings or viewing at a glance information. Though there are menubar applications for OS X, the majority of standard applications do not minimize into an icon on the menubar as applications can in Windows or Ubuntu. The difference though is that because Apple does not limit the use of its menubar for third party developers, inconsistencies in window management and mouse clicks described above can be inherited depending on the app.

Ubuntu is actually taking the menu approach one step deeper though as third party applications can integrate into one universal menu. Here’s an example of the messaging menu showing access to instant messaging, email, and IRC:

And the Me Menu showing different chat and broadcast accounts as one. Users can update their status for all accounts right within a single menu:

Images courtesy of the Canonical Design Team and Wikipedia.

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These guys seem to be pushing so many things that nobody likes. I've felt like ditching for a while but couldnt be bothered. If they keep changing so many things, I might just get bothered. Not that anyone here or even there would care

Kreuger said,
These guys seem to be pushing so many things that nobody likes. I've felt like ditching for a while but couldnt be bothered. If they keep changing so many things, I might just get bothered. Not that anyone here or even there would care

It's funny, because there are plenty of other distros to use. And that's the stuff we'll hear: "If you don't like it, use Fedora or OpenSUSE or something." But the reason it's so frustrating is because at one time most of us thought it was great that Ubuntu had such a good chance of taking Linux mainstream. It's considered synonymous with Linux for many people today, so major changes stand out in the community as something that there's no chance of pushing against. It's open source, but no amount of backlash can actually change anything.

It's the striking reality of FOSS. It really only has the FOSS benefits when it's obscure. As it gets bigger and more widespread, it starts to feel more and more closed off, despite remaining technically open. Success and a closed model definitely go hand in hand.

The Ubuntu team is actualy the only one who is trying to give users a better/easier linux experience. My props to them for that. They are not always right, but they are surely trying.

sanctified said,
The Ubuntu team is actualy the only one who is trying to give users a better/easier linux experience. My props to them for that. They are not always right, but they are surely trying.

ok tell me how does moving the close, minimize buttons to the left give users a better experience? imo, its time to move to opensuse. every ubuntu user should atleast check out opensuse once, to see what they are offering. maybe you will like it. i did.

sanctified said,
The Ubuntu team is actualy the only one who is trying to give users a better/easier linux experience. My props to them for that. They are not always right, but they are surely trying.

Really, the ONLY one, eh? MeeGo and Android would like to have a word with you.

Edited by Joshie, Apr 26 2010, 9:37pm :

Ubuntu 10.4 was a pain to install on one machine. took 6 hours to install. Have a feeling it wasn't compatible with some piece of hardware. Whenever I moved the window it went a little further. Runs fine now. Probably put it on the laptop soon. That one will have to be an upgrade though.. Always liked their battery notification better than Windows. Only one that told me who made the darn laptop battery and how good the battery was. Tells me it was 100 % charged but ever since it was new it was like Fair rating. It's 40 % capacity (poor) now

I'm not crazy about the notification area being replaced by a menu area, it just seems like "this for that" type thinking. I think a far better approach is simply to not allow applications to sit in the system tray/notification area. Only things like battery monitors, IM, volume, etc should be there. Any other programs that wish to use it, would be part of menu for them only.
Either way I don't have a cluttered tray on Linux or on Windows. I prevent most programs from setting up shop in there.

If anything, Ubuntu has copied KDE (not Windows or even OS X), which already uses a similar appproach (but retains the notification tray). However, that has, from what I've seen, been part of the *appeal* of FOSS; there's more than one *standard* way of doing things. (Why else are there multiple window managers/desktop environments/decorators/etc.?)

However, the pushback I'm hearing in this thread just goes to illustrate why Linux distributions (let alone a single distribution) has gained very little desktop traction; once something works for somebody, they want no change at all, come Hades or high water; if anything, there's more resistance to change in a Linux distribution than there is to change in *Windows*!

PGHammer said,
If anything, Ubuntu has copied KDE (not Windows or even OS X), which already uses a similar appproach (but retains the notification tray). However, that has, from what I've seen, been part of the *appeal* of FOSS; there's more than one *standard* way of doing things. (Why else are there multiple window managers/desktop environments/decorators/etc.?)

Good point, I'm curious to see how applications designed to work with the new system will behave in desktop environments that use the traditional system tray like KDE or standard Gnome (although I suspect they'll port the changes upstream)

PGHammer said,
If anything, Ubuntu has copied KDE (not Windows or even OS X), which already uses a similar appproach (but retains the notification tray). However, that has, from what I've seen, been part of the *appeal* of FOSS; there's more than one *standard* way of doing things. (Why else are there multiple window managers/desktop environments/decorators/etc.?)

However, the pushback I'm hearing in this thread just goes to illustrate why Linux distributions (let alone a single distribution) has gained very little desktop traction; once something works for somebody, they want no change at all, come Hades or high water; if anything, there's more resistance to change in a Linux distribution than there is to change in *Windows*!

Well, yeah, Linux users are partially made up of a very vocal group of people who parade around the benefits of FOSS and community, but mostly just hang out in chatrooms and forums so they can type "RTFM N00B" at every question from a beginner. Or parade around the importance of choice above all things, but mock anyone who chooses Windows (or even better: pities them and cries the woes of how the totalitarian Microsoft regime only makes them THINK they want Windows).


Remember, choice is king, as long as you choose open source. Community is king, but only if you're just like the rest of us. Closed source never did anything good for anyone ever. Open source will get you laid and CURE CANCER.


"Everybody wants Linux. They just don't know it yet."

Edited by Joshie, Apr 25 2010, 11:27pm :

Joshie said,

Well, yeah, Linux users are partially made up of a very vocal group of people who parade around the benefits of FOSS and community, but mostly just hang out in chatrooms and forums so they can type "RTFM N00B" at every question from a beginner. Or parade around the importance of choice above all things, but mock anyone who chooses Windows (or even better: pities them and cries the woes of how the totalitarian Microsoft regime only makes them THINK they want Windows).


Remember, choice is king, as long as you choose open source. Community is king, but only if you're just like the rest of us. Closed source never did anything good for anyone ever. Open source will get you laid and CURE CANCER.


"Everybody wants Linux. They just don't know it yet."

Please; I actually *use* Linux (Kubuntu and openSuSE make up two of the three OSes on my triple-boot daily beater, cryptonymed "Mighty Mouse 2.0" due to the Celeron DC and mATX motherboard inside); however, neither distribution has GNOME installed.

Both, instead, use the K Desktop Environment (4.4.2 for Kubuntu, and 4.3.2 for oS 11.2), due to personal preference.

PGHammer said,

Please; I actually *use* Linux (Kubuntu and openSuSE make up two of the three OSes on my triple-boot daily beater, cryptonymed "Mighty Mouse 2.0" due to the Celeron DC and mATX motherboard inside); however, neither distribution has GNOME installed.

Both, instead, use the K Desktop Environment (4.4.2 for Kubuntu, and 4.3.2 for oS 11.2), due to personal preference.

I...I'm not really sure what you're responding to. I didn't really remark on KDE at all, let alone Gnome. My post was almost entirely about the hypocrisy of the FOSS community holding it back, and the reactionary conservatism of the userbase that hinders progress.

hey ubuntu guys! i have an idea for you.
why don't you leave the interface alone and iron out all the remaining bugs and driver support?
if the design team wants radical changes, make a new version called 'ubuntu, osx edition'. seriously, they are not thinking about what is familiar, easy for users. they just want some high ideal of 'consistency'. then they just rip off icons and notification styles from mac. i dont think ubuntu even needs a ui team. they just need the os to be functional and usable, and it is perfectly usable and functional right now. the only thing left is to remove the bugs.

perryizgr8 said,
hey ubuntu guys! i have an idea for you.
why don't you leave the interface alone and iron out all the remaining bugs and driver support?
if the design team wants radical changes, make a new version called 'ubuntu, osx edition'. seriously, they are not thinking about what is familiar, easy for users. they just want some high ideal of 'consistency'. then they just rip off icons and notification styles from mac. i dont think ubuntu even needs a ui team. they just need the os to be functional and usable, and it is perfectly usable and functional right now. the only thing left is to remove the bugs.

I have always wondered why Linux looks so dated in comparison with Windows or Mac. Now i know why, because most linux users like you don't give a **** about looks. I assume you are one of those people who just prefer the "Windows Classic" kind of look rather than Aero.

chadsss said,

I have always wondered why Linux looks so dated in comparison with Windows or Mac. Now i know why, because most linux users like you don't give a **** about looks. I assume you are one of those people who just prefer the "Windows Classic" kind of look rather than Aero.

the changes ubuntu is making have nothing to do with looks. why did they move the title bar buttons to the left. just give me one good reason.

Very cool, Mac OS X has had it right for some time. That being said, as a power-user I do like my system tray, but I'm sure it'll be sticking with Windows for time so there's nothing to worry about!

I applaud the efforts the Ubuntu team is making, because really, the system tray is an old concept, it doesn't work well and it needs replacing. I already use the messaging menu daily, and it is an excellent way of reducing clutter and grabbing your attention. We'll see if this works out in the end.

Also, nicely written article, the author obviously took his time to research this.

Soldiers33 said,
this looks a lot like windows

Stop taking drugs, it looks nothing like Windows.

A lot of the visual cues Ubuntu/Gnome are using come from Macs

I've been doing this for a while now using DWM and Notification-Daemon, but instead of 350mb of Gnome libs to achieve it my solution takes up 1.5mb.

08993 said,
I've been doing this for a while now using DWM and Notification-Daemon, but instead of 350mb of Gnome libs to achieve it my solution takes up 1.5mb.

Did you just make that 350mb stat up?

I try and turn off all those little icons in the notification area. I also regulate what is loaded at startup by checking msconfig if I suspect something is loading that shouldn't. All in all, the only icons that are left are useful for me and I understand them just fine in Windows and in Mac.

But it is still a problem. I'm generally angry when a program I install has one of those system tray icons needlessly. Having a much stricter API for these things seems like a good idea to me.

Shadrack said,
I try and turn off all those little icons in the notification area. I also regulate what is loaded at startup by checking msconfig if I suspect something is loading that shouldn't. All in all, the only icons that are left are useful for me and I understand them just fine in Windows and in Mac.

But it is still a problem. I'm generally angry when a program I install has one of those system tray icons needlessly. Having a much stricter API for these things seems like a good idea to me.

Same here. The ONLY icon in my tray is my firewall. This is in XP Pro and Windows 7 Ultimate. I DESPISE anything other than the clock and firewall down there.

I love the icons in the right corner at the bottom. In *nix/linux systems you see many toolbars or menu's at the top of the window but I never look at the top. My eyes always look at the bottom of the screen, for me it's not natural to look at toolbars and menu's that are placed at the top.

nifke said,
I love the icons in the right corner at the bottom. In *nix/linux systems you see many toolbars or menu's at the top of the window but I never look at the top. My eyes always look at the bottom of the screen, for me it's not natural to look at toolbars and menu's that are placed at the top.

Just put the bar on the bottom, not that big a deal

nifke said,
I love the icons in the right corner at the bottom. In *nix/linux systems you see many toolbars or menu's at the top of the window but I never look at the top. My eyes always look at the bottom of the screen, for me it's not natural to look at toolbars and menu's that are placed at the top.
And, if you are from England, you would find it "natural" to drive on the left side of the road. It doesn't mean that one side or the other is the best side to drive on.

Just that you find yourself familiar with what you are constantly exposed to.

The evolution from "system tray" into "notification area" looks like a good idea (on paper), but they have to be very careful here. When Lucid was still early in development, simply moving the buttons from right to left caused a minor uproar. Unless they base this new system on something unfamiliar but easy to adjust to (e.g. "balloon tips"), people are going to get confused and give up early. Linux is still something most people wouldn't even think about outside of colleges, so there's always a little bit of doubt and skepticism at the first step.

Oh, and Lucid needs more gloss. I love the earthen tones (gray/black), but they look washed out and a little dull. It's like a plastic toy left out in the sun too long.

It wasn't just a minor uproar, hehe. There was a lot of frustration over it, and especially over the fact that they didn't make a toggle for the setting anywhere. In other words, they're on the left, and they're staying on the left unless you know how to play with config files or a terminal. Want to use the new themes with the icons set to the right in min-max-close order? Tough cookies. They're drawn so they only look right in close-min-max. Back to an old theme for you.

The initial uproar died down because the people who download daily builds are the people who will settle for doing it by hand. When it goes gold, expect another round of criticisms from those who waited.

The Ubuntu team's attitude that they know what's best for us and we'll all just "grow to like it eventually" is disturbingly Apple.

Joshie said,
The Ubuntu team's attitude that they know what's best for us and we'll all just "grow to like it eventually" is disturbingly Apple.

+1. And they aren't even doing it right. *sigh*

Wow looks pretty good. If they can make it look as polished and clean as Mac OS(lets face it..Macs look great even if theyre a giant ripoff)...id totally start using ubuntu more.

I wasn't aware that Windows 95 kicked off the system tray concept. I went back through old GUI pics to see and it seems to be the case. Go figure.

Joshie said,
I wasn't aware that Windows 95 kicked off the system tray concept. I went back through old GUI pics to see and it seems to be the case. Go figure.

The invention of the Taskbar, Start Menu, Notification Tray -- All from Windows 95.
The invention of the Quick Launch Bar and Show Desktop Button -- All from Windows 98.

And never miss reading this and see the early designs of the Task Bar: http://www.sigchi.org/chi96/pr...sbrief/Sullivan/kds_txt.htm

If Ubuntu would change a lot of things and make it more usable after install more people might give it a chance. The problem is it looks like something from back in the 90s when you install. Linx geeks would say you can change it after reading numerous forum posts but the average user isn't interested in that sort of thing.

Deihmos said,
If Ubuntu would change a lot of things and make it more usable after install more people might give it a chance. The problem is it looks like something from back in the 90s when you install. Linx geeks would say you can change it after reading numerous forum posts but the average user isn't interested in that sort of thing.

Most 'desktop' users cant be assed to spend hours getting Linux to work on your hardware set. Finding drivers, installing them etc.
Even tho thats easier nowadays, it can still be a bitch to do.
Or the best thing, when your linux OS breaks down? Where to get support? Its not like you can call the Ubuntu company for help or information. Linux support is allot IRC or Forum based. Where my experience is, for my love of renaming the kernel to something 'custom' is that when they ask for your specs and your kernel name is NOT usual, they break down and lock up, not knowing anything and just tell you to go suck it.

As long as the overal Linux community are acting like total dicks who think they are BETTER then everyone else, yet dont really help others if they need it. Linux will remain small.

The overall Linux community attitude is just awfull.

Windows 7 does it well. It was also very similar in XP and Vista. It hides all inactive icons unless there is a notification. You can also force icons to either always appear or always be hidden. With the arrow in 7 it pops up a little window containing all the icons instead of how it works on XP where the notification area gets temporarily expanded to show all the icons.
At any time other than when there is a notification, my Windows 7 only shows clock, Network, Sound, and battery. Very clean.

mrp04 said,
Windows 7 does it well. It was also very similar in XP and Vista. It hides all inactive icons unless there is a notification. You can also force icons to either always appear or always be hidden. With the arrow in 7 it pops up a little window containing all the icons instead of how it works on XP where the notification area gets temporarily expanded to show all the icons.
At any time other than when there is a notification, my Windows 7 only shows clock, Network, Sound, and battery. Very clean.

I find that I have to set Action Center to hide when there are no notifications. Otherwise it always shows by default. Does it hide itself eventually after all, and I'm just pouncing on it too quickly? I'm not about to format to find out. :]

Joshie said,

I find that I have to set Action Center to hide when there are no notifications. Otherwise it always shows by default. Does it hide itself eventually after all, and I'm just pouncing on it too quickly? I'm not about to format to find out. :]

I don't know, I just move it to hide right away. You can easily move the icons and set them to hide/show by dragging them. If you grab one of the icons and move over the up arrow, the hidden icons appear and you can drop it into that box. You can also arrange the icons the way you like them, for instance I like the order (from right to left) to be clock, wireless, sound, power

mrp04 said,
Windows 7 does it well. It was also very similar in XP and Vista. It hides all inactive icons unless there is a notification. You can also force icons to either always appear or always be hidden. With the arrow in 7 it pops up a little window containing all the icons instead of how it works on XP where the notification area gets temporarily expanded to show all the icons.
At any time other than when there is a notification, my Windows 7 only shows clock, Network, Sound, and battery. Very clean.

i have mixed feelings about the way win7 deals with the system tray. on the one hand it is very clean, but on the other hand it defeats at a glance status updates on certain tray icons by default, and requires an extra click.
that being said i minimize the use of apps that have system tray icons. i have only 3 or 4 in mine right now. i cringe at people's pc's that have 5 or more icons in there all on start up. especially on lower end prebuilt pc's that seem to com bundled with these kinds of programs preinstalled.

treemonster said,

i have mixed feelings about the way win7 deals with the system tray. on the one hand it is very clean, but on the other hand it defeats at a glance status updates on certain tray icons by default, and requires an extra click.
that being said i minimize the use of apps that have system tray icons. i have only 3 or 4 in mine right now. i cringe at people's pc's that have 5 or more icons in there all on start up. especially on lower end prebuilt pc's that seem to com bundled with these kinds of programs preinstalled.

Haha I have 14 icons hidden in my system tray at startup. I currently have 21 in that box. I love having 4GB of RAM. I don't have to worry about that.

treemonster said,

i have mixed feelings about the way win7 deals with the system tray. on the one hand it is very clean, but on the other hand it defeats at a glance status updates on certain tray icons by default, and requires an extra click.
that being said i minimize the use of apps that have system tray icons. i have only 3 or 4 in mine right now. i cringe at people's pc's that have 5 or more icons in there all on start up. especially on lower end prebuilt pc's that seem to com bundled with these kinds of programs preinstalled.


you can chose wheter to hide the icons or not? You can completely turn off the hiding of icons..
Geesh, that hard to know your way around windows to tweak these kind of things to suit your needs? Its not a friggin mac

Hmm, if it only wasn't Ubuntu, the well-known fail distribution... anyway, I like the approach. (On Windows, the number of applications in tray is not good either, every Windows version brings new stuff which hangs there, so I don't even need extra applications to be highly annoyed of all that...)

How is it a fail distribution? Because noobs to linux can come along and use it with little to no configuration? I'd say that was win.

Pauleh said,
How is it a fail distribution? Because noobs to linux can come along and use it with little to no configuration? I'd say that was win.

Hi, your PC has 869.45MB of RAM with your GFX Card having 1.238GB or on-board RAM and your 120GB H/D having 120GB of storage space available, make sure when you go into the shop and ask to upgrade your ram, you ask for a 526MB stick of RAM NOT 512!

n_K said,

Hi, your PC has 869.45MB of RAM with your GFX Card having 1.238GB or on-board RAM and your 120GB H/D having 120GB of storage space available, make sure when you go into the shop and ask to upgrade your ram, you ask for a 526MB stick of RAM NOT 512!

Sprechen Sie Englisch?

SierraSonic said,
I live by the system tray, removing it cripples the way I use my computer.

I like the current balance that the Superbar gives me.

Well lucky for you it's not Windows they're removing it from.

JamesWeb said,
Well lucky for you it's not Windows they're removing it from.
I know that, I used it in Linux also. Removing it will make that experience worse for me also.

But what's going to happen with the support by third party developers. Are they going to have to cater specially to ubuntu's demands or will there be inconsistency with some using the system tray, some on the menus. Following on with that, if you don't want to use the default IM client for example (it's basic and crap) you're going to break the smoothness of the desktop by using a different app that might not have ubuntu integration.

I think a majority of the better known applications have Ubuntu *.deb releases anyway. When I used to use Ubuntu (version 6.10 I think) I found when I went to download software that wasn't already in the repo there would usually be a specific download for Ubuntu anyway.

Moustacha said,
But what's going to happen with the support by third party developers. Are they going to have to cater specially to ubuntu's demands or will there be inconsistency with some using the system tray, some on the menus. Following on with that, if you don't want to use the default IM client for example (it's basic and crap) you're going to break the smoothness of the desktop by using a different app that might not have ubuntu integration.

Ubuntu has a big enough following that developers will cater for it. They're in the position to make these changes and I think its good that they are. There are still several elements of the desktop that are the way they are because "they've always been that way" - despite the fact the way people use computers now has changed significantly.

I'm a little confused. The only difference between Windows' notification bubbles and these alternatives is that the alternatives are translucent, right? It's confusing to read something that seems to be saying "it doesn't use notification bubbles, it uses translucent notification bubbles". Just wanted to be sure.

Joshie said,
I'm a little confused. The only difference between Windows' notification bubbles and these alternatives is that the alternatives are translucent, right? It's confusing to read something that seems to be saying "it doesn't use notification bubbles, it uses translucent notification bubbles". Just wanted to be sure.

In windows, you have a bubble and a corresponding tray icon.
New Ubuntu, no tray icon... well no TRAY period.

You're confused because they could just said "we cloned growl" but instead they wrote a whole article about it.

For me the "one icon for all apps" thing seems to be a step backward, it became harder to tell which app is running and where the notifications came from. The tray problem is present on Windows not because it's a bad implementation, but because there were simply too many bloatwares running on the background. I've never had any problem with tray area on Ubuntu or Mac OS X unless it's a netbook I'm dealing with.

Edited by tonyunreal, Apr 25 2010, 3:45am :

cybertimber2008 said,

In windows, you have a bubble and a corresponding tray icon.
New Ubuntu, no tray icon... well no TRAY period.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like there's still a tray, but it's being sorted into something like tray 'folders', where there are certain tray icons now that applications can attach themselves to, rather than having their own dedicated icon. It's essentially the difference between, for example, the context menu on a Win7 superbar icon, and clicking Start and accessing that same program's jumplist from the start menu.

While this might seem like a good organizational idea for keeping the tray clean, I'm wondering if this will ultimately wind up a bunch of programs creating submenus, and just how different would that be from clicking the little up-arrow in Windows' tray and accessing hidden tray icons from there?

I'm not criticizing Ubuntu's step, I'm just wondering whether or not it's really solving anything.

/windows trays always seem to get messiest from DRIVERS installing useless mini control panel applets to the tray
//for the love of pr0n, stop putting video/audio icons in our trays! totally one of those things I have to disable for my sanity...

tonyunreal said,
You're confused because they could just said "we cloned growl" but instead they wrote a whole article about it.

i was going to say... all the ubuntu guys did was clone growl...

Its more like trying to centralize the functionality through a more rigorous and consistent API. But it does seem like just another notification area.

I'm not sure how this doesn't break some things from working though. Does it? If so that might be more what the "kill" means in the article title. Which might not be a bad thing.

tonyunreal said,
You're confused because they could just said "we cloned growl" but instead they wrote a whole article about it.

For me the "one icon for all apps" thing seems to be a step backward, it became harder to tell which app is running and where the notifications came from. The tray problem is present on Windows not because it's a bad implementation, but because there were simply too many bloatwares running on the background. I've never had any problem with tray area on Ubuntu or Mac OS X unless it's a netbook I'm dealing with.

I approve of this post.
In windows apps abuse the tray icon to death, so they decided to hide all the non-system tray icons by default in windows 7, something I'm thankful for.