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I am using the Mate Desktop Environment v-1.4.1 and having a Mate-Menu applet in the bottom panel: Shutdown [ICON] Applications Places System. See screenshot below.

Mate Desktop Environment

Is there any way to change or remove the [ICON] on the left of the Applications menu?

Where does Mate take this from? I noticed the inon changes when using different icon-themes but I don't understand how to customize only this single icon.

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What icon? Shut down or Gentoo? :) – ZDroid Jan 5 '13 at 13:40
Sorry: the black-ish Gentoo icon, yes. – 5chdn Jan 5 '13 at 13:45

It is theme dependent. For example, if you are using AwokenDark icons, you can check which icon the start-here symbolic icon points to, with

$ ls -l ~/.icons/AwOkenDark/clear/24x24/places/start-here.png
lrwxrwxrwx 1 user user 35 nov 24 08:37 /home/user/.icons/AwOkenDark/clear/24x24
/places/start-here.png -> ../start-here/start-here-gentoo3.png

you can change the symbolic link to point to another image from the start-here directory in the theme, for example start-here-ubuntu1.png.

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just go in theme panel edit and icons tab and chose the icons pack you want to use

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