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I would like to put the top panel in the left. It would became a more beautiful thing if I could change the "Application", "Places" and "System" menus texts by 3 icons. Is it possible? How?

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@user4124 i am using Linux for some time now but never tried to change something to my needs in the source code. I always was "scared" that it takes too much time to get into it, but your instructions made it seem so easy, so I gave it a try and it worked. So thanks a lot for that. Cheers, Jens – user21434 Jul 11 '11 at 9:17
up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, that's not possible.

As an alternative, you can right click the panel, select "Add to Panel" and choose "Main Menu" to get a single icon, containing the Applications menu as well as places and system:

enter image description here

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It is possible to change those labels to icons. You would need to make small adaptations to the source code, recompile the gnome-panel package and finally install.

The source code for gnome-panel, with the modifications for Ubuntu, is found at

All Applications, Places and System are GtkWidget objects, which you can add an icon instead of the label.

So, the steps are

  1. Get the gnome-panel source for your Ubuntu version with apt-get source gnome-panel.
  2. Make your modifications. Here it needs programming. You can find small tutorials on how to add icons to the menu item, compile them and learn how it is done. The code to gnome-panel should be about 6-12 lines of code.
  3. See on how to compile. In a nutshell you enter the gnome-panel directory that was created with apt-get source gnome-panel and then run dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -uc -b. Several .deb packages will be created that you can install with dpkg -i *.deb.
  4. Finally, logout and log in again to see your changes.

Perform the above steps first by changing the label 'Applications' to something like 'MyApplications;-)' so that you can see this process works for you.

You can return back to the original Ubuntu packages by performing a system update. Quite painless. Good luck!

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