All my systray indicator applets have suddenly disappeared from my classic Gnome desktop.

Because I'm "old school" (or, depending on your point of view, a fossil) I simply can't get used to the more recent Ubuntu user interfaces. It feels like I'm trying to paint my house through the keyhole. Give me a proper menu and taskbar any day! Not to mention windows that can be resized any time, and a 2x3 workspace switcher that feels like multiple desktops, and other such essentials so sanity. Let's face it, a user interface that has to rely on a search feature as the easiest way to start applications has problems.

Which is why I used the classic Gnome desktop (gnome-flashback) on Ubuntu 18.04. This, admittedly, has stability problems. Crashes after resume from suspend are the most frequent symptom. Annoying, but still I find that easier to live with than the default UI.

But this morning suddenly all my indicator applets on the right hand side of the top bar disappeared. Sound, session, power, network manager... all gone:

enter image description here

So now I can't even shutdown or reboot the system in a controlled manner, let alone switch networks or anything else like that.

And I'm stumped. The applicator processes themselves seem to be running:

rankvw@dellfvw:~$ ps -ef | grep indicator
frankvw   2089  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-datetime/indicator-datetime-service
frankvw   2090  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-keyboard/indicator-keyboard-service --use-gtk
frankvw   2091  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-bluetooth/indicator-bluetooth-service
frankvw   2093  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-messages/indicator-messages-service
frankvw   2094  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-sound/indicator-sound-service
frankvw   2097  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-printers/indicator-printers-service
frankvw   2102  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-power/indicator-power-service
frankvw   2104  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-application/indicator-application-service
frankvw   2108  1859  0 11:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-session/indicator-session-service
frankvw   2586  2112  1 11:10 ?        00:00:00 indicator-multiload
frankvw   2911  2827  0 11:10 pts/0    00:00:00 grep --color=auto indicator

But nothing shows. And I'm not sure where to go from here.

Suggestions, anyone?

UPDATE: In /var/log/syslog I find the following:

Jul 12 14:07:25 dellfvw gnome-panel.desktop[2386]: Entity: line 1: parser error : Start tag expected, '<' not found
Jul 12 14:07:25 dellfvw gnome-panel.desktop[2386]: ºX/9<96>þìGéçk{e<8f>V<8a>ÛvîûTÿ#033Kj¦³þþ¹<9f>çëô#031#024<88>i#003@ǦäÁÔÜ#027<8f>#026WòõÊc#030¥~¹ c#024#014êÌ#006e#030 }<9a>°#023#036#011#033<89>äÈ£®

Which suggests something has been corrupted. But what, or where?

  • Hmm... not answer, but you're "old school" and want the older GNOME experience, you may want to give Ubuntu MATE a try. – pomsky Jul 12 at 11:26
  • I wish there was a way to give Gnome 3 the look and feel of Gnome 2. :) There are definitely advantages to using 3 over 2, but I simply can't live with 3. – Frank van Wensveen Jul 13 at 8:02
  • And neither can Linus, apparently: zdnet.com/article/… – Frank van Wensveen Jul 13 at 8:08
  • 1
    Hmmm... but he kinda had less negative opinion later on: zdnet.com/article/… – pomsky Jul 13 at 8:18
  • Thanks for that! Let me see if I can use the Gnome extensions to make Gnome 3 easier to live with. :) – Frank van Wensveen Jul 13 at 12:26
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I found the solution here:

dconf reset -f /org/gnome/gnome-panel/
killall gnome-panel

Which did the trick.

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