Since I heard that indicator applets are going to replace the notification area, I wondered what was going to happen to applications that use the notification area and don't have an indicator applet? Is the Ubuntu team going to write an indicator applet for every application out there? You can't expect the developers of applications to add that Ubuntu-only task to their list.

Don't get me wrong, I love the indicator applets. But I'm a little concerned about this.

  • I am thinking abbout switching back to 8.04, because I hate the icons of programs that i will never use or touch and that i can not easily get rid of in that damned indicator applet!
    – user8531
    Jan 8, 2011 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


We've been working on a transition plan for a while now. The desktop team put together a list of applications that are affected by the transition and people have started to post design recommendations, filing bugs, and fixing applications. Any help talking to application developers of your favorite applications is always welcome!

KDE applications all work (application indicators are based on the same KSNI technology) and everything we ship on the CD is ported. Many applications are also just porting to the technology on their own. Application Indicators specifically have a fallback mechanism in place so that application authors can use them without having to break on systems that use the old notification area.

In Unity when I use an application that doesn't use application indicators remember that the icon for the application is sitting in the launcher too, so it's not like it totally disappears from your view, it's just not sitting in the top right of the panel.

For 11.04 there is a whitelist for applications that need to use the area. Users can modify this list to add legacy apps if they require it.

(Omar has information on what will happen to other apps.)

  • 2
    Instead of having both NA and IA in the transition, why doesn't IA just present the same mechanism that NA offers to applications (alongside its new behaviour)? So when an application says "I want to display an icon in NA!", IA replies and handles the icon.
    – Oli
    Nov 4, 2010 at 16:44
  • 1
    Part of the point fo AppIndicators is to limit everything into a menu so it's more consistent and usable instead of a free for all: wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopExperienceTeam/ApplicationIndicators Nov 4, 2010 at 18:37

"The menu bar should contain a notification area equivalent, whitelisted to contain only notification area items inserted by Wine or Java applications."

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MenuBar#Vestigial notification area


In addition to what Jorge said, it's important to note that libappindicator includes a fallback to GtkStatusIcon if the platform doesn't support indicators. So any gnome application could use libappindicator, and they would still have full support on platforms other than Ubuntu.

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