With the removal of notification-area, what program now handles those few applications still using it?

My use case is the following: I have a legacy application in my start up applications that requires the notification area to be running before it can start up (otherwise I get an error about no system tray being around). Therefor I had written a little bash script that checked every few seconds whether notification-area was already in the running programs and if so, it would start up the program.

What program would be the new one to check for?

PS: I realize I could also add a sleep for x seconds and then just run the program regardless, but I see that as an ugly workaround.

Note: This question isn't about allowing the icon to be shown, I have set that setting to all the first day I started using Unity. This is about my program starting up before the program that handles the notification area and thus failing because there is simply no systray yet.

2 Answers 2


Unity actually is the program that runs the system tray. If you can read code, you may be able to see it for yourself here.

Supposedly gnome-session 3 will automatically run startup in different phases so the panel & desktop would load before any applications which might fix your issue.

  • Based on this, I went on to assume that the process in question is unity-panel-service. Checking for this before starting up the program seems to be enough, but that could also be due to it simply starting up late enough. Either way, marked as solved. May 3, 2011 at 12:16

I think gsettings handles it.

To enable the Notification Area (Systray) for all applications, run the following command:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['all']"

for gui:

sudo apt-get install dconf-editor


  • This is not what I am looking for. gsettings is a backend for various settings for a program. What I want is the name of the program actually showing the notification icons. For example, indicator-datetime is the program that has to run to show the clock in the panel. Similarly there must be a program that runs to show those notification icons. May 2, 2011 at 12:01
  • Ok. I see. I am not aware of that program. Having said that, I am using an application, davmail, which does not have updated app-indicator icons. The davmail icon only shows up if I set the gsettings to 'All'. This leads me to believe that whatever program is behind the notification, its still there, only restricted to show whitelisted applications.
    – Ubuntuser
    May 2, 2011 at 12:13
  • Well, the program used to be called notification-area if I remember correctly, which now doesn't run at all. So there has been some change under the hood, it either got renamed or replaced by a similar program. That new name is the one I need. May 2, 2011 at 12:19
  • indicator-applet-complete may be the one. The description here says " Indicator-applet is an applet to display information from various applications consistently in the GNOME panel. This instance will load all indicators in a single panel applet."
    – Ubuntuser
    May 2, 2011 at 12:22
  • Hang on! i think this one is more appropriate. indicator-application : A library and indicator to take menus from applications and place them in the panel.
    – Ubuntuser
    May 2, 2011 at 12:24

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