I am new to Unity thanks to my Natty upgrade the other day. While I like some of the new things, I would also like to reconfigure some stuff.

Can I change the tray apps to use different applications? I'd prefer to stay with my old applications (thunderbird, pidgin) instead of evolution and empathy. I would really like to integrate those that I use into the tray and remove the "references" to the ones that I do not use.

So this is 2 parts a) how to I remove evolution/empathy from the tray (upper right, to clarify: I already removed both from the launcher) b) how to get pidgin/thunderbird to have a tray icon again

Thanks for your help!


To remove Evolution and Empathy, use the Ubuntu Software Center if you don't need or want them anymore, also use it to Install Thunderbird and Pidgin, both of them will integrate into the Messaging menu next to the Indicators area on the top panel automatically without editing any file, and when opened click add to launcher to add them do the Launcher.

  • really that is possible? in the past uninstalling evolution caused half of gnome to get removed with it. it seems to be working.
    – Yashima
    May 4 '11 at 6:35
  • yes it is possible i have done it, when i wanted another email client (claws email), and then i got it back 'cause claws doesn't support very well the Messaging menu May 4 '11 at 6:41
  • the Messaging menu is that Mail icon in the system tray (is that called system tray still -> upper right corner ) ?
    – Yashima
    May 4 '11 at 6:44
  • yes that one exactly ,system tray. well yes and no, first you have the Indicators area, then the Messaging menu then the MeMenu and then the Log out/Power off button May 4 '11 at 6:46
  • Thanks for clarifying those names for me, will sure help with asking future questions more precisely!
    – Yashima
    May 4 '11 at 7:51

To blacklist apps from appearing in the messages menu without uninstalling them or deleting their desktop files, do the following:

  1. Create the blacklist directory by running this command in the terminal:

    mkdir -p ~/.config/indicators/messages/applications-blacklist/
  2. Link the indicator files for the programs you want to blacklist

For evolution, run:

    ln -s /usr/share/indicators/messages/applications/evolution ~/.config/indicators/messages/applications-blacklist/evolution

For empathy:

    ln -s /usr/share/indicators/messages/applications/empathy ~/.config/indicators/messages/applications-blacklist/empathy
  • The corresponding code for blacklisting apps is missing in 13.04 so it doesn't work anymore.
    – speakr
    Jul 11 '13 at 9:09

Go into Software center and remove empathy and install pidgin.

Install Thunderbird and go to preferred applications and set it to your default mail client.


You can get rid of Evolution and Empathy by deleting their desktop files in '/usr/share/indicators/messages/applications'. Pidgin should be in the Messaging Menu by default. If it's not, try making a file called 'pidgin' in '/usr/share/indicators/messages/applications/' with the content "/usr/share/applications/pidgin.desktop". If that doesn't work, reinstall Pidgin. Thunderbird Messaging Menu instructions here.

P.S.: Unity launcher integration for Pidgin and Thunderbird. If that's your thing.

  • thanks for the "ps" although for the thunderbird addon I would have to install the latest alpha (interesting idea), I am checking out pidgin.
    – Yashima
    May 4 '11 at 6:47
  1. Right click on evolution/empathy icon in the launcher and uncheck 'Keep in Launcher'

  2. Click 'Applications' in launcher, locate your application (pidgin/thunderbird) and just drag and drop in the launcher.

  • Not quite I mean the system tray on the upper right, sorry. The launcher is the easy part indeed :(
    – Yashima
    May 4 '11 at 6:21

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