Comment 76 for bug 332945

On Fri, 2009-03-27 at 23:10 +0000, michael perigard wrote:
> Now I've seen the emergence of the "indicator-applet" which seems to me
> to be an attempt at a notification area with standards. I feel like
> there's a bit of wheel re-inventing going on. We already have an area
> for notifications. Most applications I use that can put an icon in the
> notification area but don't really need to give me the option of it
> being there in the first place (banshee, rhythmbox, gajim when there are
> no pending events). If the issue is clutter, get on the individual
> developers. The way I see it, in a desktop without a notification area,
> the only way to notify a user is with a pop-up window. It seems to me
> that the notification area was an attempt at progressing past pop-up
> windows. We've now gone from getting rid of automatically starting a
> program and placing it on the desktop, to a simple, unobtrusive icon in
> an area meant for such notifications, back to popping up the
> application. This seems like a step backwards to fix a problem that has
> come about from cruft and misuse of a good idea, not progress. I feel
> like the developers could have gone and filed bugs with the applications
> that sit in the notification area for no good reason if they felt there
> was clutter that was ruining it's purpose rather than removed an icon
> that seemed at home where it was. Take up the issue where the issue is.

I wanted to say something about your comment that we're reinventing the
notification area. In some ways you're entirely correct. There are
some key points you're missing.

The notification area is fundamentally broken. It's broken in the fact
that what it requires is applications to make a small X window, which
then gets embedded into the panel. This means that the application must
learn what the interface of what is around it is, and conform to that.
There is no reasonable way for applications to learn how all the
different panels work, and make custom behavior for all of them. What
is better is if the applications export the data they want to appear
there, and leave the rendering of that data to the panel itself. Then
it will be consistent with the UI concepts that are being used.

Secondly, on most panels, and this is especially true of netbooks, it's
unreasonable to think that every application could have their own little
icon. There's simply not enough space. At that point we need to start
grouping them, and grouping them by features makes a ton of sense, but
that quickly leads to the UI embedding problems discussed above.

The notification area is a broken concept, and fixing all the
applications won't fix that.

> make decisions based on attracting users who want
> everything to 'JustWork',

Hopefully from the installer experience on you start to realize that we
want it to "just work" for everyone on the planet, not just the elite
who enjoy tweaking their computers. If you'd like to see what we think
about market share, I'd recommend Bug 1. :)