Indicator Panel Menu Rocks The House

Recently we have been investing in creating an implementation of a panel-based menu that we are planning on shipping with the 10.10 version of the Ubuntu Netbook Edition. As with our other projects, this is entirely Open Source and you can download, test and play with it from this page.

So far for testing purposes we have been leaving on the in-application menu, but yesterday I switched it off to get the full experience. To do this I edited /etc/X11/Xsession.d/80appmenu to set APPMENU_DISPLAY_BOTH=0. I was aware of the design justification of having a single menu; it is easier for users to find it due to it’s consistent place, and particularly for netbooks, it saves on significant screen-real estate use. Now I can absolutely see and feel the benefits; I am loving having the menu there and my desktop feels sleeker and more consistent.

Of course, there is much to be fixed — such as the fact that GIMP crashes the menu — but most apps are working great and while this is not designed or scoped for the desktop, I think I might just leave it on. :-)

What’s more, an added benefit of this implementation (and using the dbus-menu approach) is that KDE applications running in GNOME have their menu’s rendered as GTK widgets (and vice versa), helping to integrate GNOME and KDE apps better. Right now the in-app menus are still visible, but the following screenshot shows K3B’s menus rendered as GTK menus:

Awesome! :-)

I just want to offer some kudos to Cody Russell for writing the menu, Aurélien Gâteau for his awesome work in ensuring all of this works with KDE, Jorge Castro for coordinating much of the testing, and for our awesome community of testers and bug reporters for helping to bang it into shape. You are going to help really make Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 really rock, and of course anyone who chooses to use it on their desktop.

Go and find out more and play with it yourself here.

  • Koterpillar

    Not to be disgraceful of the work done, but call me over when it supports Firefox and OpenOffice. So far, no reason to switch from Global Menu.

  • Anthony Hook

    This is excellent, I will have to try it with shutting off the application menus and letting the panel take them. Good progress so far, I am happy the Netbook Edition is getting some love.

  • ulrik

    This looks awesome. Thanks to Ubuntu for bringing innovation to Linux — debian user

  • Alex

    The Ubuntu font looks pretty good, also. 😉

    Will the applet be included in Ubuntu proper?

  • Tomasz

    And kudos to Apple for inventing it…

  • Owais Lone

    This is brilliant. I’ve always used the age old GnomeGlobalMenu only to find out that it doesn’t integrate well. No QT support, no XUL support. Now I can have a global menu that rocks.

    I tested it a few days back and it made my Gimp and Inkscape crash with some D-Bus error. Is that still the case?

  • Owais Lone

    @Jono, I’d like to check out the font. I it is in private-beta but hey, I won’t tell anyone if it doesn’t look good. 😉

    Give me the OTF. please please please mate.

  • frej soya

    If you want to fix pixel waste then look at font height (both vera sans and yours seem quite tall) and also the waste of space in gtktreeview (ie, compare rhythmbox to say… itunes).

    No reason we must have same fontsize for menus and in view of data (rows).

  • Dread Knight

    Cool, but… wasn’t the idea to get rid of menus like that from most places? Kinda like windoze did? Or google with Chrome… or the upcoming firefox… or opera etc?

  • Jimbo

    That is the main thing holding Gnome back from ever looking as sexy as OSX or even windows 7; no matter how you theme it everything ends up looking too chunky and big. Everything in a Gnome GUI just takes up more space than it should.

  • CruelAngel

    Bzzzz! Wrooong!

    It was used in desktop environments way back in the ’80-s even before Apple used it. d:

  • w1ngnut

    Agree. And it also doesn’t look like professional environment to work on. Now I figure out why I take ages to configure my Gnome and even though I sill doesn’t get an pleasant environment to work as OSX or Windows.

    Please fix this fonts.

  • curtis

    I have been using Ubuntu since 7.04 and I am not trying to damper things. I appreciate all that has and is being done in the community. This feature needs to be fixed so that it is not a copy cat of OS X. I just don’t want Ubuntu to be scrutinized over something as petty as this from Apple.

  • Anon

    I think it’s important to have the name of the application in the indicator panel (à la globalmenu/OSX).

  • zelrik

    looks like MacOSX to me. Be ready for the patent lawsuits.