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.

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