Ubuntu 17.10 brings application indicator support for default session

Continuing the transformation of GNOME shell to provide Unity like experience, Ubuntu team has introduced application indicator support in default session. The purpose of application indicator is to combine various systray icons into a menu like component, such that it won't take much space on panel.

Application Indicator was a part of Unity shell. While GNOME is using a different approach for combining various notifications and systray icons. To deliver Unity like application indicator support in default Ubuntu session, an existing GNOME shell extension was moved on official Ubuntu github repository. The original application developer will continue on working this, while Ubuntu will also push changes to help the upstream.


Like other GNOME shell to transition changes, application indicator support is also not available in Artful Aardvark repositories. If you are already running Artful Aardvark, you can enable officially create transition repository as follows:
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/transitions
Once it is enabled perform a regular system update.
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade
That is all. Now you have installed all GNOME shell to Unity experience transition so far.
Indeed, we are thinking about providing a solution working for us while not exposing the whole systray content for some specific cases like Instant Messaging applications (empathy, skype…), emails (thunderbird, evolution…) or sync (dropbox…) applications. Indeed, we think it’s an important workflow for most of our users base, especially in light with the removal of systray support in the incoming Shell 3.26. We discussed that heavily (a long couple of hours discussion) during GUADEC and need to settle down on this to see the best approach which is compatible with our common goal: Unity as well as GNOME Shell always had/have the desire to reduce the number of icons there.
For more information on application indicator support in Ubuntu, see original blog post published by Didier Roche.

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