Submit A Tip Alternative Tip Form

Raring Retires System Tray Whitelist

Legacy Linux Apps Loose Final Crutch on Modern Desktop

An option allowing applications lacking App Indicator support to show in the system tray has been removed from Ubuntu 13.04.

Applications and services not using the feature were hidden by default in Ubuntu 11.04 – but could be manually re-enabled through a hidden settings option.

Now, in requesting the removal of this configurable ‘whitelist’ from the up-coming Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu’s Matthew Paul Thomas argues that developers have had enough time to adopt the App Indicator spec.

Whitelisting Apps in Ubuntu 12.10

Whitelisting Apps in Ubuntu 12.10 – Now Gone in 13.04

App Indicators were formally introduced in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS to create a consistent user-experience when interacting with items in the System Tray.

The Good News

The good news is that while the whitelist itself is going away support for applications run under Wine, or those built with Java, will remain visible. This, MPT says, is because ‘…their developers don’t necessarily know that Ubuntu even exists.’

But not everyone is happy with the plan.

Commenting on the bug report to remove the whitelist, user Ed Guenter rants:

“Thanks for breaking the 5000+ Ubuntu users within our company that “enjoy” using such ancient applications like Sametime, Lotus Notes or Symantec Antivirus. Maybe, in 5 years from now, such applications will accept that unity exist and provide indicators. Today, they dont. Or maybe unity is history in 5 years from now.

Off the top of my head I’m finding it difficult to think of a single mainstream-application that doesn’t already make use of the App Indicator spec.

Skype, VLC, Opera, and Spotify for Linux all do. While Shutter, whose developers long resisted adding support for it, added App Indicator support late last year.

Do you currently whitelist any applications that would be affected by this switch? Or do you agree that developers have had enough time to adapt?