Re: Control background apps using icons in the legacy tray

On Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 12:02 PM, Paul Johansson <paul johansson linuxmail org> wrote:

Dear community, dear Gnome developers,

I would like to discuss the possibilities to bring back Gnome's legacy tray for a limited time in order to improve the desktop experience.

I have read the blog [1], and I guess I disagree with the way the icon tray is seen and treated. In in my personal opinion, from an end-user perspective, the following assumption is wrong: Icons in the tray and notifications provide different features. They should not be merged (at least not until functionality is given). The tray contains icons that are used to control apps that are running in the background, while notifications are being used to output messages background apps may have. The list of apps that currently rely on the icon tray to function properly is long and likely well known among community members, (examples under [1] and [2]).

I kindly would like to ask the developers to reconsider the usage of the legacy tray until a decent amount of apps have adopted the new concept. One may not like the tray, but it has a tiny footprint and it is almost invisible when hidden. In my opinion it also let's the desktop appear much clean than the available extensions that permanently display icons of all background apps (that use such icons).

What would be options?

Android is a pretty comprehensive example of a UI that uses what the GNOME team is describing.

A visible Android application is running.  When the application window disappears it is "paused" but still in memory can can perform most of its normal duties.  Finally paused applications may be "stopped" and will not be allowed to run any more and have their resources collected.  If you want your background application to keep running you pin a notification to the notification tray (ex a music player, file system uploads, etc).  Alternatively you can schedule with Android tasks that your application needs to perform and the OS will launch your application in the background, allow it to perform those tasks, and then shut it back down (Ex check for new posts in an rss feed).  You may also configure event listeners that will cause your application to launch, perform a task, and shut back down (ex push messages).  In these cases you do not need a pinned notification.

The previous paragraph vastly oversimplifies Android applications, but it is at a high level an easy model to reference when thinking about how trayless GNOME applications may work.  I don't know if GNOME supports this model in any meaningful way, but it is one approach to aspire toward.

The best thing I can say about getting rid of the system tray is that it and the alt-tab behavior introduced me to the world of extensions.

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