Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Indicators in Oneiric

New annoyed-with-unity-o-meter (indicators made me feel happier):


Today I discovered about Indicator Apps. They are just like the applets of GNOME 2 that I could add to my panel, except they're upgraded for GNOME 3 instead. They all sit up the top-left of your screen.

Also, instead of having a nice, single list of these applets where I can choose which ones to add to my panel (like in old Ubuntu), they are now....all over the place.
You basically have to look them up on the internet, add a new repository for each one, install it, and then manually run the program each time you start up to get it showing (well, I lie; you can add them into your auto-startup list to have them runn on their own).
I found this page very helpful in giving a list of the most popular indicator applets and how to install them. Then, this page gives a much bigger list of applets (although less helpful in how to install them).

Installing Indicator Applets

Since they're not in the standard ubuntu repository, you usually have to update your list of repositories that Ubuntu looks in to get packages.
Let's do an example with the Workspace indicator, which sits in your top panel and lets you switch between workspaces.
Going to its launchpad page, we see "Use this ppa for install: ppa:geod/ppa-geod".
launchpad page for inicitator-workspaces
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:geod/ppa-geod
Then, we update the list of available packages and install indicator-workspaces:
apt-get update
apt-get install indicator-workspaces
But wait! You're not done yet! Go to the dashboard and actually start the indicator. Then it will appear in your notification tray. If you right-click this one and look at the preferences you'll also see a "Start indicator at login", which you should check, if that's what you want.
Workspace switcher indicator.

List of applets I added.

  • Workspace switcher: add-apt-repository ppa:ppa/geod and apt-get install indicator-workspaces.
  • System Load Indicator - you can just apt-get install indicator-multiload this one.
  • Google Reader Indicator: lets me read my rss feeds from the panel. add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao and apt-get install google-reader-indicator.
    google reader indicator (top left icon)

User menu/indicator

I don't like the "User Menu" (the little person and your username up the top left) - it only has "switch user" etc and I'm the only user on my laptop, so it just takes up space.
To remove it, go to dconf-editor and apps>indicator-session, and untick 'show-user-menu'.
Log out and back in to have it take effect (or just do unity --replace).

Current snapshot

My current snapshot is:
Left to Right: Dropbox, Google Reader, System Monitor, Workspace switcher, Messages, Battery, Volume, Date/time.

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