The case for cross-desktop dockability and notification-area applet ideology revision.

The case for notification area applet default integration and revision.

GNOME is becoming a usable desktop.  Though there are some shortcomings that I 
as a representative of other users who share the same concerns would like to 
address to you the developers.

Red hat and a few other distributions have their own interface agenda's, this 
I understand.  This proposal is not directed towards such corporate 
decisions, but rather at the default GNOME two paneled layout which we have 
all become accustomed to since the 2.0 release. 

Navigating between applications via the window-list applet is a time tested 
method, which we have all grown to enjoy.  It allows a visual indication of 
application/window titles in a confined area, increasing the total desktop 
working space.  This is a good thing.  

However the more applications which are opened, inevitably the more cluttered 
the list becomes, making the reading of titles harder and in extreme cases of 
busyness, actual selection difficult.  

I have noticed there are applications to which a visual window-list indicator 
is unnecessary.  Such include Gnome's Gaim.  And when enabled to function 
with the notification-area applet, the window-list becomes more readable and 
hence the desktop as a whole more usable.  

Understanding that Gnome has in the past decided not to take advantage of such 
a feature, there are not so many applications which use it's advantages in 
the Gnome suite.

I would now like to talk about other applications, some of different widget 
orientation, which in their own environments do take advantage of this 
feature.  KDE's KPPP is a prime example, as yet no alternative is included 
with the Gnome distribution.  If allowed to dock, more space is cleared for 
the window-list, this also is an optional function to KPPP, but it is popular 
all the same.  As Linux and Gnome are free software it seems likely third and 
second world adoption is imminent.  Modems and the PPP protocol are unlikely 
to become obsolete for a long time.

Another example of such an application would be Korganiser, itself popular but 
this time it's functionality is dependent on dock-ability.  

Choice is something open-source software provides to users.  Non inclusion of 
cross-desktop dock-ability, restricts users choice in the applications they 
can use and/or how they use them.  It is a feature which users are accustomed 
to on Microsoft, Macintosh and other open-source desktop alternatives, 
including KDE, the ever increasingly popular XFCE and Fluxbox.  Each of these 
alternatives offer the docking service for GTK+/GNOME applications with these 
features, as well as there own and KDE docking support.

The current panel-notification ideology is one for pure notification, to avoid 
the system tray horrors from Windows.  May I add that such horrors are often 
a resultant of application enforcement in a region central and UN-removable 
from the Windows interface.  Sometimes four or five media applications will 
battle for the space, others which users do not choose or knew had  been 
installed.  Open-source ideology assures these horrors will not occur to such 
extreme degrees.  Please consider the current function of the applet and how 
it could be potentially expanded.

Before the panel-notification area could become truly functional for users, 
who themselves like the choice to mix their preferred applications and 
desktops, cross-desktop dock-ability must be included. 

It seems, there is still space available on the upper panel, I feel that 
inclusion and function revision of the panel-notification area would benefit 
the usability of GNOME desktop and open-source desktop users in general.  As 
well as the overall perception by potential and current users.

I finish by asking that you take these arguments and their implications into 
account and urge you to strongly consider the suggestions contained within.  
I choose to speak as I too want to see GNOME and other open-source desktop 
alternatives succeed in both market penetration and functionality.


Alastair Poole 

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