Taskbar and system tray

sam mirshafie at gmail.com
Tue May 8 11:02:11 BST 2007

this is my first post to this list. My name is Sam Mirshafie and I'm a happy 
KDE user for little more than a year.

In my opinion the system tray and taskbar are in a bad state. I don't know if 
there's been any discussions about this before, but I couldn't find anything 
about it on the web. If this has not been discussed before, I hope to 
initiate a discussion about the role of the systray and taskbar with this 
post. (And if it has been discussed before, please redirect me :)

The system tray is not inteded to work as a second taskbar, yet the system 
tray is much smarter than the taskbar:

· Taskbar entries give you a standard context menu to manipulate the window, 
while system tray icons will give you an application-specific menu which is 
usually much more useful. For example, the Kopete systray icon will let you 
set status message among other things, while the Kopete taskbar entry will 
let you minimize and maximize the Kopete window.

· System tray icons are dynamic. They will give you a hint of what they're 
doing. Akregator and KMail systray icons will give you the number of unread 
articles, and the Amarok systray icon lets you control Amarok directly with 
the middle mouse button.

· Lastly, I think many users like the fact that the systray consumes MUCH less 
screen real estate than the taskbar. I have currently set up my KDE desktop 
to show most applications in the system tray, and to skip the taskbar. This 
is of course not an ideal solution, very much because the systray is only (to 
my knowledge) accesible via the mouse. My setup makes Alt+Tab useless.

I think that the taskbar needs to be redesigned to be more dynamic. Taskbar 
entries should be at least as smart as the current systray icons. I think 
that would make KDE even more useful.

 It would also be great if the taskbar could be configured to only show the 
icons of certain applications, much like you can set special properties of 
certain windows in KWin.

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