December 17, 2009, 6:25 am
Canonical has lifted the curtains on some ambitious plans to reinvent the GNOME panel. The changes, which could potentially debut in the next major version of Ubuntu, will help simplify the desktop user experience and clean up superfluous panel clutter. Although the proposed changes look very promising, getting third-party application developers to integrate with the new panel functionality could prove challenging.
Canonical has been working on an incremental panel overhaul under the umbrella of its Ayatana desktop enhancement initiative. The company introduced a number of experimental changes to the GNOME panel in previous versions of Ubuntu. These changes include the messaging indicator applet and instant messaging status menu. Ubuntu 10.04, which is scheduled for release in April, will take this tinkering to the next level with a more holistic overhaul. Canonical plans to produce a new messaging status interface for the panel called the Me Menu and also aims to replace the icon notification area with a more modern streamlined menu system.