Launchpad bug 124326 requests a new titlebar button which minimises an application to the notification area rather than ordinary minimisation. Mostly this is currently done with the close button on the apps which support it, but some people feel it would be cleaner if these two functions were distinct. This action has been given the name “iconification” by some, but since this is the name the X specification gives to what we now call minimisation, I propose the ugly word “notifisation”.
There are four problems with this idea.
- Adding new titlebar buttons is always problematic for reasons given earlier.
- The EWMH specification is going to have to include a way to tell which apps may be notifised, and a way for the WM to tell an app to notifise itself. This is going to require arguing out on wm-spec-list. In itself, this is not a major obstacle, but it’s important to be aware of.
- It is unclear what the real difference between minimisation and notifisation is in practice. And if there is one, why shouldn’t all apps be notifisable?
- Using the notification area for things other than ephemeral notifications– that is, using it as a cheap way to make panel applets– is contrary to the Human Interface Guidelines. Perhaps the HIG is wrong, but then we need careful thought before we give the practice a stamp of approval by enshrining it in the EWMH. Besides, there is talk of enforcing notification ephemerality.
Photo by The Joy of the Mundane, cc-by-nc.