Ubuntu Indicators in openSUSE?

Ubuntu takes a lot of punches from time to time for its marketing and even its interface. Some feel Ubuntu is dumbed down and oversimplified, while many others think it's innovative and user-friendly. Where ever you fall in the debate, one developer thinks some elements of Ubuntu should land into openSUSE. In fact, he has packaged up and pushed them to openSUSE:Contrib.

Nelson Marques, Fedora and openSUSE contributor, thinks Ubuntu indicators are the bee's knees. Actually, since Ubuntu is the dominant distribution in his corner of the world he thinks using some of its more familiar elements might help users migrate to openSUSE. He said, "We don’t want to make of openSUSE a ‘clone’ of Ubuntu, instead we want to make the openSUSE experience more close to what people already use."

One of the first Indicators to land into openSUSE is the Ubuntu Me Menu. This Indicator is used to to set your instant messaging status: available, away, busy, and so on. Along with the Me Menu, Marques has also packaged the Faenza-Dark icon theme and Ubuntu's Radiance Theme. He said of the Ubuntu theme, "This is the kind of polishing that makes Canonical successful." This element won't be default on openSUSE, but will be available through the package manager.

Another Indicator packaged and shared by Marques is the GNOME session manager. This applet allows users to manage or change their session status. This functionality is commonly seen in main system menus, but might be handy to those that use it more often. Common uses include switching session to another user, putting the machine asleep, or rebooting.

The next Indicator to land was the Messages. This is the one that puts email functionality right on the panel. Some options include Compose new message or open your Contact list. Indicator-messages works with at least Empathy and Evolution. Marques points to the assistance of Ken Vandine on this as proof that developers from Ubuntu are very cooperative with the community and in his words, "awesome and caring."

Another ported by Marques is the battery-status Indicator that tells uses how much of their battery power remains as well as settings for the current power profile such as Powersave or Performance. Finally, and arguably, the most handy is the Indicator-sound. Indicator-sound is the applet that puts multimedia controls on the panel and Marques said, "it works out of the box for Banshee."

Indicators seemed to be a popular addition to Ubuntu last developmental cycle and smart bets would have them popular in openSUSE as well. These packages are only going to be in play for openSUSE 11.4 milestone 4 and forward and some may not be in the main contrib section yet pending further testing. Putting functionality closer to users' fingertips seems to be a central theme running through Ubuntu development, and now openSUSE is in on the fun too. As Marques says, the main goal is to "improve users' Desktop experience..."


Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.


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Chdslv's picture

Submitted by C.Marius (not verified) on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 20:27.

I ditched Ubuntu for OpenSUSE because I had a feeling I was using an OS designed for people "who cannot afford real windows".

I think C. Marius is nuts!
There is no category named "who cannot afford real windows". People, who use Linux don't usually need MS Windows!

By the way, Marius, is Open Suse that expensive, you had to pay money? Or was it free as free beer?

I strongly think you are not a Linux user!

my point of view

Hossam's picture

yast is the best and easy way to manage my pc, all tasks covered makes it so easy to configure my pc
but its package manager is little bit buggy and software always conflicts!
very limited packages with the default set of repository
simple, but making it too simple forces you to rely on command line for no so advanced tasks
best package manager comes with ubuntu!
more stable then opensuse

right now i use ubuntu and i cant go back to opensuse after all the effort to setup my pc the way i wanr hut sure i miss opensuse

Ubuntu is NOT openSUSE

Eric Yeoh's picture

I may not agree with the efforts of trying to Ubuntu-fy openSUSE but FOSS gives us this freedom. Let Mr. Marques do what he thinks is right. So as long it is GPL'ed it is ok. Don't bloody make it default is all I ask. Happy new year to all.

Please don't do it

C.Marius's picture

I ditched Ubuntu for OpenSUSE because I had a feeling I was using an OS designed for people "who cannot afford real windows". (Before Ubuntu I had been using Debian for years). Damn it I hate this feeling. I want to use a clear alternative to windows. Keep OpenSUSE distinct.

So what Default

Stuart's picture

Oh my goodness, isn't the glory of Linux platforms all about choice, so what has been done here, we have been given choice...install if you want, don't if you do not, it's not rocket science.

I am a long time user of Linux in one form or another, but I am in agreeance with the ease at which Ubuntu is able to be used, as my non tech wife finds it a great OS to use and has now joined the throngs of computer users thanks to the ease of use of Ubuntu, you have more choice these days on what you want from Linux than ever before, super user down to novice all have an OS that suits their needs now, didn't before.

Linux rules...kill Windows...unite in the cause!

guys, what packages I need to

Anonymous's picture

guys, what packages I need to install to take Ubuntu-like style in openSUSE?


Martin Owens's picture

It's curious to me how those who are dead set against indicators appear to not understand how they work. Since they have little to do with gnome applets and that interface is just one way they could theoretically be displayed.

I personally like my indicators through the standard dbus straw.

Its not a default- so why complain?

Anshul's picture

The Ubuntu indicators and enhancements are optional...so why complain if they're present in the repositories? If you want the stock GNOME desktop, thats what you get by default. FWIW, I'm in favor of some of the Ubuntu enhancements (Murrine themes, Metacity enhancements, Message Indicators etc)...not all.

Forget about indicators or not

Anonymous's picture

Forget about indicators or not.

Just use KDE and leave the gnome shell / unity fights to the natural born fighters.

After all, that's why gnome is born, the "fight" KDE, and no, I am NOT joking.

Not default

Susan 's picture

None of these will ship with the default openSUSE desktop. They are in contrib if anyone wants to install them.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.

NO x 2

Micah's picture

I'm with anonymous above. One of the reasons I left Ubuntu for OpenSUSE is because of how awful all of the indicators are and how they can't easily be removed without removing other things with them. Also, Ubuntu's sound applet is terrible -- why have the slider move horizontally? It's garbage.

This is very troublesome, but I'm sure if users make their opposition known then we won't see these turgid "innovations" incorporated into openSUSE 11.4.

NO. That god-dam stupid

Anonymous's picture


That god-dam stupid indicator crap is the reason i ditched ubuntu. I don't want to see decent distros like (open-)SUSE taking on the macbuntu fanboi jargon with facetwitmybookgwibberspace... social networking is all about leaking your data to the world, something which smart people do not do.

Fair enough to make a panel applet for it if you *wanted* to use it... but forcing it into the desktop panels with the sound, logout, shutdown menus (as ubuntu has done for the past 2 or 3 releases) is so f***ing annoying. They should at least be seperate applets... so anyone with a right-mind can simply delete it.

The applets are separate, and

Anonymous's picture

The applets are separate, and it's not default, users need to install them if they want to use them... they are just available in a repo for those who want to try them out.

Learn to read!