Many users are excited about the idea of the new ‘wingpanel‘, a floating, panel-replacement which floats at the top right hand corner of the screen and holds the indicator applets, application indicators and session indicators. It saves the vertical space by floating but still be visible at all the time. The best part is the top right hand corner at least in ubuntu is one of the least used space and thus an excellent choice, location-wise, in my humble opinion.

Currently the wingpanel is still alpha quality. But those who wants to emulate this behavior in the existing gnome panel, can do it without much difficulty.

1) First remove the main menu and application shortcuts (right click each of them and select remove from panel). You can find/add menu replacements in AWN, docky and/or other docks, so this will not be huge disappointment.

2) Right click on any free space on the panel -> select properties and under general tab, unselect the expand option. This will give you a short panel at the center of the screen.

3) Again in the properties->general tab, select autohide option.

4) Left click on any free space and move the panel to the right hand edge of the screen.

This almost ends the configuration, but the only caveat is that autohide isn’t exactly the ‘floating effect’ which we try to emulate. Gnome panel do not support a ‘floating effect’ by default (“What, you made all those silly steps into a tutorial and left us midway?”) Nope, to get something similar to the floating effect with autohide, we go to the grandpa, ‘gconf-editor’.

5) Run gconf-editor (Alt+F2->gconf-editor). Go to apps -> panel->toplevels and select your panel configuration. Look for the ‘hide_delay’ in the options and change the value to anything large enough. The maximum value you can give is 2147483647 (in milliseconds that equals to almost 600 hours).

Update: With more free time to spend and with the help of imagination you could actually make the panel look more similar to your theme. See my final panel below.

So there it is, a wing panel replacement on your screen. Enjoy!!!!


41 responses »

  1. […] can find the full guide over on justins’ blog. It doesn’t seem all-that difficult to follow along with so don’t be put off by […]

  2. redlaber says:

    What is the gtk-theme name on screeshot?

  3. Madhawa says:

    Thanks. BTW What’s your theme?

  4. […] Tip thanks to Justin | via Justin Stories. […]

  5. Monzisez says:

    Awesome 🙂

    Thanks 🙂

  6. Scott Rosenquist says:

    I’m having trouble with this. When I maximize a window, I get a pixel of space where the panel is “hidden”. With my busy wallpaper, I get a quite distorted line over the maximized window. Any way to fix that?

    Also, how do you get the gnome-panel to be the same height as the window bar?

    • vjjustin says:

      for the panel height, you can go to properties (right click any blank space on the panel -> properties) adjust the size to whatever matches your theme.

      And I seriously dont understand why you get the blank pixels…CAn you post a screenshot

    • Nx says:

      I made a patch to fix that a while ago, you can find it on the bug’s page, don’t know if it still works. With the patch, you can set auto_hide_size in gconf-editor to 0 and it’ll allow maximized windows to take over that 1 pixel line.

      • rsansores says:

        Sorry my ignorance… how can I apply the patch attached to the bug. Is a c file, ¿Do I need to recomplile gnome-panel or is easier than I’m thinking?

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matson マトスン, Christian Krebs. Christian Krebs said: How to get the ‘wingpanel’ in ubuntu (or any other distribution with gnome desktop) with the standart #gnome panel: #linux […]

  8. AnxiousNut says:

    Excellent! Clever! I like how you managed to get the ‘float’ style; never though of it!

    But you know what I really dislike? Panel ends, the gray blocks with dashes! They stand out horribly, especially when one’s using a light colored theme!

  9. initial ramdisk says:

    Good tutorial. What is your Metacity theme?

  10. initial ramdisk says:

    Good tutorial!
    What is the name of your Metacity theme?

  11. Waldir Leoncio says:

    Great tip! BTW, would you tell us about that theme you’re using? The icon set looks like faenza, what about the window theme?

  12. vjjustin says:

    Hai all,
    Thanks for the replies. I am so happy you people enjoyed the tip, it being my first of its kind experiment on blogging and that too a technical tip (blasphemy!!!).

    Thanks for the warm welcome!!!

    by the way the theme is ‘divergence IV a new hope’ by jurialmunkey. You can download it from here: divergence

    Thanks all,
    Justin Joseph

  13. Jonathan says:

    How do you get the calendar? Is it conky?

  14. […] reader Justin has sent us a really interesting tip for using the Gnome panel as “Wingpanel” instead […]

  15. dabockster says:

    What theme is that and how did you get those tabs on it?

  16. I can’t believe, I never figured we could move an unexpanded gnome panel by dragging it! Thanks to your post and OMGUbuntu for reposting it!

  17. […] compilare i sorgenti hostati su Launchpad oppure provare una via alternativa ideata da Vjjustin e presentata sul suo blog, modificando il pannello superiore correntemente in esecuzione. Che sia stata trovata […]

  18. […] compilare i sorgenti hostati su Launchpad oppure provare una via alternativa ideata da Vjjustin e presentata sul suo blog, modificando il pannello superiore correntemente in esecuzione. Che sia stata trovata […]

  19. […] Bom, a dica é personalizar o panel do Mint, colocando-o na parte superior, reduzindo o tamanho, deixando bem parecido com o wingpanel. A dica de como fazer isso, vc encontra aqui. […]

  20. mathew says:

    I’m having trouble with step 4. For some reason I can’t move/drag the panel at all. I’ve removed all the menu and shortcut items, shrink and undock the panel. but I can’t drag it around. It just sticks in the center on the top. I’m trying this on Fedora 13 liveCD

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance

  21. Raoul says:

    I duo-boot Ubuntu & Kubuntu with Kubuntu being my main/preferred environment. Yes, I know I could install Gnome in Kubuntu, but I prefer to keep them completely separate. I’ve actually had this type of setup in Kubuntu for several months now since standard KDE settings allow for this. Though I keep it centered so that when I maximize a window, I can still access the upper-right corner buttons while it covers most of my window titlebar. I had tried to get the same result in Ubuntu but had to use the ‘Auto-hide’ to recoup the full screen. Thanks to your ‘hide_delay’ tip, I will now overcome that. Thanks!

  22. Gaurav J says:

    good workaround, i googled a lot but couldn’t find more than patching up the gnome-panel for removing side handles.
    what i was looking for is taking a panel little up the y-axis while still expanded. OR it can be un-expanded in which case the handles should not be there so that if the panel is pushed below all windows via compiz it gives feel of at least flawless transparency.

  23. Luke says:

    How did you customize the panel to have the same style as Divergence? I really like that.

  24. I discovered your blog website on google and test just a few of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the excellent operate. I simply extra up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. In search of ahead to reading more from you later on!?

  25. paolo says:

    Can you explain how you get the effect of the last image?

    Update: With more free time to spend and with the help of imagination you could actually make the panel look more similar to your theme. See my final panel below.

  26. Thorsten Reinbold says:

    Automatically unhide the panel on start:

    Install “xdotool”

    Use this as a startup script:

    sleep 4
    while ! pidof indicator-network-agent ; do
    sleep 0.5

    xdotool mousemove 1350 -5
    sleep 0.2
    xdotool mousemove 700 525

    Maybe you have to use another tool instead of “indicator-network-agent”.

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