Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Ubuntu Chronicles: Amber's Adventures in the Community :)

Part 39

Indicator, Notifier and Ubuntu Open Week

Ubuntu Open Week is great!

I am learning so much. I have to admit that Open Week has let me glimpse into so many areas of Ubuntu. For the less than "super-user" like me all the facilitators of each session are patient, knowledgeable, and promote Ubuntu in a way that all users can understand. There is so much information and everyone can contribute and help each other out. I asked a few questions in the #ubuntu-classroom-chat and anyone who had knowledge on the subject chimed in (well maybe not everyone, but those who were comfortable in doing so). I wasn't able to participate in the 1st day, and I almost missed the question and answer (Q&A) with Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Project, however; the part of the Q&A that I did get to be part of (and the logs that I went back and read), Mr. Shuttleworth demonstrated those same qualities of the other facilitators. I guess I was surprised that the tone in the Q&A is the same tone across all the sessions so far. It was refreshing and nice. Like I said in part 38, the personalities of the Ubuntu communities are really encouraging and take the time to explain things 3 different ways if that's what it takes. Thanks everyone!

There is one day left of Ubuntu's Open Week and if you haven't had a chance to stop in please do. However, if time constraints don't allow please check out the logs there is a wide range of topics and they have a ton of references in each session.

Ken VanDine, of the Ubuntu Desktop Team gave a great session on the difference between the indicator applet and the notifier. (A topic I couldn't wait to hear, as I was so disappointed when the orange indicator applet that was on the panel just went away.)

Ken did a great job of explaining the difference. I liked when he explained to the session a notifier was just that, something that notifies the user and doesn't wait for an action. However, I pause, because in full disclosure I still use the old notifier because I know if a notifier just pops up and goes away then I will forget. I need something in front of me. I like to install all the updates on the day they show up. Each evening I install whatever updates are glowing on my panel. Maybe as each day passes and I become more proficient in using Ubuntu, I might be able to do without all the stuff on the panels, but for now I like the panels and the stuff I put on them. :)

The indicator applet as it was explained (if I understand it correctly) is something that lets you know you have stuff to take action on. For example if you are logged into Evolution (I don't use evolution, I am a die hard gmail user at the moment, but I am told this is what it is supposed to do), Pidgin, and Gwibber etc.. then as people show up you can decide to act on it. If someone Instant Message's you, emails you, etc, then it is a one stop indicator to let you know how many emails, messages and stuff you have. There is a great wiki on it. There is also information here.

So the difference (again if I understand it correctly) is one lets you know you have stuff to do and take action on; the other notifies you that you can do something, if you want, but you don't have to. The indicator has to with communications (email, IM etc) and the notifier has to do with updating your Operating System (OS). I sure hope I got that right.

I realized that halfway through the Session with Ken VanDine, that Ubuntu (Linux as a whole), gives the power to the user, in that; if I want to have the old notifier I can have it. If I want panels I can have panels. If I want a gazillion applets on the panels because it works for me, then I have the *power* and *freedom* to put them there. I think that therein lies the beauty of using open source, the user is in control of their desktop, customization of their OS, and much more. I think I am beginning to see just the tip of the iceberg, and what using the Linux OS of your choice over a proprietary OS is all about. I still have a ton to learn, and I am sure there are those who have forgotten more than I will ever learn, but I am not giving up yet! I always thought people liked Linux because it was free, but I am now understanding that it is more than that. :)

Whew, I hope I didn't ramble too much! :) Enjoy, more tomorrow I hope.