Orage Panel Clock

Since all the displays are widescreen now, I like to utilize all the available vertical space for my apps. So, I keep the XFCE Panel on the left side in a vertical orientation. This worked great for everything, except the panel clock. The width of the Panel was too less for the clock to show time in digital mode. And in analog mode, the hour hand of the clock is quite confusing to read.

I was wallowing in this situation until I discovered the Orage Panel Clock. This XFCE Panel plugin can be added just like any other Panel plugin.

Installing Orage is easy:

$ sudo apt install orage

After this it will appear in the Panel plugins list, so can be added just like any other plugin.

Features I love about the Orage plugin clock:

  • The digital display can be rotated 90 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise. This is perfect if your Panel is vertical.
  • The foreground and background colors and font and font size of the display can be configured.
  • Multiple lines of clock display can be configured. For example, Line 1 can be the hour and Line 2 can be the minutes.
  • Tooltip when mouse is hovered over clock can be configured to show anything you want.
  • Clicking the clock shows the Orage calendar.

Tried with: Orage 4.12.1 and Ubuntu 14.04

Clipman

Clipman is a clipboard manager for XFCE. There is also a plugin for it that can be used to integrate it into the XFCE Panel.

To install Clipman and its panel plugin:

$ sudo apt install xfce4-clipman-plugin

I like to have Clipman plugin always around in my Panel. To do this, right-click on the Panel, choose Panel -> Add New Items and add Clipman.

Some of its settings that I configure:

  • Increase the number of copied items in history
  • Enable sync selections. This connects clipman to the default X11 clipboard. If not, only stuff you explicitly copy can be explicitly pasted. Middle-click to paste will not work as expected.
  • Choose to paste instantly on Shift + Insert. This means that when I click on an item in history list, it is directly pasted into my last focused application.

Tried with: Clipman 1.2.5-1 and Ubuntu 14.04

How to remove application menu from XFCE Panel

Problem

I switched from Unity to XFCE by installing Xubuntu. The indicator plugin area from the Panel in Unity also appears in the XFCE Panel. Whenever I opened Firefox, I noticed that its entire menu bar would appear in the middle of this indicator area!

Solution

The easy solution is to remove the indicator plugin area from the XFCE Panel. However, I have some Unity indicators that I need to be displayed in the XFCE Panel, like the Dropbox client for example.

A better solution is to remove the Application Menu indicator itself. This is what is used by Unity to display the menu bar of an application in the Unity Panel.

I do not need this on XFCE since it shows the menu bar in the application itself. Removing this indicator is easy:

$ sudo apt remove indicator-appmenu

Restart Ubuntu to get XFCE Panel in the correct state.

Tried with: XFCE 4.12 and Ubuntu 15.04

Items are left aligned in XFCE Panel

Problem

After removing or adding some items from the Panel in XFCE, you may notice that all the items have become left-aligned and collected on the left side of the Panel.

Solution

XFCE distributes the items on the panel in a left-to-right manner. To keep some items on the right side, you need to add an expandable separator between them. This is listed as Separator in the Panel Preferences. To make it expandable, click on the Separator item and then click the gear icon to edit its properties. Here you will find an option to make it expandable. Once you add an expandable separator, the items will be aligned to the left side of the Panel.

Tried with: XFCE 4.12 and Ubuntu 15.04

The disappearing clock in the Panel

Problem

I restarted Ubuntu. After the restart and logging in I discover that the Clock in the Panel is missing! I check and see that the package indicator-datetime is still installed. I open System Settings and go to Time and Date and see that everything in the Clock tab is disabled, so I cannot change it.

Solution

This is a bug in Unity as described here. It is supposedly happening due to a configuration value being reset after packages are upgraded.

Anyway, the only solution that works right now is to kill and restart the Panel service:

$ killall unity-panel-service

This worked for me and my clock was back in the Panel! πŸ™‚

Tried with: Ubuntu 14.04

How to whitelist a program to appear in Panel of Ubuntu

Problem

The Panel is the taskbar at the top of the Unity desktop interface in Ubuntu. Many GUI applications that persist in the background, like those with notifications, like to add an icon to the system tray in the Panel. However, you might find that a newly installed application does not appear in the Panel, even though it is supposed to.

Solution

Only applications in a pre-defined whitelist are allowed to add their icon to the system tray in the Panel. These include the default applications that ship with Ubuntu and a few others. All other applications have to be manually whitelisted if their icon is to be allowed to appear in the Panel. To do this:

1. Install DConf Editor, if you do not already have it. It is installed along with the package dconf-tools:

$ sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

2. Open DConf Editor from the Dash or dconf-editor from the shell.

3. Go to Desktop > Unity > Panel. Click on the value field for the name systray-whitelist.

4. Add the binary filename of the application you want to whitelist. Add this name enclosed in single quotes to the list. Close DConf Editor.

Start your application again. Its icon should now appear in the Panel.

Tried with: dconf-tools 0.12.0 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS