Minimizing Evolution to the Xfce notification area

Minimizing Evolution to the Xfce notification area isn’t available out of the box but can be set up.

Evolution comes out of the box with a number of plugins (Edit – Plugins), one of them being the Evolution Tray Icon. Sadly, being a Gnome application it seems to have inherited Gnome’s arrogance toward non-Gnome users, because that plugin silently fails to work in other desktop environments.

Seeking a solution, I first looked at Xfce’s unfortunately named Xfapplet, a plugin for the Xfce 4 Panel which allows one to use applets designed for the Gnome Panel inside the Xfce Panel. Regrettably, that plugin seems to be abandoned. While there are old packages out there, and old packages of its dependencies, all told there were nearly 30 MB of Gnome dependencies it needed to drag in. That’s more than Evolution itself. All in all it seemed a long hard slog just to get an Evolution icon in my notification area.

I then considered Alltray, which lets you dock any application without a native tray icon into the system tray or notification area of Gnome, KDE, or Xfce. OpenSUSE’s repositories don’t carry it, but the package for Fedora 21 runs fine on my box.

To use, call Evolution with Alltray: alltray -s evolution. Test this in a terminal to confirm that it works to your liking. Copy Evolution’s .desktop file at /usr/share/applications/evolution.desktop to your user’s .desktop directory at ~/.local.share/applications. Edit your user’s copy to read Exec=alltray -s evolution. Add this file to your backup set.

Being a one-size-fits-all tool, Alltray doesn’t offer Evolution-specific options on right click such as “new message”, but it does what it says on the tin and it does it well.

This post refers to Evolution 3.10.4, Alltray 0.71b, and Xfce 4.10 on openSUSE 13.1, and was last updated on 2 November 2014.

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About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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2 Responses to Minimizing Evolution to the Xfce notification area

  1. Rob J says:

    Brilliant! I tried some of the other suggestions floating around first, with no luck. And the first time I did this, I got a partly black screen with sa mall Evolution window. But I exited Evolution (from the tray), reopened, all good. Thank you. Using Mint 17 Xfce.

  2. Warren Post says:

    My pleasure; glad that helped.

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