At DebConf 17 in Montreal, I gave a talk about Ayatana Indicators  and the project's goal to continue the by then already dropped out of maintenance Ubuntu Indicators in a separate upstream project, detached from Ubuntu and its Ubuntu'isms.
The whole Ayatana Indicators project received a bit of a show stopper by the fact that the IDO (Indicator Display Object) rendering was not working in vanilla GTK-3 without a certain patch  that only Ubuntu has in their GTK-3 package. Addressing GTK developers upstream some years back (after GTK 3.22 had already gone into long term maintenance mode) and asking for a late patch acceptance did not work out (as already assumed). Ayatana Indicators stalled at a level of 90% actually working fine, but those nice and shiny special widgets, like the calendar widget, the audio volume slider widgets, switch widgets, etc. could not be rendered appropriately in GTK based desktop environments (e.g. via MATE Indicator Applet) on other distros than Ubuntu.
I never really had the guts to sit down without a defined ending and find a patch / solution to this nasty problem. Ayatana Indicators stalled as a whole. I kept it alive and defended its code base against various GLib and what-not deprecations and kept it in Debian, but the software was actually partially broken / dysfunctional.
Taking the Dog for a Walk and then It Became all Light+Love
Several days back, I received a mail from Robert Tari . I was outside on a hike with our dog and thought, ah well, let's check emails... I couldn't believe what I read then, 15 seconds later. I could in fact, hardly breathe...
I have known Robert from earlier email exchanges. Robert maintains various "little" upstream projects, like e.g. Caja Rename, Odio, Unity Mail, etc. that I have looked into earlier regarding Debian packaging. Robert is also a Manjaro contributor and he has been working on bringing Ayatana Indicators to Manjaro MATE. In the early days, without knowing Robert, I even forked one of his projects (indicator-notification) and turned it into an Ayatana Indicator.
Robert and I also exchanged some emails about Ayatana Indicators already a couple of weeks ago. I got the sense of him maybe being up to something already then. Oh, yeah!!!
It turned out that Robert and I share the same "love" for the Ubuntu Indicators concept . From his email, it became clear that Robert had spent the last 1-2 weeks drowned in the Ayatana IDO and libayatana-indicator code and worked him self through the bowels of it in order to understand the code concept of Indicators to its very depth.
When emerging back from his journey, he presented me (or rather: the world) a patch  against libayatana-indicator that makes it possible to render IDO objects even if a vanilla GTK-3 is installed on the system. This patch is a game changer for Indicator lovers.
When Robert sent me his mail pointing me to this patch, I think, over the past five years, I have never felt more excited (except from the exact moment of getting married to my wife two-to-three years ago) than during that moment when my brain tried to process his email. "Like a kid on Christmas Eve...", Robert wrote in one of his later mails to me. Indeed, like a "kid on Christmas Eve", Robert.
Try It Out
As a proof of all this to the Debian people, I have just done the first release of
and uploaded it to Debian's NEW queue. Robert is doing the same for Manjaro. The Ayatana Indicator Sound will follow after my vacation.
For fancy widget rendering in Ayatana Indicator's system indicators, make sure you have libayatana-indicator 0.7.0 or newer installed on your system.
One of the biggest thanks ever I send herewith to Robert Tari! Robert is now co-maintainer of Ayatana Indicators. Welcome! Now, there is finally a team of active contributors. This is so delightful!!!
Expect more Ayatana Indicators to appear in your favourite distro soon...