Missing icons for applications

Another odd setting in my recent installation of Linux Mint 17 came to light when I minimized a LibreOffice window. There was no icon (button) for the application being displayed on the panel so I thought I had no way to restore the window. A little searching on the Internet using Google turned up a couple of solutions.

Firstly, one can install the “Window List” application by right-clicking on the lower panel, selecting “Add to Panel”, scrolling down to select “Window List”, and clicking the “Add” button. This app normally displays icons for running applications across the lower panel.

However, strangely, on my system, immediately after closing the Add to Panel window, nothing appeared to have changed. There was still no application icon displayed on the panel.

Close inspection of the panel revealed that there actually was a separator (two vertical lines of grey dots on a slightly darker grey background). This is the “handle” for the Window List app. Right-clicking on this handle allows “Preferences” to be selected and for these to be configured as, for example, “Show windows from all workspaces”, “Never group windows”, and “Restore to native workspace”. However, despite these settings (i.e. show all workspaces), my minimized LibreOffice still wasn’t being displayed.

Now, it was time to turn to the second solution – hold the Alt key down and press Tab to display a list of running applications. Hit the Tab key to select the desired application, and release the Alt key in order to bring this application into use.

More web searching revealed that the reason for the LibreOffice icon not being shown was that this window was being displayed on a second monitor being used as an extended desktop. The system is running dual monitors with “Same image in all monitors” unchecked so that I can view two different applications, one on each monitor, at the same time.

Unfortunately, there is a bug – or perhaps a desirable feature that has not been implemented – for such a configuration. Even with Window List loaded, dragging the window for an open application from the primary to the secondary monitor removes the icon for the app from the panel!

This was the source of my confusion. I kept loading and unloading Window List, changing the preferences, and minimizing and maximizing LibreOffice, but nothing would display the associated icon. It was only when I dragged LibreOffice back to the main screen, and the icon suddenly reappeared, that I began looking for an explanation.

As noted above, the ability to display icons/buttons for applications running on a second screen remains on various people’s wish lists. I can certainly add my wish to this list!

References:

Minimized Window is not in Panel, cannot be maximized?
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=206&t=107768

MATE + multiple Window List panel + multiple monitors = not all windows show in list
https://bugs.launchpad.net/linuxmint/+bug/1211565

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