[19.10] Why does my bell notification icon has been replaced by a mailbox icon instead?

Sometimes this month, I believe, that the notification icon at the very top of MATE morphed from a bell into a mailbox.

I have 2 machines: one that I upgraded from 18.x to 19.10 and another one which I installed 19.10 after wiping. Both are always running latest patches and updates.

Not only are those 2 systems behaving somewhat differently as I started explaining here: /usr/bin/variety stopped working due to new clock/time format? but not so long ago (Possibly last week?) I also noticed that this system that was upgraded from 18.x was still showing up the old bell icon. Of course, I logged off (and also had to reboot) before posting this so I am CERTAIN there is a discrepancy in terms of what is deployed/displayed on my systems now and I again wanted to raise a flag in case I wasn't the only person getting this result?

If I understand the situation correctly of different systems showing different icons, in terms of indicators:

:bell: would be the new notification centre indicator introduced in 19.10.

  • Should always be visible.
  • Installed by default.
  • May not have installed when upgrading if the ubuntu-mate-desktop or ubuntu-mate-core metapackages were not installed.

:email: is the mail indicator which appears when an e-mail or chat client is available (if supported by the program)

Maybe have a check if the packages for the indicators are missing on some systems:

  • indicator-messages
  • indicator-notifications

You could also check under Start-up Applications (and check the :ballot_box_with_check: Show hidden checkbox) if any of the indicator processes are not running at start-up.

Yes and no.

We agree about the bell being the new notification centre introduced in 19.10.

We also agree that both the indicator-messages and indicator-notifications packages are both installed on all of my systems and that there is no other patches nor updates pending.

The bell notification icon (which is displayed on my system that was upgraded from 18.x to 19.x) shows that first bell icon that you have mentioned, which is the correct one.

<SIDE NOTE: I have tried inserting a picture weighing in at 1.3Mbs directly into this reply and the UMC webpage kept getting echoing "Sorry, that file is too big (maximum size is 4096kb). Why not upload your large file to a cloud sharing service, then paste the link?" ........ hence I had to post it elsewhere on the web to relay the URL here.>

So anyways, here is the "new new notification" icon that I was talking about and which "magically" showed up on my laptop that had UM 19.10 installed directly on:

As we can see, even though this looks like the email receiving icon that the bell is not present and that it seems to be covering much wider than simple emails.

(I also want to restate the fact that I did not attempted to reconfigure/apply esoteric stuff on this system, just keep patching and I use it to watching TV.)

I am not certain if you wish me to look at other things/configs but if so, please let me know and I will gladly provide.

I think it's the icon theme that's misleading. The :mailbox_with_mail: is the :bell: from what I can see, since the notification menu appears in your screenshot. Not sure what the one next to it is?

You could double check by switching the icon theme in :appearance: Appearance to Ambiant-MATE, and switching back. I'll bet the mailbox turns into the bell. I can replicate it by choosing "Ubuntu Mono Dark" as an icon theme.


In this case, it doesn't look like there is a messages indicator on that system, which would be expected if there isn't a traditional e-mail client (like Thunderbird or Evolution) installed or running. Notifications from websites (e.g. Gmail) or applications would appear as a system notification.

If the icon bothers you, a possibility is to copy the icon from the Ambiant-MATE theme.

Yes, I think you've nailed it, yet again, oh, supreme Master.

When applying the theme BlackMATE the notification bell changes for this bell to this mailbox icon.

Actually, the notification bell will remain as a bell only when selecting the themes Ambiant-MATE Ambiant-MATE-Dark and Radiant-MATE

If/when selecting any other theme it will change that bell icon into a receiving mailbox. Not sure if it's a feature or a bug but, as usual, THANK YOU <3

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