Jaunty Tooltip Annoyance

I upgraded to Jaunty a few days ago, and have been happy with the new version for the most part. One thing was driving me crazy though: the tooltips in the workspace switcher were staying up until I moved the mouse over them. This is way more annoying than you might think. Imagine that you’re trying to write some code, and switching frequently between your IDE on desktop 1 and the API reference in your browser window on desktop 4. After every switch, there’s a useless tooltip hovering over the panel, partially obscuring your windows, and it won’t go away until you mouse over it. It’s like trying to code while a gnat is constantly buzzing around your face.

There’s a bug filed against it, of course, but there’s no workaround. I did find two blog posts that offered a workaround of sorts by globally disabling all panel tooltips. At first I thought that was a bit extreme, but after swatting a few hundred tooltips I was ready to try anything. Unfortunately, this setting did not appear to have any effect, even after restarting the panel. I was still getting the tooltips.

*Sigh*. Well, seeing as how I do claim to be a programmer, and I can often be found extolling the virtues of open source to people who mostly don’t care, maybe I should practice what I preach, dive into the source code, and fix it myself. Right? Right.

It turns out this is really easy to fix. Assuming, of course, that your definition of “fix” is the same as mine, which is “disable all tooltips for the workspace switcher applet”. There is a global setting to do this, and it just requires changing a single line of code.

To build a fixed version of libwnck, first download the patch, and save it to the /tmp directory. Then run the following commands in a terminal:

$ sudo apt-get build-dep libwnck
$ apt-get source libwnck
$ cd libwnck-2.26.0
$ patch -p0 </tmp/libwnck-notooltip.patch
$ debchange -v 2.26.0-ubuntu1+notooltips

The debchange command will keep APT from “upgrading” your custom package. It will open the debian/changelog file in the default editor so you can enter a description. You can skip this step if the notification to upgrade libwnck doesn’t bother you.

$ debuild -rfakeroot binary
$ cd ..
$ sudo dpkg -i libwnck-common_2.26.0-ubuntu1+notooltips_all.deb libwnck22_2.26.0-ubuntu1+notooltips_i386.deb
$ killall gnome-panel

If you don’t want to build the packages yourself, you can download mine here.

11 Responses to “Jaunty Tooltip Annoyance”

  1. david Says:

    Thanks, worked!

  2. Мульт Says:

    Очень интересно! Судя по некоторым откликам ….

  3. nyc2012 Says:

    I know this is not the right place for this, but i was wondering if you could tell me more how you where able to print server side in java. i have a webservice that needs to print barcodes strait onto zebra printers. I would like to do it seamlessly from the server strait to the desktop. How can i do this

  4. jason Says:

    I posted a comment to your question on stackoverflow.


  5. Sporkman Says:

    Fixed the problem in 10.04 Lucid Lynx too, thanks! (Just needed to change the libwnck version to 2.30.0)

  6. Cyberg Says:

    I can’t believe that as of 11th of August 2010, this is STILL a problem, even though the initial bug was posted more than a year ago.

    Thanks a lot for your fix and the description, I’ve used it twice so far.

  7. Andreas Says:

    Wow, thanks. Like Cyberg says, that this is this difficult (not really, but should be a toggle switch) with this many complaints make me wonder who ubuntu is listening to.

  8. Sebastian Says:

    Thanks! This fix made my day!

  9. matt Says:

    _re_ Cyberg’s comment… I find it even more unbelievable that Ubuntu still have not removed the useless tool tip about dragging in Natty Narwhale (11.04)… that’s nearly two years! Trying the fix above to get rid of the useless tool tip.

  10. matt Says:

    Works on Natty Narwhale… had to change the name to 1:2.30.6-0ubuntu3 and had to install the deb tools as well… worked a treat and has got rid of those stupid (useless) tool tips!

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