How to make wicd systray to appear in GNOME on Ubuntu 11.10 / How to fix missing wicd network manager systray on Ubuntu

After upgrading my sis’s notebook from Ubuntu 11.04 to Ubuntu 11.10 on her Acer Aspire 5736Z the default gnome wireless network manager started behaving oddly.
The Network Manager did not show any networks, even though the network drivers showed that are loaded properly on the Linux host and using the normal commands like iwlist or iwconfig I could list and see the networks and even connect to a network.

As my sister is not a console geek like me it was necessery of course to have an easy way to connect herself to the Internet with nice GUI application. I personally love WICD Network Manager and as the default gnome manager was misbehaving I immediately installed her wicd.
With wicd , the wireless networks were properly listed and there was no connection issues to the wireless networks, however the wicd system tray was missing and hence everytime she wanted to connect to a wireless network, she had to keep wicd-client running active in the Dock or run it manually every time on connect, when she had to change her physical location and connect to another wireless network.
This of course is quite unhandy and gives her a bad image of Linux and I definitely want to make her love free software and GNU / Linux. Thus I want to give her a GNU / Linux she will be easy to use.

To make her more satisfied with her Ubuntu I googled around to see what causes the wicd systray to be missing after some research online I found out, its probably due to either wicd bug or some kind of interface changes in unity newer versions of Ubuntu. Some people online suggested a fix via changing values in gconf-editor but this work around by changing the values in gconf-editor:

'desktop' -> 'unity' -> 'panel'

I tried this suggested fix which was reported to work on Ubuntu 11.04 but the gconf registry suggested pathway was missing at all so this solution did not worked.

I further read some other suggested solution using wicd-client by invoking it with two args like so:

stanimira@ubuntu:~$ wicd-client -n &
...stanimira@ubuntu:~$ wicd-client -a &

This proposed solution did not worked either, then I found in one of the Ubuntu bugs reports, a little shell script (add-wicd-to-whitelist.sh) that changes some values in gconf so I proceeded downloaded and give it a try:

stanimira@ubuntu:~$ wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/add-wicd-to-whitelist.sh
...
stanimira@ubuntu:~$ sh add-wicd-to-whitelist.sh
...

For my surprise running the script doesn’t immediately changed nothing and wicd wireless connectivity indicator was still missing from the tray.
I thought it might need to reload gnome so I give it a restart and HOORAY! after the restart the WICD connected wireless strength show up, like you can see in the screenshot below 😉

Wicd indicator running in systray on GNOME in Ubuntu 11.10

Now hope this fix will, help out there experiencing the same issues to work around his wireless network connectivity issues 😉 Cheers.

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12 Responses to “How to make wicd systray to appear in GNOME on Ubuntu 11.10 / How to fix missing wicd network manager systray on Ubuntu”

  1. BauerPower says:
    Firefox 4.0.1 Firefox 4.0.1 Windows 7 Windows 7
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:2.0.1) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/4.0.1

    I just downloaded Linux Ubuntu 11.10 onto a memorex CD-R 52X 700MB 80min disc. When I put the disc in the drive, it gives me a message to “run wubi.exe”. When I click and yes to that and the message asking me to let it make changes to my computer I am lead to a mesage asking whether I want to demo from a CD, install, or learn more. I to demo Ubuntu from a CD and then go to a screen where it asks to reboot. if I click reboot now it reboots. Now here is the issue. I guess there’s suppose to be a screen that says to try Ubuntu but I never get that screen when my computer reboots. If I get the chance I may just toss this disc and get a flash drive but for the moment I have to use a disc so please don’t say to put it on a flash drive or install it directly to my computer. Help? Thanks!
    Also, if you wouldn’t mind helping with any additional trouble I may encounter or you may just want to email me so we can communicate about the results then my email is dcampri@gmail.com
    When I reboot my computer I try pressing f8 & f12 (both with and without the function key). I’m not sure how I can get to the BIOS stuff.
    When I reboot my computer I try pressing f8 & f12 (both with and without the function key). I’m not sure how I can get to the BIOS stuff. I’ve rebooted several times and nothing happens

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    • admin says:
      Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
      Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

      Hi what kind of computer are you trying to boot the Ubuntu on? Maybe you need to boot from the CD with nomodtest option.

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  2. Mike T says:
    Firefox 3.6.24 Firefox 3.6.24 Ubuntu 10.10 Ubuntu 10.10
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.2.24) Gecko/20111107 Ubuntu/10.10 (maverick) Firefox/3.6.24

    Great! I lkie to use WiCD. This makes it even better.

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  3. deckoff says:
    Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit/535.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/16.0.912.75 Safari/535.7

    The best thing I like about wicd is that it can execute scripts pre-interface-down and post interface up, based on wireless id, which meand I can write a script which mounts my NAS based on my home wireless id( only when I am at home) and unmounts it every time my PC sleeps or shutdowns.
    Thus, the PC never thinks a NAS is mounted when it is not, and a missing mountpoint might be a cause for system VERY slow shutdown and freezes, even in Ubuntu. I had to give up Wicd for the reasons stated in your post( not able to add a wicd tray icon), and some bugs in the main interface when trying to add scripts.
    I will give your solution a try, strangely, the script does the same thing I tried when I moved to Ubuntu 11.10, adding the tray icon to white list, probably some fixes where pushed both in Unity and wicd.
    Anyway, thank you 🙂

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    • admin says:
      Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
      Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

      Hi man,

      Actually I’m quite disappointed from Unity? I wonder, what do you think about it. I think these thing is totall in the wrong direction. Also recently I’m not advising people to use Ubuntu. Right now in my view Ubuntu Linux is making a bad service to the free software community as it is not that better than Debian on the first place and then again it fosters a lot of users not to take any interest in the Linux architecture plus they’re too commercial. I hope I’m not right though and they help for the community development 🙂

      Best
      Georgi

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  4. deckoff says:
    Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit/535.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/16.0.912.75 Safari/535.7

    I disagree with you here 🙂
    I like Unity from day one – according to me it is well designed. It removes the clutter.
    Lets have a look at Android, the most successful Linux distro up to date – it can be modded easily, can be tweaked to the needs of the power user, and still the newbie can pick-up the phone and start using it without any need of reading big books.
    This is what Unity ( I think) is trying to do – providing an easy to use interface with powerful OS, ready to be tweaked lying under it.
    The main problem for me with Ubuntu is BUGs and lack of polished software – GIMP is really powerful, 85% of the users can easily go with it but still people are downloading illegally Photoshop. Same story with LibreOffice and MS Office.
    Look should too improved.
    I do think that more people should be brought to linux, and easy to use OS out of the box is key. This way people will be introduce to the philosophy of OSS and Linux, so I dont think Ubuntu is doing any harm to the comunity

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  5. admin says:
    Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

    I agree with some points you made.
    I don’t aagree with LibreOffice its really poor quality office. And I don’t know why but the developers also make it to be immersily hard for the beginner to use. LibreOffice lacks unfortunately the convenience of MS-Office. Some very stupid things like Page Numbering are still a pain in the ass after so many years. Plus the recovery of documents that so often appears is so annoying. GIMP is a good substitute for Photoshop and its a pity so many people still continue design with cracked Photoshop.

    Unity is a very hard to grasp and doesn’t resemble in no mean the interface of Windows. My sister who is not an IT expert but just a user still has issues with working properly with Unity. Some things in Unity are just badly implemented. Also the problem is that people doesn’t recognize that Linux is not so much linux as GNU and therefore is GNU Linux. The philosophical ideas behind the two start to become wide. Linux wants to provide powerful software, where GNU aims that the software is Free in a sense of Freedom (not functionality or powerfulnes).

    Main problem with Ubuntu is that it is way less multi platform if compared to Debian. On the other hand Ubuntu steals a lot of users who previously has succesfully contributed to other projects like Fedora for example.
    The new Ubuntu converts doesn’t have any good idea about the philosophical meaning of Free Software (Free as in Freedom), but just aim to have a software they can tweak and that is “bugless” or light fast.
    Thus I think many of the Ubuntu Converts are simply becoming Linux users and never really use the software because it gives them freedom of choice and diversity. After few disappointments with Ubuntu many people convert back to Windows or always keep their Windows on the PC and use Windows most of the time. Besides that, I’ve never seen an Ubuntu user that is a true Free Software evangelist (idealist) in the sense many people used to be in the yearlier G / Linux years.

    best
    Georgi

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    • deckoff says:
      Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
      Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit/535.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/16.0.912.75 Safari/535.7

      Dont think LibreOffice is poor quality, but do think IS ugly and needs re-design now. 🙂
      Unity – well I think about installing it to an old PC and giving the pC to my mother – if she copes fast with it, this should be a good sign. I do think that more experienced users have problems with “does not look like windows”.
      If Canonical brings much more people to the platform, there is no way 100% of them to be interested in the philosophy of GNU/Linux (or anything). One has to decide what is better 5 users and all of G/L evangelist, or 1000 users and 20 of them G/L evangelists. I hope that more users will bring more developers thus more quality

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      • hip0 says:
        Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
        Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

        Hmm, I did not thought from this perspective. Intersting angle to look at things. What I’m concerned, is I’ve seen so many users that start hating Linux because of it being a bit overcomplicated. I don’t know if its their addiction to Windows or what. My sister has still troubles understanding how to work with Ubuntu’s Unity GUI after few months time and she insists on Windows. I installed her Windows inside a Virtual Machine. Even that way she seems unhappy. More than 4 month s now and still she did not find a way on how to install programs to her Ubuntu. I don’t know if its just her being too lazy or too not interested in doing things on her Linux but in general this seems to be a bad sign for the general direction of Unity / Ubuntu. Before that she can cope better with the old classical interface of GNOME. I show her she can switch back to the old interface but she didn’t like that either?? So I don’t know maybe its just her as a strange user behavior.

        Cya

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    • deckoff says:
      Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 Google Chrome 16.0.912.75 GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
      Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit/535.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/16.0.912.75 Safari/535.7

      PS Do you run the provided script at start-up. Or you just re-started once?

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      • hip0 says:
        Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
        Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

        Nope,

        Its enough the script is ran just once. It modifies some gconf settings for GNOME to the user to which it is ran so wicd starts appearing all the time in Unity right dock.

        Best
        Georgi

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  6. Keenan says:
    Google Chrome 16.0.912.77 Google Chrome 16.0.912.77 GNU/Linux x64 GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/535.7 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/16.0.912.77 Safari/535.7

    This worked perfectly lol. Thanks!

    I had to install wicd because network-manager wasn’t working with my torrents. For some reason it would disconnect me from the wireless network. Working now thank you kindly 😀

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