An icon-only taskbar

I wanted to have the option the hide the text labels in the taskbar for quite some time now. I stumbled over bug 159480 recently and noticed that I’m not the only one. Sadly my patch for the task applet has been rejected by the maintainers, because they do not see enough value in this feature (you can follow the discussion on review-board). So I took the option to create and maintain a fork of the task applet with this option added. It is placed in playground and you can download it from

This is the normal task applet as you now it, fetched from current KDE trunk. It has the option to show icons of running tasks only – you can have it looking as normal too. Here is the screenshot:

This is placed as “flexibletasks” in playground. If there is a feature for the task applet you always wanted to implement and try out – this is open for your contribution.


  1. ❤ this.
    I managed to cheat the current taskbar implementation by using a vertical panel and forcing the buttons to be too small to display the text.

  2. Okay, I must ask…I did read through that discussion and I do think a “Hide text lables” makes a lot of sense (especially when there’s an issue of space, such as on netbooks) but I must say that I don’t see the need for a fork anyway.

    I mean, ideally if one want an “icon only” taskbar it should be only a matter of configuring the existing one. Now that option is not there. And since it’s not, it will always be a case of replacing it with something else. Either something like Smooth Tasks, or your fork.

    And since Smooth Tasks (and Fancy Tasks I think) can accomplish that, why fork it? What I’m trying to get at: is there something your fork does that Smooth Tasks do not?

    From the screenshot it looks pretty similar, but I will compile and test it myself but I’m basically curious to hear why you felt one of the alternatives wasn’t good enough.

    1. Well, I actually never used smooth tasks. I’m completely confident with the common tasks applet – I want to focus on stuff that has the quality of core-plasmoids. I just want this additional feature and here it is.
      Don’t overrate my word “fork”. I’m just doing this for myself – and why not make it useable for the rest of the world? I currently don’t plan to do anything else with this “fork” than adding the “show icon”-only feature. But that may change – or perhaps others want to jump in and try things out that would not make it into the vanilla applet.

      1. Okay. No worries. If it came across as if I was downplaying your addition to the taskmanager, I’m sorry. That was not my intention (and I would have loved to see it as a part of the core taskmanager in 4.6). I was just curious about the rationale behind it that I didn’t see in the discussion, and now I get it.

    2. Oh, additionally:

      Just downloaded from, compiled and installed.

      The name in the widget explorer does not match the name given here and on kde-look. In the widget explorer (and the name given if you right-click on it once it’s in a panel) is “Fancy Task Manager”. Small thing, but it would be better if they matched 🙂

      And one bug: the new task-manager doesn’t obey the “Show icons only” settings when you open the first window. To reproduce:

      Make sure the panel is using your task-manager. When you login, open say Dolphin to just get one task with an open window running. It show up as with the unforked taskmanager. That is, the app-icon on the left and the text on the right. Open a second program (say konqueror) and you have two icons and now the “Show icons only” option works. Same thing applies if you close all windows and start all over again. At least, that’s how it acts for me (using KDE SC 4.5.0).

  3. Kinda seems pointless too me as if it’s for a “space issue” the taskbar kinda does this behavior on it’s own. Usability wise, it makes no sense, unless of course you’re trying to save space because there’s to many windows open, which is already handled properly. I would have to agree with the developers, it would seem almost like it’s an option just because it can be an option (and a few other OS’s we shouldn’t be trying to mimic has it) and that’s completely the wrong way to go about things. Where’s the usability study and stats on this? I’m glad it’s not going to be part of the “default” kde core. Thank you KDE team. Now can we actually work on “true” xinerama support in the panels? Every time I add a new screen I get a panel on top of another panel on the original screen that should not be. First off a panel shouldn’t be able to cover an existing panel and secondly if it’s set to load at the bottom by default it should check for a second screen. Things like this are “BUGS” but this has been apparent for multiple releases and not fixed. I’m sure if you submitted a patch to fix that to kdereview board it would not be reject and help a much larger majority.

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