Ubuntu, the open source operating system, is ditching the system tray, the bar at the bottom of most browsers that is supposed to act as a notification area. The rationale for the change, according to Matthew Paul Thomas, an Ubuntu contributor, was "its ineffectiveness at notifying people of things, and its inconsistent behavior."
The proliferation of notification icons, that are not really associated with the delivery of any kind of notification, has added to the ineffectiveness, junking up the tray and making it harder to read at a glance.
The move away from what they believe is an over-use of this feature has been a development through several iterations. It's replacement idea is that of the menu.
"In Ubuntu 10.10, we plan to introduce a power menu, which replaces the Gnome Power Manager applet; a network menu, which replaces the Network Manager applet (nm-applet); and a clock menu, or time and date menu, that replaces the Gnome clock applet. We'll also be extending the sound menu, to replace the notification area items for music players...The pattern here is that everything is becoming a menu...Our roadmap is that in Ubuntu 11.04, one year from now, there will be no notification area."