Tool tips (a.k.a. tooltips) are those annoying, usually mostly yellow flyouts that appear as your mouse moves over various parts of a GUI. Although tooltips violate one of the Fundamental Rules (don’t do shit if I don’t click you you) they may actually be useful to some people either when an application, desktop, or system is first being learned, or more generally to allow a user to understand the function of obscure and rarely used buttons or menu items.
But most likely you will just want to turn them off. Here’s how to do this for the Gnome Panel.
Despite their utility, tooltips often also violate a second Fundamental Rule — if you are not essential I should be able to turn your ass off. It seems to me that for a long time Gnome, the premier desktop for Linux and the default desktop for the Ubuntu distribution of Linux, did not allow its tooltip to be turned off. I think this is true because some time ago I tried really hard to find out how to turn Gnome tooltips off, and all I got for my trouble were comments such as “You can’t do that” and “Yea, I wish you could do that” and so on.
But, Gnome is going through constant revision, so I checked again this morning and found out how to turn off the tool tips. Yes, you can now do this. Since Gnome also violates the Fundamental Rule that says “Stop fucking with the layout unless you have to” in a big way … with menu items and basic system administration GUI tools being totally unpredictable from version to version, you may have to experiment a bit to follow these instructions.
Short Version: At command line type:
Navigate to “tooltips_enabled” under apps, panel, global, and uncheck it.
(Tip: use Ctl-F and check both option boxes, search for “tooltips.)
The long version is fun because you may discover myriad ways to mess up, I mean tweak, your computer along the way. Disclaimer: Usual disclaimer.
Essentially, you want to find the line in a particular GUI that says “tooltips_enabled” and the uncheck the box next to that. To get to that point, I did the following:
System -> Preferences -> Main Menu
That only works in some versions of Gnome on Linux. “Main Menu” may be somewhere else and you can spend some time looking around for it. Or, just open a terminal and type in “alacarte” which is the name of this “Main Menu” GUI thingie. The GUI application alacarte is the freeedesktop.org menu editor. Menus can and should comply with freedesktop.org specifications, and if they do, you can edit them from this application. As far as I can tell, alacarte does not have options that allow you to send it instructions to change the configuration, so you have to use alacarte as a gui. Which is fine.
Once alacarte is open, you will probably want to maximize it because the options and stuff are very wordy.
What you need to do at this point is to trick the computer into showing you another menu item that it normally does not display. See how the left side of Main Menu (alacarte) is basically your panel menu layout, and the right side is menu items and sub menus? Find the item called “Configuration Editor.” On my system is is under Applications -> System Tools. Why is it here instead of System -> Administration or System -> Preference? The answer is obvious. The people who develop Gnome are brilliant, but stoned.
Anyway, check the box next to “Configuration Editor” and close Main Menu/alacarte. Now, “Configuration Editor” is available as an option to you.
Now, go to Applications -> System Tools -> Configuration Editor
Or, you can just skip all that messing around and open a terminal and type in:
and that will open the Configuration Editor.
Now, at this point you would think you’d click GNOME, but you don’t. Remember, the Gnome designers are stoned. Why would you put a Gnome configuration thingie under “GNOME”??
Where you DO go does make sense in some ways. Go to applications->panel->global.
Then find tooltips_enabled and uncheck it. Now the tooltips are turned off in the panel.
There is probably a way to do the above on the command line but I don’t recommend it. Nor am I exactly sure how to do it.
Tooltips will still exist in other applications. You may be able to disable them using a similar approach, and if you manage that, please let us know. Note that the Configuration Editor has a “find” function. Use it carefully!