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The Indicator Applet port to GTK3 has finally landed in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. This, along with some changes to the GNOME Panel default settings, finally "fix" the Classic (fallback) GNOME session in Ubuntu 12.04:

Ubuntu 12.04 classic gnome session

As you can see in the screenshot above, the theme still needs some fixes. But it's great to finally have a fully working Classic GNOME 3 session without having to use PPAs.

Here is how it used to look (no indicators, Ubuntu Sound menu or Messaging menu, just a notification area):

ubuntu 11.10 classic gnome session

Also, the bug that was causing Compiz to fail when using the Classic GNOME session seems to have been fixed so Compiz should now work as long as you computer supports it.

Ubuntu 12.04 uses Unity 2D as the fallback session by default, so if you want to use the Classic (Fallback) GNOME Session, you'll have to install it:
sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Then log out and select "GNOME Classic" from the login screen:

If you want to use AppMenu (global menu) on the panel, install it using the command below:

Then ALT + right click (if that doesn't work, use ALT + SUPER + right click) on the panel, select "Add to panel" and add "Indicator Applet Appmenu".

If you want to install Indicator Applet with GTK3 support in Ubuntu 11.10, see THIS post.