I turned on the "Show terminal status in close buttons" option (found on the "Tabs" page of the profile settings dialog) recently to find out what it does. It wasn't obvious, so for those curious, it does this:
When enabled, if a tab, that is not being currently displayed (active), receives characters, the "X" close button is replaced by a blue circle with an italic "i" in it ("information" icon, I presume; how universal is that icon?). Additionally, it seem that if the tab receivs a bell character, the "X" is replaced with a red circle with an explanation point, and the tab name will flash. (Does the tab name flash even if this feature is not enabled?)
A few tangential points:
Repurposing the close button seems wrong from a UI design standpoint, though if the status must be communicated via an icon, its probably the best you can do in limited space. If the tabs were bigger, I'd put the icons to the left of the tab name.
The label used for the option is vague, and while it was close enough that I guessed correctly at what it did, I wasn't sure. Is it really a "status" for the terminal? Technically it is an activity indicator.
I would probably address both of these issues by using a different notification mechanism, such as tab background color. Then your settings dialog would be more like:
[X] Change tab background color to notify when new text is received
[X] Change tab background color to notify when a bell is received
(These labels are still incomplete. They don't communicate that the notification only happens when the tab is in the background.)
Tab name text color or face (bold, italic) are other options, through probably less visually effective.
Though generally I'm not a big fan of overuse of colors, and the little "i" icons do look nice.
Anyway, the point of this feature request is:
I'd like to be able to selectively enable this notification feature on a per-tab basis. More accurately, I'd like to be able to set the default in the profile, and then override that via command line switch or context menu selection.
My use case is that I have a few tabs dedicated to running daermons, which spew out information all the time, but nothing of importance. I don't want the visual distraction of seeing the "i" icons on these unimportant tabs. It then makes the important tabs with activity less noticable.
Also, I'd want to retain the error (bell) notofication. Not likely to ever be seen on these tabs, but if it did happen, I'd want to know about it.