Desktop notifications

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Libnotify is an easy way to display desktop notifications and information in a small dialog. It implements the Desktop Notifications Specification and it is already used by many open source apps like Evolution, Pidgin, etc. It has support for GTK+ and Qt applications and is desktop independent.

Installation

Libnotify can be installed with the package libnotify, available in the official repositories.

In order to use libnotify, you have to install a notification server:

Builtin servers

Cinnamon, GNOME Shell and KDE use their own implementations to display notifications, and you can't replace them. Their notification servers are started automatically on login to receive notifications from applications via DBus.

  • cinnamon provides a notification server itself. Notifications are displayed at the top right corner of the screen.
  • gnome-shell provides a notification server itself. Notifications are displayed at the bottom of the screen.
  • KDE uses knotify4 from package kdebase-runtime to display notifications. Notifications are displayed at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Other servers

In other desktop environments, the notification server is launched on the first call via DBus. You can choose one of the following implementations:

  • notification-daemon is the notification server used by GNOME in Fallback Mode. Notifications are displayed at the top right corner of the screen.
Note: notification-daemon doesn't have a DBus service file, so you have to autostart it. (Already done in GNOME Fallback Mode.) To start the daemon manually, execute the following command: /usr/lib/notification-daemon-1.0/notification-daemon.
  • xfce4-notifyd is a notification server for Xfce, available in the official repositories.
Tip: To configure xfce4-notifyd, run the following command in the terminal: xfce4-notifyd-config.
  • dunst is a minimalistic notification daemon for Linux designed to fit nicely into minimalistic windowmanagers like dwm.
  • notify-osd is a notification server for Unity, available in the official repositories.
  • awn-extras-applets contains a notification-daemon applet for the Avant Window Navigator, available in the official repositories.
  • statnotAUR is a small, lightweight notification daemon that can output notifications to the root window's title, stdout or FIFO pipes, making it integrate very well with tiling window managers. It's available in the Arch User Repository or as a git repo.
  • twmn-gitAUR is a notification system for tiling window managers. It's available in the Arch User Repository or as a git repo.

Tips and tricks

Write your own notify app

You can write your own libnotify display messages easily in many programming languages through GObject-Introspection or bindings, or you can simply use bash.

The following examples display simple a "Hello world" notification.

Bash

hello_world.sh
#!/bin/bash
notify-send 'Hello world!' 'This is an example notification.' --icon=dialog-information

Boo

  • Dependency: notify-sharp (boo)
  • Makedependency: boo
  • Build with: booc hello_world.boo
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe (or booi hello_world.boo)
hello_world.boo
import Notifications from "notify-sharp"
Hello = Notification()
Hello.Summary  = "Hello world!"
Hello.Body     = "This is an example notification."
Hello.IconName = "dialog-information"
Hello.Show()

C

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Build with: gcc -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs libnotify` hello_world.c
hello_world.c
#include <libnotify/notify.h>
void main () {
	notify_init ("Hello world!");
	NotifyNotification * Hello = notify_notification_new ("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
	notify_notification_show (Hello, NULL);
}

C++

  • Dependency: libnotifymmAUR from AUR
  • Build with: g++ -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs libnotifymm-1.0` hello_world.cc
hello_world.cc
#include <libnotifymm.h>
int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
	Notify::init("Hello world!");
	Notify::Notification Hello("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
        Hello.show();
}

C#

  • Dependency: notify-sharp
  • Build with: mcs -pkg:notify-sharp hello_world.cs
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
hello_world.cs
using Notifications;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void Main() {
		var Hello = new Notification();
		Hello.Summary  = "Hello world!";
		Hello.Body     = "This is an example notification.";
		Hello.IconName = "dialog-information";
		Hello.Show();
	}
}

Genie

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg libnotify hello_world.gs
hello_world.gs
uses 
	Notify

init
	Notify.init ("Hello world")
	var Hello=new Notification ("Hello world!","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
	Hello.show ()

Java

  • Dependency: java-gnomeAUR from AUR
  • Makedependency: java-environment
  • Build with: mkdir HelloWorld && javac -classpath /usr/share/java/gtk.jar -d HelloWorld HelloWorld.java
  • Run with: java -classpath /usr/share/java/gtk.jar:HelloWorld HelloWorld
HelloWorld.java
import org.gnome.gtk.Gtk;
import org.gnome.notify.Notify;
import org.gnome.notify.Notification;

public class HelloWorld
{
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Gtk.init(args);
        Notify.init("Hello world");
        Notification Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
        Hello.show();
    }
}

JavaScript

hello_world.js
#!/usr/bin/gjs
Notify = imports.gi.Notify;
Notify.init ("Hello world");
Hello=new Notify.Notification ({summary: "Hello world!",
                                body: "This is an example notification.",
                                "icon-name": "dialog-information"});
Hello.show ();

Perl

hello_world.pl
#!/usr/bin/perl
use Glib::Object::Introspection;
Glib::Object::Introspection->setup (
	basename => 'Notify',
	version => '0.7',
	package => 'Notify');
Notify->init;
my $hello = Notify::Notification->new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
$hello->show;

Or you can use the old, static perl-gtk2-notify bindings:

hello_world.pl
#!/usr/bin/perl
use Gtk2::Notify -init, "Hello world";
my $hello = Gtk2::Notify->new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
$hello->show;

Python

hello_world.py
#!/usr/bin/python
from gi.repository import Notify
Notify.init ("Hello world")
Hello=Notify.Notification.new ("Hello world","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
Hello.show ()

Or you can use the old, static python-notify bindings:

hello_world.py
#!/usr/bin/python2
import pynotify
pynotify.init ("Hello world")
Hello=pynotify.Notification ("Hello world!","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
Hello.show ()

Ruby

hello_world.rb
#!/usr/bin/ruby
require 'gir_ffi'
GirFFI.setup :Notify
Notify.init("Hello world")
Hello = Notify::Notification.new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
Hello.show

Or you can use the old, static ruby-libnotify bindings:

hello_world.rb
#!/usr/bin/ruby
require 'RNotify'
Notify.init("Hello world")
Hello = Notify::Notification.new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
Hello.show

Vala

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg libnotify hello_world.vala
hello_world.vala
using Notify;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void main () {
		Notify.init ("Hello world");
		var Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
		Hello.show ();
	}
}

Visual Basic .NET

  • Dependency: notify-sharp
  • Makedependency: mono-basic
  • Build with: vbnc -r:/usr/lib/mono/notify-sharp/notify-sharp.dll hello_world.vb
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
hello_world.vb
Imports Notifications
Public Class Hello
	Public Shared Sub Main
		Dim Hello As New Notification
		Hello.Summary  = "Hello world!"
		Hello.Body     = "This is an example notification."
		Hello.IconName = "dialog-information"
		Hello.Show
	End Sub
End Class

See also