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Desktop independent global notification framework

Feature state

Rejected Information


Our current desktop environments lack a good, configurable notification framework like Growl on Mac OS X. With D-BUS in place we could develop/integrate a framework that is desktop independent and could serve both KDE and GNOME applications the same way.

This provides one step towards integrating both desktops more closely, thus making the user experience smoother.

One such notification system is already in development. It's called
mumbles and provides lots of features similar to Growl.

  • It's customizable
  • Has theming support
  • Has plugin support
  • Desktop independent
  • Can use compiz for smooth display

Using such a framework, more than just integrating desktops could be achieved:

  • Local notifications on hardware events
  • Remote notifications on login/hardware events
  • Easy scriptability for custom notifications

Steps necessary to implement such a framework in openSUSE/SLE:

  • Install and configure framework by default
  • Integrate framework configuration in desktop environment
  • Make framework interactive so the user can react on events (optional)
  • Make applications D-Bus/Notification aware, so they send events, already available: Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, several others

User benefit:

Such a framework would be a huge win for the general user experience, as it makes the desktop look more integrated and smooth. It's even a good idea for SLES, so administrators can be easily notified when events occur, without the hassle to set up syslog forwarding+parsing+notifying.


icons/user_comment.png G. L. wrote: (9 years ago)

I agree this is an important part of the desktop platform. How is this different from the libnotify solution which I believe we use for this purpose today?

It is my PM understanding it does most everything you are describing including a CLI (notify-send).

Applications such as NetworkManager, PowerManager, Pidgin and Banshee.

Reading their FAQ, the reason for not using libnotify is that the author wanted to put more Python dependent software on their system :-).

Is this proposal about switching from libnotify to mumbles? (honestly asking, I have no opinion)

icons/user_comment.png S. A. wrote: (9 years ago)

Honestly I have not much insighted into libnotify myself. Talking to Alex Graf about this, we came up with the idea to teach the libnotify daemon how to forward messages to mumbles. It turns out that libnotify has support for theming, so it should be possible to create a theme that forwards all events to mumbles.
Then we would not have to make a decision what we should use and could just switch and see what suits us best. This way we don't lose any functionality.

In my opinion mumbles looks a lot smoother than the current libnotify messages. However I guess everything possible with mumbles could be tought to libnotify as well. Frankly said I don't want to make a decision here, what I care for is that the functionality described in this fate will be integrated into our products.

icons/user_comment.png S. A. wrote: (9 years ago)

Talking to the developers I just learned that mumbles will intercept libnotify messages and handle them. There's a plugin for mumbles that does that.

icons/user_comment.png T. H. wrote: (9 years ago)

I think that having the notion of what a "notification" is and how the user can take "action"s to it is quite important. There are multiple classes of notifications - some are ephemeral while others must get acknowledgement from the user. For example, download complete from firefox, new driver or codec installation suggestion and smartd reporting imminent disk failures can and probably should use the same notification mechanism but they need to be handled differently.

For ephemeral notifications, I think what libnotify has been doing is fine but for anything else, we at least need a way for the user to ack or take actions accordingly and review and search unacked and acked notifications.

I think having such notification mechanism will help us a lot as a distro as it will enable us to suggest things in not-too-intrusive yet friendly way.

icons/user_comment.png M. S. wrote: (9 years ago)

libnotify does all that and ontop is based on a desktop independent freedesktop
specification for notifications to adopt by any desktop environment.
It is written in C which is much more suitable for daemons and provides bindings for D-BUS, Mono, Python and Vala.
Interactive notifications are already used widely; take PackageKit as an example.
The developer of growl is also interested to improve libnotify as they are closely related and friends with the maintainer.
A cross desktop friendly notifications utility in Python is the right thing to make things worse. If you want the bling just create a different theme for libnotify...
What libnotify needs though is a bit of coding love to implement stuff like network notifications.
Switch to Mumbles -> NO!
Contribute to libnotify -> YES!

icons/user_comment.png S. A. wrote: (9 years ago)

It's no longer the question whether to switch from one to the other. Mumbles is able to intercept libnotify messages so we can provide it "on top" and switch. Then it's a question of defaults and what we like this to become.

icons/user_comment.png A. J. wrote: (9 years ago)

Ubuntu is working on a notification framework well (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/NotifyOSD ).

Are those in a state that we can make a decision to go one way or the other?

Initially we could add it as optional package and ask for feedback with Milestone 4 - and then decide what to do.

icons/user_comment.png W. S. wrote: (9 years ago)

The discussion about notification APIs is still very active on the XDG list.  I recommend not adopting either the Ubuntu proposal or the galago derived fdo Notification spec until a standard has been agreed.

  1. The Notification spec is not a standard.   Its unilateral assumption of the org.freedesktop.Notification namespace is controversial.  A standard spec is still under  discussion.
  2. The Ubuntu design makes strong and arbitrary restrictions on what can be shown in the notification. 

The intention of the current discussion is to design a notification API that can be a superset of the Ubuntu proposal and provides the features required by several projects outside Ubuntu.  Since a productive discussion is still taking place, making a premature decision would undermine the XDG standards process and cause additional work when a final spec is agreed.

icons/user_comment.png L. L. wrote: (9 years ago)

This request is confused on several fronts. At least one of our desktops, KDE, has had such a framework, KNotify, since ages. Mumbles itself declares itself to be "a plugin driven, modern notification system for Gnome", so it doesn't look very desktop independent. And it is enough to read the XDG list to see that libnotify is in fact not a standard or anything close either.
I assume that it will still take some time to reach any usable consensus on an actual specification for notifications, so there is probably not much to be done here for 11.2 besides joining the XDG discussions (unless, of course, this proposal in fact wanted to be named 'GNOME notification framework').

icons/user_comment.png C. T. wrote: (9 years ago)

What's the current status on this feature request? I guess it has to be rejected for 11.2, since there is nothing yet? But what about SLE 11 SP1?

icons/user_comment.png J. R. wrote: (9 years ago)

I suggest rejecting it, there is no common standard upstream so trying to force one on SP1 is incorrect.

icons/user_comment.png F. L. wrote: (9 years ago)

I have to agree with JP.

Last change: 5 years ago
Score: 7
  • Negative: 3
  • Neutral: 3
  • Positive: 10
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