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Most of the application can show nicely formatted notification on events that appear on top right corner of the screen. I'm about to write a bash script that will do fairy long processing in the background and I really want to know when it is finished. How can I show that nice notification from a bash script?

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7 Answers 7

154

If you're using the new notification system in Jaunty, you want the notify-send command

notify-send - a program to send desktop notifications

SYNOPSIS

With notify-send you can sends desktop notifications to the user via
a notification daemon from the command line.  These notifications can be
used to inform the user about an event or display some form of information
without getting in the user's way.

OPTIONS

-u, --urgency=LEVEL
Specifies the urgency level (low, normal, critical).

-t, --expire-time=TIME
    Specifies the timeout in milliseconds at which to expire the notification.
-i, --icon=ICON[,ICON...]
    Specifies an icon filename or stock icon to display.
-c, --category=TYPE[,TYPE...]
    Specifies the notification category.
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  • 4
    Thanks, just found it myself :) apt-get install libnotify-bin have to be run before to get it.
    – vava
    Aug 29, 2009 at 10:39
  • 8
    Eg: notify-send Test "Hello World"
    – Thaha kp
    Jun 4, 2014 at 8:26
  • 3
    The --expire-time parameter does not work on Ubuntu thanks to this "feature" (bug). bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/notify-osd/+bug/390508
    – axiopisty
    Apr 18, 2016 at 15:43
  • 2
    I found that notify-send is inhibited during video/audio playback. While this is a valid use case, if you still want to see them then --urgency=critical must be added.
    – ccpizza
    Feb 20, 2017 at 7:36
  • 2
    To make it pop up a window with an "OK" and "Cancel" button use notify-send --expire-time=0 "Hello World" or notify-send -t 0 "Hello world" Apr 2, 2018 at 17:55
42

Found another way, through Zenity

echo 'message:hi' | zenity --notification --listen

or like this:

zenity --notification --text "System update necessary!" 

(This also has the benefit of already being installed on Ubuntu.)

2
  • I like Zenity in that it supports user interactions for dialogs (unlike notify-send) Jan 21, 2018 at 13:32
  • Doing it in .profile causes an error: The name org.freedesktop.Notifcations was not provided by any .service file. Otherwise it works well. Ubuntu 18.04
    – WesternGun
    Apr 11, 2021 at 11:23
16

Tested on Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04, 18.04, 20.04. Screenshots from Ubuntu 20.04.

  1. [WORKS WELL] Popup notification that auto-closes after 4~10 seconds (somehow tied to your OS settings?):

    notify-send "Hello world"
    

    enter image description here
    Source: https://superuser.com/a/31919/425838

  2. Popup window with buttons to click:

    1. Window does NOT get auto-focus: Source: myself; note: for older Unity-based versions of Ubuntu, such as 16.04, -t is ignored for all values except 0--how stupid. :(. For newer Gnome-based versions of Ubuntu, such as 18.04 or 20.04, -t is ignored entirely. Therefore, on older Unity-based versions of Ubuntu, such as 16.04, using -t 0 causes buttons to show up, but on newer Gnome-based versions, it does NOT. That means that for the Ubuntu 20.04 screenshot shown below, the behavior and look of notify-send -t 0 "Hello world" is exactly identical to notify-send "Hello world" above.

      notify-send -t 0 "Hello world"
      

      enter image description here

      On Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04 or later, just add -u critical to the command instead to get it to stay open indefinitely until you click anywhere on it!:

      notify-send -u critical "Hello world"
      

      enter image description here
      Source: @lucidbrot's comment below this answer, plus my own testing.

    2. OR Window DOES get auto-focus:

      zenity --info --title "Hello" --text "World"
      

      Note: the window will NOT close until you click the OK button.
      enter image description here
      Source: https://askubuntu.com/a/804475/327339

  3. [MY FAVORITE] The window auto-closes after the specified --timeout in seconds, OR after you click the "OK" button!

    zenity --info --title "Hello" --text "World" --timeout=2
    

    Note: the window WILL automatically close after the specified timeout above, in seconds!
    enter image description here
    Source: myself reading the man pages: man zenity

  4. [super ugly-looking]

    xmessage 'hello world'
    

    Note: the window will NOT close until you click the okay button.
    enter image description here
    Source: http://www.linux-commands-examples.com/xmessage

Play sounds too

  1. If you want to play sounds too, along with the window popup, to signify the completion of a command or something, see my other answer here: AskUbuntu.com: How to make a sound once a process is complete?
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  • 1
    My notification with -t 0 disappears by itself unless the level is critical just like the others. I'm on Ubuntu 18.04. But the other options work great, and the [super ugly-looking] made me laugh
    – lucidbrot
    Jul 30, 2020 at 10:13
  • 1
    very detail. Thank you
    – Russo
    May 27 at 4:53
13

For KDE users:

$ kdialog --title "Long process completed!" --passivepopup "This popup will disappear in 5 seconds" 5 &
1
  • Is it possible to set an icon for the notification?
    – Malabarba
    May 14, 2012 at 4:18
12

There's also xmessage that will pop-up a window, so it should work on any X11 system.

Pro: It also allows interactively prompting the user with buttons.

Con: Like any pop-up alert, it typically receives focus, so if you're in the middle of typing it can disappear before you read the message.

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  • 6
    Con: It looks ugly as hell, and also is a super tiny window which is not always obvious to the user. Anyways, it is universal though. :)
    – Nik Reiman
    May 6, 2013 at 11:37
  • xmessage doesn't work in Fedora though. Its not installed by default. Jun 3, 2014 at 16:47
  • It's not available in the default Xorg installation of Arch Linux either. Jan 22, 2018 at 8:06
  • You can also get a popup window with an "OK" and "Cancel" button via notify-send --expire-time=0 "Hello World" or notify-send -t 0 "Hello world". Otherwise, however, the -t option is ignored due to some stupid "design decisions": askubuntu.com/questions/110969/notify-send-ignores-timeout Apr 2, 2018 at 18:04
  • I couldn't take it; I had to write my own answer :) superuser.com/a/1310142/425838 Apr 2, 2018 at 18:15
4

There exists a cross-platform solution called Yfiton:

$ yfiton -n desktop -Pmessage="Lunch time!" -Pposition=TOP_RIGHT
2

In a shell script, you can also call the osd_cat utility from libxosd.

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  • 1
    This is a little bit different as it doesn't use ubuntu desktop notifications.
    – vava
    Aug 29, 2009 at 13:43
  • Yes, this is an alternative that you can use with any Linux distribution and any WM/DE.
    – geek
    Aug 30, 2009 at 13:39

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