Gmail Notifier For Ubuntu 9.04

Ubuntu 9.04 is the latest major release of Ubuntu. Among it’s many improvements, it brings with it a very cool new notification system to notify the user of events happening on the system using a nice transparent popup window in one corner of the screen.

The notification system has been designed to be non intrusive and as such, does not require user intervention at all. All notifications are on the screen for a pre-defined period of time and after that just disappear without the user having to do anything.

The Ubuntu team has done a very good job of modifying the various system applications to use the new framework but until now I haven’t seen any email notification application using this framework.

The non-intrusive nature of the notifications makes it a natural choice to be used as an email notification method and the first utility to be made for the task is the awesome Gmail Notifier called gm-notify.

gm-notify has still not been included in the main Jaunty repository, so to install it you will have to add its launchpad PPA repository to the package manager.

Start editing the software sources by starting the application from “System -> Administration -> Software Sources”, and add the following repository to the list of third party repositories.

gm-notify Software sources

Click on close and reload to let the package manager update it’s repository with the new list of packages. This should be done in a couple of minutes.

Now, you can install the gm-notify utility using the Synaptic Package Manager at “System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager”.


You might be prompted about a missing apt key and such but you can ignore that for now, since we haven’t installed the PPA key for this particular repository yet. In any case, the repository is safe and I have tested it myself.

Now, to configure gm-notify to work with your account, you will have to press ALT+F2 and type in the “Run” dialogue box which comes up, type “” to run the gm-notify configuration GUI.


Enter your username, password and the mail checking interval and click on Apply.


Now, from the same “Run” dialogue box (Alt+F2), start the gm-notify daemon by type “”. Press the Enter key and you should see a small mail icon in the Ubuntu Panel.

Now, everytime you recieve a new email, you will see a nice cool looking notification. No need to check your email like every minute.

gm-notify notification

Since, this is a new facility being provided by Ubuntu 9.04, gm-notify will not work on any version of Ubuntu prior to 9.04 or for that matter any other Linux distribution.

What other applications do you guys use for email notifications ? Let us know in the comments.


Sharninder is a programmer, blogger and a geek making a living writing software to change the world. His tech blog, Geeky Ninja, is where he shares his wisdom, for free !


  1. Hi,

    I just installed it and it’s not working correctly. It’s not using the jaunty notifications. Also when I try to configure it via the run app dialog it says that there is no such file. I had to configure it via applications>internet>gmail notify.

    I did try to install it via the terminal instead of synaptics…I thought sudo apt-get install gm-notify should’ve yield the same results. After doing that and seeing it didn’t run via alt+F2 I installed it via synaptic.

    did I install an earlier version in the terminal and it’s now conflicting with the new one?

  2. Ok don’t mind me…I did install another program…silly me for trying to come up with commands without first checking what they are for :)

      1. yes it is working now. Although I must add that the new gmail notifier only appeared on my system after restarting the system.

        After the restart I ran the configuration command via alt+F2 and it found the file. Also I could see the program was installed under applications>internet. Before the restart I couldn’t see the program in that location.

        MangelRuiz says that he faced the same problem I did. I believe he’s refering to the fact that after installing the program I couldn’t access the config file. Maybe a system restart is needed before attempting to configure the program?

        anyways, thanks for the post! the program is working great and I was looking for something like this since the new notification system was released.

  3. ok sorry, don’t mind my comment…I did install another program…silly me for trying to come out with commands without first checking what they are for :)

  4. I followed your procedure step by step in order to install gm-notify yet I couldn’t do it. I faced the same problems that Dave did. Nevertheless I used a little different approach to install this handy tool.

    1) I added the repository link to sources.list. You can use Synaptic Package Manager if you prefer or you could use gedit to add the PPA repository at the end of the source.list file.
    Type ALT-F2: Inside the Run dialog type: sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
    Go to the end of the file and add the repository. Save and close the file.
    Install key: (You can use any procedure that you feel more comfortable with) I used:
    sudo apt-key adv –recv-keys –keyserver 0x0bc13a9fbaee6e9a7e94d6b11281adae04f71c22
    Update: sudo apt-get update.
    Remove gmail-notify package (if you got it installed): sudo apt-get autoremove gmail-notify
    Now you can install gm-notify and open gm-notify-config as well.
    install: sudo apt-get install gm-notify


  5. I think I understand the confusion. The problem is Ubuntu already has a program named gmail-notify which seems to be conflicting with gm-notify. This program is named gm-notify so be sure to install that and not gmail-notify.

  6. You might want to change your screen capture, as it has the gmail-notify tool highlighted in Syanptic!!

      1. You can use the Start applications manager at System->Preferences->Startup Applications, to add to the list of applications which run at startup. That should work.

  7. OK… I’m a windows guy so I’m not sure how to do simple things. I did get this to install and it works fine. Now, how do I get it to automatically launch everytime I start the computer?

    1. You can use the Start applications manager at System->Preferences->Startup Applications, to add to the list of applications which run at startup.

      1. there’s no Startup Applications option in Preferences… where else could I find this?

        1. The option should be there. I can see it on my setup. Which version of Ubuntu are you using ?

  8. I have UE2.3 64bit. I installed GMail Notifier (gm-notify). I configured it using the Run command and It apparently launched the program because I immediately heard the sound and saw the box drop down from the System Tray, but there is no Icon so I can click on it to open Gmail

  9. I have UE2.3 64bit. I followed the instructions to Add the Source, Configure the app, and Launch it. When new emails arrive in my Gmail InBox, I hear the Notification Tone and see the box drop down below my Time and Date, but I do not see any Icon in the System Tray, so I have nothing to click on to Open Gmail.

  10. I have UE2.3 64bit. I followed the instructions, Added the Source, Installed the app, Configured it, Launched it, but there is No icon in the System Tray. I hear the Notification Sound, See the Notifier Box drop down below the Time and Date, but I have nothing to click on to Open Gmail.

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by UE 2.3. Is it some other distribution of Linux ? I’ll have to admit, I haven’t tried this on any other distribution except for Ubuntu 9.04, but some of our other reader might be able to help you with your problem.

      Silly question, but is the system tray applet of Gnome installed ?

      1. I have only been a Linux user for a couple of years. Ubuntu Ultimate Edition 2.3 is based upon Ubuntu 9.04. It comes jam packed with dozens of applications, among other things. Whatever is compatible with 9.04 is compatible with UE2.3.

        When I installed, it did not install any icon in the System Tray or Notification Area. I could hear the sounds, see the Drop Down Box, but there was nothing to click on for launching Gmail.

  11. Looks like an interesting app. Shall be playing with it.
    However, /me recommends another similar app called checkgmail ( Available in the official Ubuntu repos. Written in perl.

  12. Looks like an interesting app. Shall be playing with it.
    However, /me recommends another similar app called checkgmail ( Available in the official Ubuntu repos. Written in perl.

  13. After running I dont see a icon in the panel. I do see the notifications thought?? any one?

  14. I was advised that this version requires that you Right-Click on a panel, choose Add to Panel, and then choose gm-notify.

  15. I don’t have an icon in my panel either, I do get notifications though. I don’t see anything about gmail in the “add to panel” list either. Still, very nice app.

  16. A good Free Cross platform Gmail notifier (windows xp, windows vista, windows 7, mac os, linux) with cool animations

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