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.
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/t.vetterlein/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
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 “gm-notify-config.py” 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 “gm-notify.py”. 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.
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.
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