Review All Of Your Notifications On Your Ubuntu Desktop [Linux]

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ubuntu desktop notificationDo you think you’re missing too many notifications on your Ubuntu computer? Then keep a running list of them all in your system tray, ensuring you’ll never miss a single one. An easy-to-install applet gives you a list you can look over and clear whenever you want, similar to the tray on Android devices and the notification center on Macs running the upcoming Mountain Lion version of OS X.

The notifications offered by default in Ubuntu are just about perfect. They’re attractive and keep you informed, but they don’t get in your way. Hover the mouse over and they become transparent, and you can click through them as though they don’t exist.

There is one problem, though. If you walk away from your computer for a while they’re easy to miss. The various indicator applets included by default in Ubuntu help address this, but if you want one applet to rule them all I highly recommend Indicator Notifications.

Using Indicator Notifications

Not sure which notifications I’m talking about? I’m talking about the black pop-ups that let you know about everything from incoming email to what song just started playing. They’re the ones that look like this:

ubuntu desktop notification

Most programs on Ubuntu use them these days, and you can even install a plugin to get Chrome to use Ubuntu’s native notifications. Emails, tweets, instant messages and much more are presented to you in real time, if you don’t miss them.

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They typically stay on the screen long enough for you to notice them, but if you walk away from your computer you’re likely to miss a few. That’s where Indicator Notifications comes in. This simple program collects the content of these messages so you can review them anytime. Just click the mailbox icon in your tray to see all recent notifications:

linux desktop notification

The list can and will grow quickly. You can click any notification to remove it instantly, or click the “clear” button at the bottom of the list to remove them all.

ubuntu desktop notification

The icon for this indicator is green when there are new notifications to see; the rest of the time it’s white. Overall it’s a simple tool, but one I’m sure a few Ubuntu users are looking for.

Download & Install

Ready to check this out? You can run the following three commands from the command line:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jconti/recent-notifications
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indicator-notifications

The first line of code there adds a new PPA containing the software. This allows you to install Indicator Notifications now and get updates later. The second line of code updates your package list, ensuring you can install software from the new PPA. The final line of code actually installs your software.

Alternatively, you can use Y PPA to easily add a PPA with a GUI. Just remember – the PPA you want to add is ppa:jconti/recent-notifications. Once you do that you can install the “indicator-notifications” package from the Ubuntu Software Center. GUI simplicity!


Notifications are great, but only useful if you notice them. This software ensures you’ll never miss a notification in Ubuntu, so check it out if that’s important to you.

Feel free to leave questions in the comments below, along with any other great Ubuntu tips you’d like to share.

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