Ubuntu – How to use ‘notify-send’ to immediately replace an existing notification

bashcommand linenotificationnotify-osd

When I use notify-send to show a notification on the desktop, and then use it again to show a different notification, I have noticed that the second one only shows after the first one has disappeared.

Is there a way to get notify-send to immediately replace an existing notification with a different one?

Best Answer

You can, but you must use a patched libnotify to do so

notify-send does not have the capability to replace existing notifications before they have timed out (or disappeared). This is a known bug. However, a commenter on the bug report has posted a patch to fix it.

Installing the patched libnotify-bin from PPA

I have created a patched version of the libnotify-bin package which allows replacements in my PPA. Currently it's for Ubuntu 12.04 only, but if you need it for any other currently supported release, please post a comment and I will try my best to make it available.

To install, open a terminal and:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:izx/askubuntu
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libnotify-bin

How to use the replacement capabilities

The patched notify-send includes two new switches, -p (or --print-id ), and -r (or --replace-id ). The --help describes them as:

  -p, --print-id                    Print the notification ID.
  -r, --replace-id=REPLACE_ID       The ID of the notification to replace.
  • With -p, each notify-send will return an ID N (number/integer).
  • Issuing another notify-send with -r N will replace the previous notification immediately.
  • For example, for bash, you can save the ID from notify-send -p ... with:

    NID=$(notify-send -p "MESSAGE-1")
    

    and then replace it with:

    notify-send -r $NID "MESSAGE-2"
    
  • You can recursively use both -p and -r in a script, as long as the -r variable is initialized to 0 at the beginning.

  • Here's a simple script that shows notifications counting from 0 to 100 at half-second intervals:

    #!/bin/bash
    NID=0
    for i in {0..100..10}    do       NID=$(notify-send -p -r $NID $i)       sleep 0.5    done