Permanent IM notifications

Update: the extension is now available on extensions.gnome.org.

Gnome 3 and the shell look really great, but there are a few things that annoy me. My main complaint is that I keep missing IM messages because there is no visual clue that you got a message (unless you are staring at the bottom of your screen exactly when you receive something).
This problem will probably be fixed in the next version of Gnome, see bug #641723, but I wanted something now. That’s why I wrote a simple extension that just displays the number of conversations with unread messages. To install it, just clone the git repository and execute “make install”.

Spot the difference
Spot the difference

The extension is unpolished, it does very little, the code is horrible and I didn’t pay any attention to usability; I just wanted a quick fix while waiting for upstream to fix the bug properly. Nevertheless, I hope this code will be useful for other people too!

29 thoughts on “Permanent IM notifications

  1. Thanks everybody 🙂

    @Dave:
    There would be more proper ways to do it, but I just overwrite the function that sets the count label on top of the icons in the message tray. When the count changes I go through all of the items in the tray and count how many have a counter set.

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  2. The sad thing is that this is totally against the whole notification tray design. On the other hand, the current design clearly doesn’t work as-is. So thanks for the extension, it will surely make my life easier. I really hope the gnome-shell designer will fix this properly for 3.4

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  3. pvanhoof@lors:~/repos/gnome/shell-message-notifier$ make install
    No such key ‘enabled-extensions’
    To enable the extension type ‘make enable’.
    pvanhoof@lors:~/repos/gnome/shell-message-notifier$ make enable
    No such key ‘enabled-extensions’
    No such key ‘enabled-extensions’
    make: *** [disable-internal] Error 1
    pvanhoof@lors:~/repos/gnome/shell-message-notifier$

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  4. @Philip Van Hoof:
    Hm, which version of gnome-shell are you using? You can try enabling it with gnome-tweak-tool.
    The Makefile and everything are all a bit hacky as I wrote this mainly for my own use.

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  5. While I got used to the notification on the bottom and this looks a bit like google-plus (why not) my biggest struggle is to get to IM contact list window.

    I open hover to top-left, type empathy. Then I select empathy and depending if I have already some chat window/irc. I get a notification at the bottom saying Contact Window is ready which I have to click to get to it.

    Seems to much hassle to get there. Other feel the same, is this somehow targeted?

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  6. Awesome little extension! I use it with mailnag – doesn’t reflect same message count for imap emails that mailnag states, but that’s ok at least I know there’s email waiting for me now when before I didn’t have a clue! Thanks!

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  7. Hi Marco, thanks for this! Quick question. I’m using Linux Mint, and no matter what I do, I can’t see the icon in the tray. There’s a space for the icon, but no icon. Do you know how I can make it visible?

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