NotifyOSD

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This specification contains some issues not yet resolved. Your feedback is welcome at NotifyOSD/Comments.

To improve the user experience for notifications in Ubuntu, the Desktop Notifications Specification and later the KNotification API should be implemented in a consistent way, with non-interactive, non-directional, non-overlapping notification bubbles that can be clicked through and look beautiful. For compatibility with this new system, high-profile programs should be patched so that they do not rely on notifications being interactive or pointing to notification area icons, and when an unpatched program incorrectly requests a notification with actions it should be shown as an alert box. Any notification configuration should be handled by individual applications. Visual confirmation of hotkey changes to volume, screen brightness, and backlight brightness should also be presented in bubbles the same way as notifications.

Canonical Ltd’s Design team and Desktop Experience team are the upstream developers for this work. Notify OSD is hosted on Launchpad.

Contents

  1. Rationale
  2. Use cases
  3. Targeted environments
  4. System nomenclature
  5. Bubble appearance and layout
    1. Inside the bubble
      1. Icon
      2. Text layout
      3. Title text
      4. Body text
      5. Gauge
      6. Interaction
    2. Outside the bubble
  6. Bubble behavior
    1. Animations and durations
    2. Critical and non-critical queues and do-not-disturb mode
    3. Sound
    4. Concatenating existing bubbles
    5. Overflow of long messages
    6. Handling spam
  7. Fallback alert boxes
  8. Treatment of the Desktop Notifications Specification 0.9
    1. org.freedesktop.Notifications.GetCapabilities
    2. org.freedesktop.Notifications.Notify
      1. Sanitizing body text
    3. org.freedesktop.Notifications.CloseNotification
    4. org.freedesktop.Notifications.GetServerInformation
    5. org.freedesktop.Notifications.NotificationClosed
    6. org.freedesktop.Notifications.ActionInvoked
  9. Treatment of the KNotification API
  10. Treatment of volume changes
  11. Treatment of brightness and backlight changes
  12. Treatment of disc ejection
  13. Treatment of hardware device detection
  14. Architecture
  15. Programs that should be modified before Ubuntu 9.04
    1. Update Manager
    2. gnome-settings-daemon, kwin, metacity
    3. update-notifier
    4. Network Manager
    5. Gnome Power Manager
    6. Evolution
    7. Pidgin
    8. gnome-mount
    9. apport
    10. Banshee
    11. bluez-gnome
    12. system-config-printer
    13. VLC
    14. Liferea
    15. amsn
    16. decibel-audio-player
    17. goobox
    18. bzr-gtk
    19. Gossip
    20. gajim
  16. Programs that should be modified sometime
    1. apcupsd, gapcmon
    2. S.M.A.R.T. disk status monitoring
    3. Firefox
    4. Thunderbird
    5. Mail Notification
    6. Empathy
    7. XChat
    8. Konversation
    9. Gnome Do
    10. Kopete
    11. KMail
    12. system-install-packages
    13. Transmission
    14. Giver
    15. XFCE
    16. Orage
    17. Mail Notification
    18. kernel-oops
    19. gshutdown
    20. gnome-user-share
    21. debian-bts-applet
    22. gnoemoe
    23. timer-applet
    24. MeMaker
    25. ontv
    26. specto
    27. emesene
    28. gmail-notify
    29. packagekit-gnome
  17. Release notes
  18. Unresolved issues

Rationale

There are many reasons that a computer may want to notify you of things not directly related to what you are doing right now. Software updates may be available; you may have received a new instant message; your 300-page print job may have finally finished; you may have only ten minutes of battery left. Sometimes these events need a response or at least acknowledgement, or don’t need to be read immediately, in which case they should be presented in an alert box or some other window. For cases where a notification is best read immediately but there is no applicable response, however, the most appropriate mechanism is a non-interactive notification bubble. (For more details on the various notification mechanisms and when to use each one, see NotificationDesignGuidelines.)

Ubuntu currently uses notification-daemon, which presents notification bubbles as interactive and therefore risks accidental clicks. The current bubbles are also rather unattractive, so replacing the notification system also gives us the opportunity to make them beautiful. And presenting volume, brightness, and similar changes in the same way as notifications decreases visual variety, and introduces a consistent appearance for non-interactive things.

Use cases

Examples of notification bubbles and other forms of notification:

  • Ten seconds after waking from sleep, your notebook successfully connects to your company’s wireless network. A notification bubble appears, with a wireless icon and the text “Connected to Yoyodyne”.
  • You and your colleague Camila are collaborating on a presentation over instant messaging. Whenever Camila says something while the presentation window is in front, what she says appears in a notification bubble with her buddy icon. If she says something else within a few seconds of the bubble appearing, the bubble grows smoothly to accommodate the new text, and its disappearance is delayed. As soon as you switch back to Camila’s chat window, her notification bubble disappears.
  • You begin giving your presentation to the management team. Five minutes in, Camila sends you another instant message: “Hope it's going well! ;-)”. Fortunately, this time no notification bubble appears to disrupt your presentation. The bubble does appear once you’ve finished the presentation and closed it.
  • Twenty minutes into your presentation, while you are answering a question and not looking at the screen, your battery reaches a critically low level. An alert box appears, floating over the presentation, warning you of this fact.
  • You quickly connect the notebook to a colleague’s power supply. The alert box disappears by itself.
  • With the presentation over, you disconnect from the power supply and return to your office. A notification bubble appears showing that the notebook has switched to battery power.
  • You browse the company intranet while waiting for your e-mail program to launch. This being a Monday, you have over 100 new messages, and because your e-mail program is in the background it notifies you of this using a bubble. At the same time, the envelope icon in the top panel darkens to indicate the new messages. You open the envelope menu to switch back to your Inbox.

Examples of confirmation bubbles:

  • Your secondary display is a little too bright, so you want to dim it without affecting your primary display. Looking at the secondary display, you press the Reduce Brightness key on your keyboard. An overlay appears on that display, showing the brightness reducing.
  • Immediately after changing the brightness, you increase the sound volume, also with the keyboard. The brightness overlay is replaced instantly by a volume overlay. After a few seconds, the overlay fades away.
  • You change the volume again, this time using the volume menu in the top panel. No overlay appears, because visual feedback is provided by the menu itself.

Targeted environments

It is most important for Notify OSD to work correctly with Compiz in either Ubuntu or Kubuntu, Metacity composited in Ubuntu, and kwin composited in Kubuntu.

Other targets are Metacity non-composited, kwin non-composited, xfwm4 non-composited, and xfwm4 composited.

System nomenclature

Notify OSD should be packaged under the name notify-osd. When running, its process should also be called notify-osd.

Bubble appearance and layout

Notify OSD should display two types of bubbles, which this specification calls confirmation bubbles (confirmation of e.g. change in sound volume, change in display brightness, or ejecting a CD) and notification bubbles (e.g. instant message, unrequested change in Internet connectivity).

Inside the bubble

notification-bubble.jpg

Regardless of type, a bubble should appear as a rectangle of color #131313 (regardless of theme) with opacity 90%, corner roundness 0.375 em, and a drop shadow of #000000 color and 0.5 em spread. The bubble should blur whatever is behind it with a Gaussian blur of 0.125 em.

A bubble should be 18 ems wide (not including the drop shadow). Its height depends on the contents, but should be a minimum of 5 ems, and a maximum just tall enough to display 10 lines of body text (which means the maximum height of a bubble with a title is greater than of a bubble without a title). Furthermore, the bottom limit is 6 ems from the top of the bottom panel, if there is one, or otherwise 6 ems from the bottom of the screen (as if there was a 5-em bubble at the bottom plus 0.5 em margin on each side). Regardless of font and screen size, a bubble must not be so tall that it extends beyond the bottom limit.

Bubbles feature an icon, and/or some text or a gauge. All text elements should have a drop shadow of #000000 color and 0.125 em spread.

notification-bubble-layout-internal-1.png

Icon

Any icon should be scaled so that its largest dimension is 3 ems. This means that vector and bitmap icons should be simple, without fine detail or thin strokes, and all icons should be square or nearly square whenever possible. If the icon is a bitmap, Sinc/Lanczos scaling should be used to minimize jagginess.

eject.jpg

If the bubble has no text, the icon should be horizontally centered within the window. Otherwise, the icon should be left-aligned, with 1 em margin to the right.

Icons representing alerts, warnings or errors should use an x or ? symbol with smooth gradient ranging from light red (#ff6363) at the top to dark red (#cc0000) at the bottom. Other than that, all icons and gauges should use one color theme: a smooth gradient ranging from light gray (#ececec) at the top to medium gray (#9b9b9b) at the bottom. Every icon should also use a black 2px outline with 30% opacity. There should also be a 1px white highlight with 40% opacity on the top and left edges to improve the definition. Different opacity values of this scheme (excluding the black outline) are allowed, for example to depict an inactive/disabled state or different levels of intensity (e.g. brightness). All icons and gauges should use gently rounded corners with the recommended roundness of 0.1 em radius and the roundness should not exceed 0.25 em radius.

notify-osd-default-icon-set.png

This set is subject to change.

Text layout

If there is text, it consists of a title and/or a body. Both of these should use the standard application typeface, left-aligned, and should wrap to multiple lines if necessary. If a word is wider than the line, it should wrap following usual Pango rules for the current interface language.

Both title and body text should appear to the right of the icon. If there is no body text, the title text should be vertically centered with the center of the icon. If there is body text, the title text should be top-aligned with the top of the icon, and the body text should begin immediately underneath. This applies even if body text is added to a bubble that previously had only a title: the title text should move from its centered alignment to top alignment as the body text appears.

Title text

The title should be the standard application font size, of color #ffffff, and bold weight.

In the title text, any string of one or more consecutive whitespace characters (U+0020 SPACE, U+0009 CHARACTER TABULATION, U+000A LINE FEED (LF), U+000C FORM FEED (FF), or U+000D CARRIAGE RETURN (CR)), even if a mixture of those, should be treated as a single space. Leading and trailing whitespace should not be presented.

If the title would take up longer than three lines, it should be truncated at just enough characters to fit an ellipsis character “…” at the end of the third line.

Body text

The body should be 0.8 × the standard application font size, of color #eaeaea, standard weight, and should not contain any extra formatting.

In the body text, any string of one or more consecutive whitespace characters that contains at least one newline (U+000D CARRIAGE RETURN (CR), U+000A LINE FEED (LF), or U+000D CARRIAGE RETURN (CR) immediately followed by U+000A LINE FEED (LF)), even if a mixture of those, should be treated as a single newline. Then for each line in the text, any string of one or more consecutive (non-newline) whitespace characters, even if a mixture of them, should be treated as a single space, and leading and trailing whitespace should not be presented.

Gauge

If a notification bubble has a gauge, the gauge should display the old value for 500 ms before switching to the new value for the remainder of the time, as a visual indication of what the change was.

Interaction

notification-mouseout.png notification-mouseover.png

Whenever the pointer moves into a bubble, whatever is behind the bubble should instantly become no longer blurred, and the bubble itself should instead receive a 2-pixel Gaussian blur and reduce to 40% opacity. When the pointer leaves the bubble, it should instantly return to its normal appearance.

Other than that hover effect, bubbles should not directly respond to input devices in any way.

Outside the bubble

notification-bubbles-margins.png

Bubbles should appear on whichever display the pointer is on, since that is the display you are most likely paying attention to. (A touch-only display has an invisible pointer, so whenever it is touched it becomes the display the pointer is on.)

Each display should show a maximum of two bubbles: one confirmation bubble and one notification bubble. The first bubble on a display should be positioned 0.5 em from the bottom of whichever panels are the top of the display, and the second bubble should be positioned 0.5 em from the bottom of the first bubble. Each bubble should be 0.5 em from the right edge of the display.

Bubble behavior

Animations and durations

Notification bubbles

Confirmation bubbles

Critical

Non-critical

When it appears

After all other pending critical notifications, before all non-critical ones.

After all other pending notification bubbles.

Replaces any earlier confirmation bubble immediately.

How it appears

Fades in over 200 ms if first in a series, or 300 ms if subsequent.

Fades in over 700 ms if first in a series, or 300 ms if subsequent.

Fades in over 100 ms.

Appears if screensaver inhibited

yes

no

yes

Standard duration

10000 ms + 250 ms/(line of body text)

5000 ms + 250 ms/(line of body text)

2000 ms

Extended by input

If between 1000 and 3000 ms there are any modifier keypresses or ≥10 non-modifier keypresses or ≥1 click, extend by 2000 ms. Very difficult to implement.

no

Extended by confirmation bubble appearing

Resets to previous duration, minus 1000 ms. This has no effect because it waits to leave at the same time as the confirmation bubble anyway.

n/a

Visible concatenation with enough room to show all body text

Over 250 ms, bubble grows initially linearly but decelerates as it reaches its new size; and title fades out if there was no body text. Then over another 250 ms, the new text fades in, regardless of how much there is.

n/a

Visible concatenation with overflow

Old text displays for bubble’s normal duration. Then over 250 ms (really?), text that will no longer appear in its current position scrolls up, with oldest text scrolling off the top and new text scrolling onto the bottom.

n/a

Extended by visible concatenation

+ 500 ms + 250 ms/(line of body text)

n/a

Visible replacement

Over 300 ms, the old contents fade out. Then over another 300 ms, the new contents fade in.

Changes instantly.

Extended by visible replacement

+ 2000 ms + 250 ms/(line of body text)

Resets.

Maximum duration

15000 ms (overriding all the above)

How it disappears

Over 300 ms, fades out.

If a bubble is replaced with one that has the same icon and the same title text, and the new body text is an extension of the old body text, this should not be presented as a normal replacement; instead the bubble should be presented as if the extra text was being concatenated.

If the pointer is over the area where a bubble is about to appear, it should appear as normal, ignoring the pointer unless it leaves and then re-enters the area. In all other cases where the pointer is over a bubble, however, the bubble’s duration should pause until the pointer leaves. For example, if a notification bubble has been fully visible for 2000 ms when the pointer enters, it should switch to its mouseover appearance until the pointer leaves, then switch back to its normal appearance and display for a further 3000 ms.

If the only bubble on a display is fading out when another bubble would appear underneath it, the newer bubble must instead wait until the older one has completed fading out.

If two bubbles are on a display simultaneously, the first should never disappear before the second; instead it should disappear at its scheduled time or at the second bubble’s scheduled time, whichever is later. The first bubble, if it is a notification bubble, should also never change size while any confirmation bubble is also visible; instead, it should wait until all current confirmation bubbles have disappeared.

Critical and non-critical queues and do-not-disturb mode

Up to one confirmation bubble, plus one notification bubble, should be displayed at a time.

Notification bubbles should be treated as if they are in two queues: critical and non-critical. All pending critical notification bubbles should be displayed before any pending non-critical notification bubbles are displayed.

Whenever a program is inhibiting the screensaver, Notify OSD should be in do-not-disturb mode. Critical notification bubbles and all confirmation bubbles should appear as normal, but the queue of non-critical notification bubbles should be paused indefinitely until your session leaves do-not-disturb mode.

Sound

If a notification bubble has a sound associated with it, that sound should be played starting from the moment the bubble has finished fading in.

Concatenating existing bubbles

Whenever there are two or more notification bubbles in the queue that have the same title and come from the same program (as identified by its D-Bus ID), and both of them have hinted that they allow concatenation, Notify OSD should merge them into a single bubble: the icon and sound (if any) of the latter should be used, and the body text of the latter should be appended to the body text of the former, with a line break inserted between them if there was none already. For example, if the bubble in queue position 4 has title “andrew_p” and body text “Hey Coral”, while the bubble in queue position 7 has the same icon and title “andrew_p” and body text “Are you still in Oregon?”, then the body text of the bubble at position 4 should be changed to
  Hey Coral
  Are you still in Oregon?
and the bubble at position 7 should be deleted from the queue.

If the earlier bubble is already being displayed and not yet in the process of fading out, it should smoothly grow to make room for the new text, the new text should appear instantly, and the old icon should instantly be replaced by the new one.

Overflow of long messages

notification-text-overflow.jpg

If a bubble’s body text — either initial, or after concatenating — would take up more than ten lines inside the bubble, the body text should be presented as:

  1. the first line of text;
  2. an ellipsis (…) on a line by itself;
  3. the last eight lines of text.

The transition from the non-overflow presentation to the overflow presentation, i.e. the arrival of an eleventh line of text, should be:

  • the first line should stay where it is;
  • the second line should cross-fade into the ellipsis that replaces it;
  • the third line should scroll up into oblivion, with following lines (including the new eleventh line) following the third line upward.

Handling spam

If, after calculating any concatenation, there are more than 20 notifications from the same program (as identified by its D-Bus ID), then … what?

If there are more than 1000 notifications in the queue, any further notifications should be discarded, period.

Fallback alert boxes

For cases where applications have expected the notification system to allow interactivity without checking whether it actually does, Notify OSD should show an alert box as a fallback.

An alert has custom text and buttons. The title of the alert should be the name of the process that is invoking the notification. The icon should always be the Warning /!\ dialog-warning icon. The text should be presented uniformly in the standard application font size.

fallback-alert.jpg

The first button should be positioned in the bottom right corner of the alert. Immediately to its left should be a “Cancel” button that has no action. Any other buttons should be positioned from left to right, starting at the bottom left corner of the alert. None of the buttons should be set as the default (because the system can’t detect that any of them are safe as a default).

Activating any button should close the alert, and then perform the associated action if any.

Treatment of the Desktop Notifications Specification 0.9

Notify OSD should function as an implementation of the Desktop Notifications Specification 0.9, as follows.

org.freedesktop.Notifications.GetCapabilities

The system should return the capabilities {"body", "body-markup", "icon-static", "image/svg+xml"}. (For why it should return "body-markup", see “Sanitizing body text”.)

org.freedesktop.Notifications.Notify

If actions is not supplied and expire_timeout is not set to “0”, the notification should be presented as a notification bubble:

  • If replaces_id is supplied, and it matches a bubble that is currently visible, it should be presented as a replacement of that existing bubble. If the matching bubble is in the queue and not yet visible, the new bubble should take the old bubble’s place in the queue.

  • If app_icon is supplied, and it is a valid icon, the notification bubble should use that as its icon. Otherwise, if the image_data hint is set, the notification bubble should use that as its icon.

  • The system should assume summary to be raw plain text, and use it as the title text of the bubble.

  • If body is supplied, the system should sanitize it, and then use it as the body text of the bubble.

  • If the hint “append” is supplied with a string value “allowed”, the bubble should be treated as if it allows concatenation.

  • If the hint “sound-themed” is supplied with a string value that is a valid sound name, that sound should be associated with that notification bubble.

  • If the hint “urgency” is supplied with a value of 2, the bubble should be in the critical queue. Otherwise, it should be in the non-critical queue.

  • All other hints, and all other parameters (including expire_timeout) should be ignored.

If actions is supplied and/or expire_timeout is set to “0”, the notification should be presented as a fallback alert box:

  • If body is not supplied, summary should be used as the text of the alert.

  • If body is supplied, the system should sanitize it, concatenate it with the summary with a blank line between them, and use the combination as the text of the alert.

  • The default action should be given the label “OK”, and used as the first button for the alert.

  • Any other actions should be supplied as buttons for the alert.

  • All hints, and all other parameters, should be ignored.

    fallback-alert-mixed.jpg

Sanitizing body text

The Desktop Notification Specification states that “Body text may contain markup. The markup is XML-based, and consists of a small subset of HTML along with a few additional tags … Notification servers that do not support these tags should filter them out.”

Unfortunately, the specification does not state explicitly that body text may not contain markup if the server does not return the capability "body-markup". And even if it did state that, notification-daemon supports markup, so many programs use it without first checking whether the server supports it. The specification also does not specify how clients should transmit < or > characters that are not intended to be interpreted as HTML tags. And if this is supposed to be done using character entities, the specification also does not specify whether entities should be used for all characters, or just for <, >, and &. This leaves us in a situation similar to RSS 2.0: “Here’s something that might be HTML. Or maybe not. I can’t tell you, and you can’t guess.”

Meanwhile, notification-daemon uses Pango markup directly, which means it interprets not only the markup defined in the Desktop Notification Specification, but also the extra elements and attributes recognized by Pango.

Because it would be extremely difficult to patch all programs to not use HTML markup (much more difficult than patching them to not use actions), Notify OSD must instead accept markup and ignore it. This in turn means that it must advertise that it accepts markup ("body-markup"), even though this markup has no effect on the bubble text.

To provide a reasonable amount of compatibility until the Desktop Notification Specification is revised to be more precise, Notify OSD should try to guess whether < > and & characters are being used as plain text or HTML, as follows:

  1. If the text contains a < character that is immediately followed by a letter or by a / character, and a > character occurs later in the string, the sequence from that < character to the soonest-following > character inclusive should be treated as an HTML tag and removed. Repeat for all such remaining sequences. All other < and > characters should be assumed to be literal.

  2. If the text contains a & character that is immediately followed by (a) a series of letters and then a ; character, or (b) an x character and then a series of digits and then a ; character, or (c) a # character and then a series of digits and then a ; character, then the sequence from that & character to the soonest-following ; character should be treated as an HTML character reference and converted to the equivalent character as specified in HTML 5. (This does not mean using the HTML 5 character reference tokenizing algorithm, which is designed for a different and saner situation. Refer to HTML 5 only to determine which character should be used for which reference.) Repeat for all such remaining sequences. All other & characters should be assumed to be literal.

This Desktop-Notification-Specification-specific sanitizing should happen before the normal whitespace filtering for body text.

Applications should be highly encouraged to escape <, >, and & characters (e.g. as &lt;, &gt;, and &amp; respectively) in text they receive from external sources, such as instant messages and IRC messages from Web developers that include HTML code intended to be read as plain text.

org.freedesktop.Notifications.CloseNotification

The relevant notification should disappear immediately, without fading out.

org.freedesktop.Notifications.GetServerInformation

The system should return out_name = “Notify OSD”, out_vendor = “Canonical Ltd”, out_version = “1.0”, and out_spec_ver = “0.9”.

org.freedesktop.Notifications.NotificationClosed

Should be implemented as specified.

org.freedesktop.Notifications.ActionInvoked

This signal should never be emitted.

Treatment of the KNotification API

Notify OSD should function as an implementation of the KNotification class (but not the previous KNotify class).

The precise behavior will be defined before the KNotification support is implemented.

Treatment of volume changes

When you change the system’s volume by any method that does not involve a pointing device (for example, by a keyboard hotkey), the change in volume should be shown in a confirmation bubble with a gauge. The icon should be of a muted speaker if volume is muted, or an unmuted speaker otherwise.

should define flashing

Treatment of brightness and backlight changes

brightness.jpg

When you change the display’s or keyboard backlight’s brightness by any method that does not involve a pointing device (for example, by a keyboard hotkey), the change in brightness should be shown in a confirmation bubble with a gauge.

should define flashing

Treatment of disc ejection

eject.jpg

When you eject a disc by any method that does not involve a pointing device (for example, by a keyboard hotkey), a confirmation bubble should appear containing the eject icon, horizontally and vertically centered, and no text.

Treatment of hardware device detection

device-connected.jpg

When a device is connected, a confirmation bubble should appear immediately, with a generic USB, Firewire, or miscellaneous (e.g. eSATA) device icon, title text “Device connected”, and no body text.

A further confirmation bubble should not appear when the device is fully identified.

Architecture

Relationships with external modules: (SVG source)

NotificationSystemCommunication.png

(See also a detailed description of components involved in hardware hotkeys.)

Overview of internal modules: (SVG source)

NotificationSystemLayers.png

Details of the visual layer: (SVG source)

NotificationManager-Design-2.png

Programs that should be modified before Ubuntu 9.04

Many programs currently use notification bubbles with actions. These need changing to either remove the actions or communicate in some other way. The programs are listed most important first.

Update Manager

The availability of updates should no longer be shown using a notification area icon and notification bubble pointing to it. Instead, Update Manager should open automatically, unfocused and in the background. (When opened manually, Update Manager should still open focused and frontmost as usual.)

So that the window does not open too often:

  • When security updates are available, Update Manager should open automatically within one day, and display those security updates plus any non-security updates that happen to be available. Test procedure: ...

  • When non-security-only updates are available, Update Manager should open automatically one week after it was last opened, whether that was manually or automatically. Test procedure: ...

  • When no updates are available, Update Manager should not open automatically at all. Test procedure: ...

  • When apt/dpkg is locked (for example, Add/Remove Applications or Synaptic is open) at the moment Update Manager would be scheduled to open, it should wait until the lock is cleared. Test procedure: ...

The automatic opening means that Update Manager will often be the first window people ever see on a newly-installed Ubuntu system. Therefore, the text at the top of the Update Manager window should also be altered to be more welcoming.

Old text

New text

First run

All subsequent runs

Heading

You can install n updates.

Welcome to Ubuntu.

Software updates are available for this computer.

Body

Software updates correct errors, eliminate security vulnerabilities and provide new features.

These software updates have been issued since Ubuntu x.y was released. If you don’t want to install them now, choose “Update Manager” from the Administration menu later.

If you don’t want to install them now, choose “Update Manager” from the Administration menu later.

This will fix:

  • bug 175166 ("click the icon" instruction dangerously confusing)

  • bug 33605 ("Updates available" popup should hide when update-manager starts)

gnome-settings-daemon, kwin, metacity

Brightness and volume changes should be shown as confirmation bubbles instead of the existing overlays.

update-notifier

Post-update information should no longer be advertised using a notification area icon and a notification bubble pointing to it. Instead, the post-update information dialog should open unfocused directly.

This will fix:

Network Manager

Because Network Manager is a high-profile user of notification bubbles, it should be adjusted not just for compatibility with Notify OSD, but also to make its bubbles more elegant regardless of which notification system is in use.

  • When you are not connected but wireless networks are available, a “Wireless Networks Available” bubble appears, with text “Click on this icon to connect to a wireless network” and a "Don't show this message again" button. This bubble should be removed. Instead, the network manager icon should flash with a glow effect five times over five seconds. This clashes with the proposed appearance for when wireless is actually connecting.

  • When the computer is connecting to a wireless network, the wireless Network Manager icon should appear in offline state but with its base blinking on and off. No notification bubble should appear.

wireless-connected.jpg

  • Once you are connected to a wireless network, a notification bubble should appear with the connected wireless icon, title the name of the wireless network, and body “Connection established”. (Launchpad #330526)

  • When connection to a wireless network fails for a reason other than incorrect authentication, a notification bubble should appear with disconnected icon, title the name of the wireless network, and body “Connection failed”.
  • When the computer is disconnected from a wireless network via software, a notification bubble should appear with disconnected icon, title the name of the wireless network, and body “Disconnected”.
  • When the computer is disconnected from a wireless network via hardware switch, a notification bubble should appear with wireless-disabled icon, title “Wi-fi switched off”, and no body.
  • When the computer is connecting to a wired network, the wired Network Manager icon should appear in offline state but with its base blinking on and off. No notification bubble should appear.
  • Once you are connected to a wired network, a notification bubble should appear with the connected wired icon, title “Wired network”, and body “Connection established”. (Launchpad #330571)

  • When connection to a wired network fails, a notification bubble should appear with disconnected icon, title “Wired network”, and body “Connection failed”.
  • When the computer is disconnected from a wired network via software, a notification bubble should appear with disconnected icon, title “Wired network”, and body “Disconnected”.

3g-detected.png

  • When a mobile broadband card is inserted or a 3G phone is connected in network mode, a “New Mobile Broadband Device Detected” bubble appears with text “Model Name: - Click here to configure the device…” and a “Configure” button. Clicking the button or anywhere else in the bubble, opens a setup assistant. Instead, the setup assistant should open unfocused directly (bug 327427).

3g-finished.png

  • When mobile broadband configuration is complete, a “New Configuration Created” bubble appears with text “You can activate the connection by clicking this icon. Use connection editor to add new and to change settings if necessary” [sic]. This bubble has no actions, but has the problem that it refers to “this icon”. Instead, “Connect immediately when setup is complete” should be a checkbox horizontally centered at the bottom of the “Summary” page of the setup assistant.
  • When the computer is connecting to a mobile broadband network, the mobile broadband NetworkManager icon should appear in connecting state. No notification bubble should appear.

  • Once you are connected to a mobile broadband network, a notification bubble should appear with the relevant network type icon, title the name of the mobile network, and body “Connection established”. (Launchpad #330608)

  • When connection to a mobile broadband network fails, a notification bubble should appear with disconnected icon, title the name of the mobile broadband network, and body “Connection failed”.
  • When the computer is disconnected from a mobile broadband network via software, a notification bubble should appear with disconnected icon, title the name of the mobile broadband network, and body “Disconnected”.

Gnome Power Manager

Gnome Power Manager puts up notifications in many situations.

Five of these are unusual and important and should be acknowledged, so they should be presented as alert boxes instead:

  • “Battery may be recalled”, with text “The battery in your computer may have been recalled by %s and you may be at risk. For more information visit the %s battery recall website.”, and buttons labelled “Visit recall website” and “Do not show me this again".
  • “Battery may be broken”, with text “Your battery has a very low capacity (%i%%), which means that it may be old or broken.” and a button "Do not show me this again". (This will fix bug 155191 (Battery Broken message cut off).)

  • “UPS Discharging”, with text "The AC power has been unplugged. The system is now using backup power." and a button "Do not show me this again".
  • “Sleep Problem”, with text “Your computer failed to hibernate. Check the help file for common problems.” or “Your computer failed to suspend. Check the help file for common problems.” and containing a "Do not show me this again" button and a “Visit quirk website” button.

  • “Power Critically Low”, with text “You have approximately X minutes of remaining battery life (Y%). Plug in your AC Adapter to avoid losing data.”, or “The battery is below the critical level and this computer will power-off when the battery becomes completely empty.”.

Implementation: Tweak gpm-notify.c so that it uses the #else versions of the #ifdef HAVE_LIBNOTIFY functions. The design of these alerts could be improved, but we should not spend time on this now, because the code will soon be replaced by DeviceKit-power.

Another situation is fairly common, but any response involves the hardware rather than the software, so it should use a notification bubble:

  • “Battery Discharging”, “The AC power has been unplugged. The system is now using battery power.” with a “Do not show me this again” button. This button should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

Two others should put up neither a notification bubble nor an alert, so their bubbles should be removed:

  • “Sleep warning”, “Your laptop will not sleep if you shut the lid as a running program has prevented this. Some laptops can overheat if they do not sleep when the lid is closed.”
  • “Battery Charged”, “Your laptop battery is now fully charged”.

Launchpad #329296

Evolution

  • When the “Mail Notification” plug-in is turned on and new messages arrive, Evolution puts up a "New email" notification bubble which, when clicked, hides the notification area icon. This should be replaced by the message status menu.

Launchpad #331571

Pidgin

  • When a buddy signs on or a message is received, the pidgin-libnotify plug-in shows a notification bubble containing a “Show” button, which in both cases opens the chat window for that person. The message status menu covers the latter case but in the former, should not show the button.

The show button can be removed by commenting out one line of code and re-compiling. By commenting out the following line in the notify() function, the show button can be removed. /*notify_notification_add_action (notification, "show", _("Show"), action_cb, NULL, NULL);*/

Additionally, various changes need to be made to make the plugin more compatible with the new display framework. For example, currently when a buddy logs on or off it displays the message in the title instead of the body of the notification, which often makes it difficult to tell if the buddy signed on or off.

pidgin-libnotify-capture.png **move this screenshot to a better location

No notification bubble should be added or changed because someone is typing.

gnome-mount

? https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/332600 -- BUGabundo

apport

  • When a system process crashes, an icon appears in the panel, and a “Crash report detected” bubble appears with the text “An application has crashed on your system (now or in the past). Click on the notification icon to display details.” The icon and bubble should not appear; instead an alert should appear unfocused.

    As a temporary alternative, if there is not time to implement the alert, the icon should still appear but the bubble should not.

    Implementation: update-notifier src/crash.c

Banshee

  • When a connection to Last.fm fails, a notification bubble appears with “Account Settings” and “Join Last.fm” buttons. This should be converted to an error alert box with the same wording and buttons.
  • When a new track begins, a notification bubble appears with a “Skip this item” button. The bubble still makes sense without the button, so the button should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

Launchpad #327640 Launchpad #331695

bluez-gnome

bluez-pairing-before.png

  • When from a Bluetooth device you try to connect to the computer, a “Bluetooth Device” bubble appears with the text “Pairing request for device name” and an “Enter PIN code” button that, when clicked, opens an authentication alert for entering the PIN. Instead, the authentication alert should open unfocused directly, and request attention.

  • A bubble apparently appears when sending a file from a device to the computer, but this cannot be reproduced currently.

system-config-printer

  • When a printer is added successfully using a matching printer driver, a “Printer added” notification bubble appears containing the text “`%s' is ready for printing.” and a “Configure” button. Instead, the Properties window for that printer should open unfocused directly.

  • When a printer is added successfully using a non-matching printer driver, a “Printer added” notification bubble appears containing the text “%s' has been added, using the %s' driver.” and a “Find driver” button. (system-config-printer 1.1 will also include a “Print test page” button.) Instead, the Properties window for that printer should open unfocused.

  • When you try to view jobs on a printer that requires authentication, an “Authentication required” notification bubble appears containing the text “Job requires authentication to proceed” and an “Authenticate” button that brings up an alert box saying “Authentication required for printing document `%s' (job %d)”. The notification bubble should be abolished, and the alert box should be invoked directly instead.
  • When a print job gets stuck for some reason, a notification bubble appears containing text “There was a problem processing the document” or similar, containing no buttons but staying open until it is clicked. This should be converted to an error alert box with an “OK” button.

VLC

  • When something starts playing, a notification bubble appears naming it, and containing “Previous” and “Next” buttons. The bubble still makes sense without the buttons, so the buttons should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

Launchpad #328605

Liferea

  • Liferea has a “Show a popup window with new headlines.” option that is on by default. As a result, when updating feeds, Liferea puts up a flood of notification bubbles with “Open Feed”, “Mark all as read”, and “Show details” buttons. These are annoying and unusable unless you are subscribed to very few feeds, but the presence of the option makes it difficult to remove. Instead, the buttons should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

Launchpad #328606

amsn

  • When someone sends you an instant message while you are online, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, displays the message. The button should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

  • When someone sends you an instant message while you are offline, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, opens the login page for your Hotmail in a Web browser. What’s the text?

decibel-audio-player

  • When a new track starts playing, a notification bubble appears giving the song details, and containing a “Skip track” button. The button should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

goobox

  • When a music track starts playing, a notification bubble appears containing “Next” and “Stop” buttons. The button should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions. Launchpad #327714

bzr-gtk

  • When a merge or pull is complete, a notification bubble appears that never expires and contains an “Inspect” button that opens a visualizer and a “Branch” button that shows the branch in Nautilus. Instead, the main Olive window should request attention when a merge or pull is complete, and the “Inspect” and “Branch” actions should be available from that main window.

Gossip

  • When a contact comes online, a notification bubble appears containing a “Chat” button, though clicking anywhere else in the bubble does the same as clicking the button. The actions should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

  • When someone adds you to their buddy list, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, brings up the subscription request dialog.
  • When a new message arrives, a notification bubble appears containing a “Show” button, though clicking anywhere else in the bubble does the same as clicking the button. The actions should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

gajim

  • When a new message arrives while gajim is in the background, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, brings the relevant window to the front. The action should be made conditional on whether the notification server supports actions.

Programs that should be modified sometime

apcupsd, gapcmon

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) attached to a PC provide many status notifications.

Some examples of current functionality that is scattered:

(more to come) --FabianRodriguez

S.M.A.R.T. disk status monitoring

(more to come) -- FabianRodriguez

Firefox

firefox-current.png

Firefox uses custom notification boxes that do one thing when clicked. We are working with Mozilla on ways to present these without using a custom notification system.

  • When all current downloads have completed, Firefox displays a “Downloads Complete” notification box containing an “All files have finished downloading” link that opens and focuses the Downloads window. An alternative possibility is for the Downloads window to open unfocused (if it is not open already), scroll to the bottom of its list (if it is not scrolled to the bottom already), and request attention.

  • When add-on updates are available, Firefox displays a notification box containing a link that opens the Add-ons window. Instead, the window could open in the background, with the new updates being advertised in a banner the same style as the existing “1 new add-on has been installed” banner.

Thunderbird

  • Thunderbird’s “General” Preferences contain an option to “Show an alert” when new messages arrive. A secondary dialog lets you customize the alert to include “Message Preview Text”, “Subject”, and/or “Sender”.
  • Thunderbird third-party extensions updates may also use notifications
  • An example implementation of tray notifications can be seen by installing the MozTrayBiff extension or, closer to Gnome, the mail-notification package.

Mail Notification

http://www.nongnu.org/mailnotify/ monitors mailboxes for new mail. When new mail arrives, Mail Notification issues alerts by displaying an icon in the notification area. Moreover, a mail summary can be displayed in the icon tooltip, a sound can be played, and notifications containing useful action buttons can be popped up. I tested this in Jaunty and only the "show test message" used the new notifications system. -- FabianRodriguez

Empathy

? No notification bubble should be added or changed because someone is typing.

XChat

X-Chat providez on screen display of private messages via gnome-osd. See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/NotificationDesignGuidelines/Comments.

Konversation

?

Gnome Do

  • When updates are available for Gnome Do plug-ins, a notification bubble appears that says “Updated plugins are available. Click here to update.”. This should be converted to an alert box:

  • When Gnome Do cannot run a command, or cannot enter text mode, it displays a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, closes and takes a notification area icon with it.

Kopete

?

KMail

?

system-install-packages

  • When you add a new printer and drivers or packages are missing, a critical “Install printer driver” notification bubble appears with the text “`%s' requires driver installation: %s.” and an “Install” button. This bubble should be converted into an alert box with “Cancel” and “Install” buttons.

Transmission

When a download finishes, a notification bubble appears with an “Open Folder” button, and an “Open File” button if only one file was downloaded.

Transmission should instead follow the same approach as for Firefox. That is, a notification bubble should not appear, the main window should open unfocused (if it is not open already), the completed download should be selected in the list, and the window should request attention.

Giver

  • When someone offers you a file, a notification bubble appears containing “Accept” and “Decline” buttons. needs morphing windows

XFCE

When software updates are available, a bubble appears containing an “Upgrade Now” button.

Orage

  • When an event is due to happen, a notification bubble appears containing “Open” and “Silence” buttons.

Mail Notification

  • Mail Notification’s settings include four options for what the notification bubble should do when clicked: “Launch the mail reader”, “Open the latest message”, “Consider new mail as read”, or “Update the mail status”.

    Mail Notification is obsolete with the message status menu.

kernel-oops

  • When there is a kernel oops, a notification bubble appears asking if you want to send the error to the Kernel Oops Web site: “Always”, “Yes”, “No”, or “Never”. This should totally be an alert box instead.

gshutdown

  • gshutdown produces a notification bubble warning you of impending shutdown, and containing a button “Show Main Window”.

gnome-user-share

  • When you have received a file over a Bluetooth connection, a notification bubble appears, and clicking the bubble either opens or reveals the file.

debian-bts-applet

  • When a bug report you’re interested in changes, a “Bug #%d's %s changed” notification bubble appears containing “More info” and “Hide” buttons, where the “More info” button opens the bug report in a Web browser.

gnoemoe

  • When you receive a message, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, focuses the application. This program appears to be unmaintained and unused, so probably can be ignored.

timer-applet

  • When a timer expires, a notification bubble appears that, when closed, sets another timer to be displayed 60 seconds later. Does the bubble contain any buttons?

MeMaker

  • When your avatar is updated, a notification bubble appears notifying you of this, containing an “Undo” button.

ontv

  • When a new program matching your criteria is detected, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, opens a dialog with more details of the program.

specto

  • When something being monitored changes, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, opens the file/application/URI being monitored.

emesene

  • When a new message arrives, a notification bubble appears that, when clicked, reveals the message.

gmail-notify

  • When a new mail is received, a notification square appears in the bottom-right corner informing about it. If you click on it your inbox is shown in the web browser. When the user clicks on the panel indicator, the same square appears informing whether the inbox is empty or there are new messages.

packagekit-gnome

?

Release notes

  • If you have written programs that use libnotify notification bubbles (such as with ______ or ______), read the Notification compatibility guidelines for advice on how to ensure compatibility with Ubuntu 9.04.

Unresolved issues

  • Put notifications in a text log.
  • Because we have a queue, bringing a chat window to the front should remove from the queue all notifications from that person.
  • From “frustphil”: What if you use the keyboard to focus a control that is underneath a currently-open bubble? For example, Ctrl K to focus Firefox’s search field.

  • When the environment is in a RTL language, the bubbles should be on the left instead.

NotifyOSD (last edited 2014-04-02 11:35:47 by mpt)