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I'm currently helping a food shop with replacing their overbloated Windows installation by Ubuntu. This went pretty well and the owner is quite happy, but there is still one issue: on Windows, he would use Live Messenger and get instant notifications on new emails. This feature is pretty important since the mails are received from the online shop and needs to be processed immediately. Since the personnel are not looking at the screen all of the time, an audio signal is mandatory.

What software and/ or configuration is recommended to get this kind of notification? The default IM software is Empathy, but it does not seems to have a mail notification feature at all. The mail-notification package can only periodically poll for new mail, but I think that the Hotmail servers restrict the number of logins so this is not a real option either.

Finally, I saw Pidgin as recommendation (I haven't tried the mail notification feature), but perhaps there are better alternatives? Pidgin is actually an IM client, which is not really needed in this case.

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I've used the program Popper for mail notifications. It works fantastically, and I've used it with Live (Hotmail) accounts and it worked perfectly. It does in real time notifications. – Ryan McClure May 4 '12 at 21:29
Visit this question for complete guide to install and configure Popper. Minimize Thunderbird to tray – Basharat Sialvi May 4 '12 at 22:37

Maybe I am not understanding the question properly but Thunderbird is perfectly capable of sound notifications. Assuming it's notification of email only that you want

enter image description here

Then set Thunderbird to check for new mail every 1 min

enter image description here

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I see Ryan mentioned Popper already in a comment and that should work for you.

As an alternative you can also try MailNag, which is a non-Ubuntu specific mail notifier. The author describes it this way: "Mailnag is a fork of the Popper mail notifier. What Popper is to Ubuntu's Unity, Mailnag is to GNOME-Shell."

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It looks like that Popper is polling for new mail too, not exactly what I was looking for. Is something like Pidgin the only way to go here? – Lekensteyn May 5 '12 at 9:05
Sounds like it. I don't know of any other plugins or applications that will duplicate Windows Live Messenger+Hotmail. To mimic that exact functionality, it look like you'll have to use Pidgin. – Jim C May 6 '12 at 23:23
I've just checked Pidgin, but it does not have an audio notification, just a textual one in the main window. That's next to useless. – Lekensteyn May 8 '12 at 21:01
In the comments for the Guifications answer, the poster provided a URL that give directions on adding sound notifications to Pidgin. For your convenience, I've pasted it here:… – Jim C May 10 '12 at 3:10
I came across, I'll have to try it. Meanwhile I still hope there are better solutions. – Lekensteyn May 10 '12 at 6:55

Guifications for Pidgin, mentioned here

Placed here for your convenience.

Install Guifications via Synaptic Package Manager,

enter image description here

Once Installed go to "Tools/Plugins and choose "Guifications",activate it and click on "Configure Plugin" in order to set your preferences. You can set the position, stack, and other display options, the same as Mouse behavior.

enter image description here

Additionally you can set which notifications you want to be notified about and get themes to enhance your GUI notifications.

Note: You might need to disable current notification popups in order not to receive duplicated notifications.

As you can see, you can define The Position, Stack, if you wish to show it while away (really useful!), animation, how long must a message last on screen defined by "Display time" (in order not to lose any purchase order for your clients) and the mouse behavior, among other useful configurable things which includes but not limits to:

Notifications, will let you select which events you wish to be notified about. enter image description here

Advanced options, including the maximum visible guifications and if you are using dual view monitors, choose where will the guifications be placed.

enter image description here

Good Luck!

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Thanks for your answer, I've updated my question with a requirement for audio signals. synaptic is not installed by default on newer Ubuntu versions, so perhaps it is better to mention the USC? – Lekensteyn May 5 '12 at 9:03
Yeah, well you didn't mention it initially. There are patches for mail notification sounds which you can reach by googling and Pidgin itself supports configurable sound notifications, take a look at this:…. I hope you find what you wish. Good luck! – Geppettvs D'Constanzo May 5 '12 at 15:43

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