I work in a shared office and I have the heaphones plugged in in order not to bother my colleagues with the poping sounds of chats and incoming calls. The problem is that I miss most of my calls and chats because the current alerts are just to hard to notice.

Is there a way to make...

  • the full screen flicker,

  • or to bring up an obnoxious message right in the middle of the screen,

  • or a full status bar blink while not focused on the messaging-calling

    app so that I will not miss the calls?

I've gone through the full dconf-editor without finding anything helpful.

There may be a good lead here: How to make Skype use notify-osd? but I don't know how to take advantage of it to change the notifications.

There's a USB key with changing lights project but it does not work with Linux. Besides, why add another hardware piece when you can just put it in the interface you are looking too?

This is not a whitelisting problem, all my apps show in the tray.


2 Answers 2


This will implement your second suggestion. An obnoxious message right in the middle of the screen.

Go to Skype -> Options -> Notifications.

Click the Advanced View

Click for example the Chat Message Received event.

Now enter the following at the Execute the following script:

zenity --info --text "Text message from %sname."

Click Apply and Test Event to test whether an info box appears in the middle of the screen.

You can repeat this option for other events.

Skype window

For Pidgin the same can be achieved using any of the execute plugin command plugins.

  • Thank you Paul. Do you know how to make it global for all messaging apps? Feb 8, 2013 at 17:10
  • do you know how it could be implemented in Pidgin ? Feb 11, 2013 at 8:57
  • 1
    I don't use Pidgin, but I had a look at the ThirdPartyPlugin page in their wiki. It lists several plugins that can execute commands upon events. It should be possible to do the same as I've showed for Skype Feb 11, 2013 at 11:04
  • Yes, that's where the magic is. Thanks! Please add it to your answer so that I can accept it. Feb 14, 2013 at 14:42

Recent Notifications is a GNOME applet that collects recent messages sent with libnotify to a notification daemon, such as notify-osd.

It logs all notifications that show up on your screen – whether you act on them or not.

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

At OMG!Ubuntu you can read a blog post about it: [How to] Never Miss an Ubuntu Notification

  • Thanks Itsuga, but this only keeps track of what I've missed, it does not help me not to miss them Feb 8, 2013 at 17:12

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