I use notify-send for desktop notifications and I get notifications with expected summary and body. However, notify-send has limitations and so I would like a few recommendations on alternatives for notify-send.

I would like these extra features :

  1. Expiration time.
  2. Size customizations(size of the bubble).
  3. Location modifications(location of the bubble).
  4. Bubble look(color,transparency,shading)(if possible).

I know python-notify and hesitate to use that as I am not familiar Python. I would like a complete stand-alone program. Any suggestions?


On Unity, or any other desktop that uses Ubuntu's notify-osd, you don't have the option to change the notification bubble's size, position, look or how long it is displayed.

  • 1
    Can notify-osd be replaced by any other daemon, if available, which can be customised? – VedVals Jan 29 '13 at 4:52
  • Probably, as long as they use the same XDG API – mhall119 Jan 29 '13 at 14:26
  • 3
    I was asking for the replacement, not just the possibility. – VedVals Jan 29 '13 at 15:23
  • @mhall119, I see, but is it possible to send notifications like how sound/brightness notifications do? I could’t find anything on the web. – Alen Jul 16 '13 at 1:40
  • 1
    @VedVals Yes, you can replace it, although it doesn't always look pretty. iirc, gnome-notification-daemon is one option. – Seth Aug 8 '14 at 17:10

I took a look at yad as suggested by Paddy Landau. It allowed me to display a notification without a window border, that did not steal focus, and that automatically closed after 1 second. I could not find a way to change the window background color, but I could change the text color and size using Pango Text Attribute Markup Language. The following script increases volume by 3% then displays the current volume level using yad:


amixer -q -D pulse sset Master 3%+
VOLUME=`awk -F"[][]" '/Front Left.*Playback/ { print $2 }' <(amixer -D pulse sget Master)`
yad --timeout 1 --skip-taskbar --center --no-buttons --text="Volume:" --width=200 --text-align=center --undecorated --text="<span color=\"#ffffff\" bgcolor=\"#000000\" font_size=\"large\" font_weight=\"heavy\">      Volume: $VOLUME      </span>"

My suggestion is to use yad, which is a fork of Zenity.


sudo apt install yad

If not available on your version, first run the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/y-ppa-manager
sudo apt update

Learn about yad:

man yad

It is not an ideal solution, but yad is powerful and flexible, and it has a time-out option.

  • yad doesn't work the way I want. It gives windowed notifications. It is great but I want something like notify-send, not windowed. Also, the system crashed on trying to get a notification bubble. – VedVals Jan 27 '13 at 17:55

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