I recently upgraded from 13.04 to 13.10, and suddenly notification bubbles don't appear themed as usual in the upper right corner, but they appear as white text on blue background in the upper-left corner. It looks like this:

Badly themed notification in the top-left corner.

Unsuccesful attempts to fix it

  • I tried reinstalling unity, notify-osd, ubuntu-desktop removed notification-daemon which was installed, none of that fixes it.

  • In fact running ps aux | grep notify-osd shows that notify-osd isn't even running. But when I try to start it manually by running /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/notify-osd I get:

    ** (notify-osd:4618): WARNING **: Another instance has already registered org.freedesktop.Notifications
    ** (notify-osd:4618): WARNING **: Could not register instance
  • If I understand well, the instance is registered by the /usr/share/dbus-1/services/org.freedesktop.Notifications.service file, which right now contains:

    [D-BUS Service]

    Renaming or deleting that file (and rebooting) has no effect whatsoever (and it is not recreated automatically).

  • This is not a duplicate of No notifications from notify-osd on 13.10 (and by the way I purged gnome-flashback-session along with notification-daemon)


How can I debug this? How can I get notifications to come back to normal?

If additional debug information is needed, I'll be happy to add it (just that I can't find any more).

  • Have you tried turning it off and on again (rebooting)? Do you have xfce-notifyd installed or any notification daemon other than notify-osd? What does ps aux | grep osd and/or ps aux | grep noti show?
    – dobey
    Nov 4, 2013 at 16:12
  • Rebooting changes nothing. xfce-notifyd isn't installed (I don't of any other daemon); ps aux | grep osd gives nothing, and ps aux | grep noti shows [fsnotify_mark], update-notifier and /usr/lib/cups/notifier/dbus.
    – Wehlutyk
    Nov 4, 2013 at 16:38
  • 1
    In addition to what dobey said, have you installed any other desktop environments? Have you updated recently? Try running apt-get autoremove. What does it want to remove?
    – Seth
    Nov 4, 2013 at 16:39
  • I have i3wm installed (should I try purging+autoremoving that?). apt-get autoremove removed no packages. And the problem appeared right after upgrading from 13.04 to 13.10. Edit: sorry, misunderstood the "update" question. (Am updating+rebooting)
    – Wehlutyk
    Nov 4, 2013 at 16:43
  • 1
    The problem is that notify-osd nor notification-daemon draw notifications in that manner, under any condition, afaik. I'd suggest filing a proper bug on Launchpad about it, as Ask Ubuntu is not the place for bug reports, or debugging them.
    – dobey
    Nov 4, 2013 at 17:39

3 Answers 3


i3 is using "dunst" notification daemon, so you have to remove it in order to re-enable ubuntu notify-osd.

Execute following from terminal:

sudo apt-get purge dunst
killall dunst
notify-send "Hello"

I had the same problem because of i3. Purging all packages that were installed with i3 helped me:

sudo apt-get purge i3 i3-wm i3lock suckless-tools i3status dunst

I think (but I'm not sure) that the problem was with dunst package - according to it's description it is notification daemon too.


This question is a bit old, but I believe I can add to it. The problem is not with i3, nor with dunst, but with D-Bus actually. Apparently it's bad at handling multiple notification providers. See the note here. I ran into the same issue with the XFCE notification daemon while running Arch.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .