I just started using Xubuntu and I have been pretty impressed so far. I use Thunderbird as my e-mail client and I have been having a tough time getting the email notifications to show up again. They used to show up and then I played with it....

I was playing with the panels and I deleted the panel that comes installed at the top and put a new one in. Now I don't get the transparent box in the corner indicating new mail (I do get the transparent box showing the wifi network I am connected to and when my battery is fully charged and that I can use Guake). I put the notification area plug-in in and did not see any options for thunderbird. There is also a Indicator plug-in but it does not have any options.

I really want that box to show up again indicating that I have a new message because I like to have my docks hidden for more screen real estate.

Any help would be appreciated. Most of the forums that I have read on the subject seem to deal with the sound or Unity, neither of which interest me.

2 Answers 2


Well I figured it out,

Its kind of hackish, I wish I could have found a better way but this way works for now. I am running Xubuntu 13.10 and Mozilla Thunderbird 24.2.0.

What I wanted was for a notification bubble to pop up when I got a new e-mail.

What I did was installed the extention "Fire Tray 0.4.8" in Thunderbird, which showed a Thunderbird icon in the notification area plugin in my panel. Then if you right click the icon and go into the preferences option there is an empty field that says "Launch on count change".

I wrote this python script and "chmod +x"'d it:

#! /usr/bin/python

    This program is meant to be launched when
    a new message is detected by the mozilla
    thunderbird extention "fire tray"

import pynotify
import sys
import getopt

# full path to the icon to be displayed in the notification bubble
ICONPATH = '/usr/share/icons/numix-icon-theme-circle/Numix-Circle/48x48/applications/thunderbird.svg'

# Time out is in seconds

def sendmessage(title, message):
    pynotify.init("Mail Notify")
    notice = pynotify.Notification(title, message, ICONPATH)

def cmdLine(argv):
    title = 'NEW MESSAGE'
    message = '{0} New Messages'.format(argv[0])

if __name__ == '__main__':
    if (int(sys.argv[1]) > 0):  

then I saved it in my /home/user_name/bin/ as "mailnotify"

Then in that field in the preferences of the Fire Tray plugin I typed the full path to the script, in my case, /home/jesse/bin/mailnotify.

Works like a charm now. I wanted to just change a parameter in a config file but oh well.

Hope this helps some one else out.

(The timeout parameter doesn't seem to do much, so if anyone could correct me that would be great)


I tried several thunderbird addons and I could only make "New Mail Attention" to work. (New Mail Attention 1.2.1, Thunderbird 31.5.0). It will flash the application in the desktop's panel, no notification messages, but it's also good for me. It's also great, because you can use it in Tools -> Message Filters, because it defines an action "Get Attention". So you can configure the thunderbird application flashing only for selected (important) emails. I hope it may help others.

Regarding the script posted by Jesse, based on my experiment the TIMEOUT parameter seems to be in milliseconds, not seconds (maybe different pynotify versions). I could test this script by running it from a terminal, but I could not make Fire Tray to run it (even after restarting Thunderbird). (Also, if Fire Tray would work, using notify-send could be also an alternative, e.g.: )

#! /bin/bash

notify-send -t 45000 -i /usr/share/icons/hicolor/scalable/apps/xfce-newmail.svg "NEW MESSAGE" "$1 New Message(s)"

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