I just switched from the Konversation IRC client to the terminal based IRSSI. I'm starting IRSSI on a remote machine using GNU screen + SSH. I do not get any sound notification on new messages, which means that I've to check out IRSSI once in a while for new messages.

That's not really productive, so I'm looking for an application / script that plays a sound (preferably /usr/share/sounds/KDE-Im-Irc-Event.ogg and not the annoying beep) on my machine if there is any activity. It would be great if I can disable the notification for certain channels.

Or, if that's not possible, some sort of notification via libnotify, thus making it available to GNOME and KDE.

2 Answers 2


I did not like libnotify, so I created an UDP server in Python and a client application for irssi. Note that this answer applies to the original requirements in revision 1, it does not have text notification.


This version reacts to various messages directed at you. If you would like to be notified of messages in any channel, remove the leading # in the #'message public' line. Some rate-limiting is implemented, there will be at least 1.3 seconds delay between notifications.

## Put me in ~/.irssi/scripts, and then execute the following in irssi:
##       /load perl
##       /script load notifyudp

use strict;
use Irssi;
use IO::Socket;
use vars qw($VERSION %IRSSI);
use Time::HiRes qw(time);

$VERSION = "0.3.20140930";
%IRSSI = (
    authors     => 'Lekensteyn',
    contact     => 'lekensteyn@gmail.com',
    name        => 'notifyudp.pl',
    description => 'Send a UDP signal to a remote machine',
    license     => 'GPLv3+'

Irssi::settings_add_str('notifyudp', 'notifyudp_ip_addr', '');
# port 0 = disabled
Irssi::settings_add_int('notifyudp', 'notifyudp_port', 0);
Irssi::settings_add_bool('notifyudp', 'notifyudp_auto_start', 0);

my $sock;

sub notify_load {
    if ($sock) {
        Irssi::print('NotifyUDP: Already connected.');
    my $ip = Irssi::settings_get_str('notifyudp_ip_addr');
    my $port = Irssi::settings_get_int('notifyudp_port');
    if (!$port || !$ip) {
        Irssi::print('NotifyUDP: No port or host set, /set notifyudp for more information..');
    if ($port < 1024 || $port > 65535) {
        Irssi::print('NotifyUDP: Invalid port, must be 1024 <= port <= 65535, resetting and ignoring.');
        Irssi::settings_set_int('notifyudp_port', 0);
    $sock = new IO::Socket::INET(
        PeerAddr => $ip,
        PeerPort => $port,
        Proto => 'udp',
        Timeout => 1
    Irssi::print("NotifyUDP: IP $ip will be notified on port $port.");

my $last_time = 0;
sub notify {
    if ($sock) {
        my $now = time;
        my $notify_delay = 1.3;
        if (abs($now - $last_time) > $notify_delay) {
            $last_time = $now;
sub notify_if_hilighted {
    my ($dest, $text, $stripped) = @_;
    if ($dest->{level} & MSGLEVEL_HILIGHT) {

sub notify_stop {
    if ($sock) {
        Irssi::print("NotifyUDP: Stopping.");
        $sock = undef;
    } else {
        Irssi::print("NotifyUDP: not active.");

sub cmd_notifyudp {
    my ($cmd) = @_;
    if ($cmd eq 'start') {
    } elsif ($cmd eq 'stop') {
    } elsif ($cmd eq 'ping') {
    } else {
        Irssi::print('NotifyUDP: Usage: /notifyudp [start|stop|ping]');

Irssi::command_bind('notifyudp', 'cmd_notifyudp');

my @signals = (
# Uncomment the following to get notifs for every (channel) message
#'message public',
'message private',
'dcc request',

'message irc notice', # NickServ responses and such

# whenever the server dies
'server connected',
'server connect failed',
'server disconnected',

'message invite',
'message topic',
'message dcc',
'ctcp msg',
'ctcp reply',
Irssi::signal_add('print text', 'notify_if_hilighted');
foreach (@signals) {
    Irssi::signal_add($_, 'notify');

if (Irssi::settings_get_bool('notifyudp_auto_start')) {
    Irssi::print('NotifyUDP: automatic connection with the sound server is enabled.');
} else {
    Irssi::print('NotifyUDP: automatic connection with the sound server is disabled.');


When started, it listens on all addresses, port 3533. If it receives a UDP packet "M", it plays /usr/share/sounds/KDE-Im-Irc-Event.ogg using paplay ("PulseAudio play"). On receiving S, it quits the server. Since it's open-source, you are free to remove this.

#!/usr/bin/env python
# udpsoundserver.py

"""Listen on a UDP port and play a sound when 'M' is received

Starts the server listening on UDP port PORT (3533 by default) on address HOST
(by default all addresses). Valid commands are:
M - play Music
S - Stop the server
    import socketserver
except ImportError:
    import SocketServer as socketserver
from os import system,getpid
import threading
import sys

# leave it empty to listen on all addresses
HOST = ""
PORT = 3533

class UDPSvr(socketserver.BaseRequestHandler):
    def handle(self):
        data = self.request[0]
        if sys.version >= '3':
            data = str(data, "ISO-8859-1")
        data = data.strip()
        if data == "M":
        elif data == "S":

class Worker(threading.Thread):
    def __init__(self):
        self.daemon = True
    def run(self):

class Handler(threading.Thread):
    def __init__(self):
        self.daemon = True
        self.play = False
        self.must_die = False

    def run(self):
        self.event = threading.Event()
        while True:
            if self.event.isSet():
                if self.play:
                    system("paplay /usr/share/sounds/KDE-Im-Irc-Event.ogg")
                # no else if to allow shutdown signals 
                if self.must_die:
                    print("Shutting down...")
                self.play = False

    def dong(self):
        self.play = True

    def die(self):
        self.must_die = True

def ca(num, x):
    print("Caught SIGINT, shutting down...")

import signal
if __name__ == "__main__":
    print("My PID is: " + str(getpid()))

    if len(sys.argv) > 1:
        HOST = sys.argv[1]
    if len(sys.argv) > 2:
        PORT = int(sys.argv[2])

    print("Host: " + HOST)
    print("Port: " + str(PORT))
    server = socketserver.UDPServer((HOST, PORT), UDPSvr)

    ding = Handler()
    signal.signal(signal.SIGINT, ca)
    worker = Worker()
    # might not be the cleanest, but it allows Ctrl + C
    while ding.isAlive():

The sequence of starting the remote server becomes:

screen -dm path/to/udpsoundserver.py
ssh -R 5355:localhost:5355

After logging in, I run:

screen -t irssi irssi

Should you need to reconnect later:

screen -r irssi

After starting irssi, you need to set the host and port:

/set notifyudp_ip_addr
/set notifyudp_port 5355

To make it connect automatically on startup:

/set notifyudp_auto_start 1

The first time, you need to start Notify UDP manually since it was not auto started yet:

/notifyudp start

In order to test the notification:

/notifyudp ping


  • make the soundserver stop on disconnect
  • allow for skipping channels
  • You said that text indicator was not a requirement - the phrasing implied that it would be nice, but wasn't the preferred option. I apologize for the edit, and you can roll it back if you want.
    – jrg
    Sep 16, 2011 at 12:48
  • No problem, it's good to have alternatives. My solution is as I said hacked together, so your answer may be worth trying.
    – Lekensteyn
    Sep 16, 2011 at 19:26

I do this with libnotify. I found this ages ago.

It works like a champ. I used to use it with libnotify on linux (and still do when I'm on a linux machine) but most of the time I'm on a macbook now, so I use growl as a replacement for libnotify on the mac.

# todo: grap topic changes

use strict;
use vars qw($VERSION %IRSSI);

use Irssi;
$VERSION = '0.0.3';
%IRSSI = (
    authors     => 'Thorsten Leemhuis',
    contact     => 'fedora@leemhuis.info',
    name        => 'fnotify',
    description => 'Write a notification to a file that shows who is talking to you in which channel.',
    url         => 'http://www.leemhuis.info/files/fnotify/',
    license     => 'GNU General Public License',
    changed     => '$Date: 2007-01-13 12:00:00 +0100 (Sat, 13 Jan 2007) $'

# In parts based on knotify.pl 0.1.1 by Hugo Haas
# http://larve.net/people/hugo/2005/01/knotify.pl
# which is based on osd.pl 0.3.3 by Jeroen Coekaerts, Koenraad Heijlen
# http://www.irssi.org/scripts/scripts/osd.pl
# Other parts based on notify.pl from Luke Macken
# http://fedora.feedjack.org/user/918/

# Private message parsing

sub priv_msg {
    my ($server,$msg,$nick,$address,$target) = @_;
    filewrite($nick." " .$msg );

# Printing hilight's

sub hilight {
    my ($dest, $text, $stripped) = @_;
    if ($dest->{level} & MSGLEVEL_HILIGHT) {
    filewrite($dest->{target}. " " .$stripped );

# The actual printing

sub filewrite {
    my ($text) = @_;
    # FIXME: there is probably a better way to get the irssi-dir...
    print FILE $text . "\n";
        close (FILE);

# Irssi::signal_add_last / Irssi::command_bind

Irssi::signal_add_last("message private", "priv_msg");
Irssi::signal_add_last("print text", "hilight");

#- end

To load it in irssi, run the following:

/load perl

/script load fnotify

Then, we need to get it routed to libnotify. To do that, save the following as a shell script and run it on login:

# yes, we need a way to flush the file on disconnect; i don't know one
# yes, that's flush is not atomic (but good enough for me)
ssh remote.system.somewhere "tail -n 10 .irssi/fnotify ; : > .irssi/fnotify ; tail -f .irssi/fnotify " | sed -u 's/[<@&]//g' | while read heading message  do  notify-send -i gtk-dialog-info -t 300000 -- "${heading}" "${message}"; done # the sed -u 's/[<@&]//g' is needed as those characters might confuse  notify-send (FIXME: is that a bug or a feature?)
  • Lame GROWLer. ;) I'll take a look.
    – jrg
    Sep 15, 2011 at 23:11
  • I'll check this later, a day after posting this Q I hacked a perl and python script together which I've been using then.
    – Lekensteyn
    Sep 16, 2011 at 9:18

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