Can anyone tell me if the following is possible in Ubuntu 16.04? And if so, how?

On Windows and Mac OS X, Google Calendar provides pop-up reminders no matter what application I’m working in.

I’m talking about the in-your-face reminders that stay on the screen till I hit OK. Annoying, but nothing else works for me. (Even if I'm in the loo, I see the reminder when I return.)

Works perfectly in Windows and Mac. But in Ubuntu, I never get system-wide pop-up reminders that stay on the screen.

I’m at wits end, after weeks of fruitless efforts to get this working in Ubuntu (using Firefox, Chromium, Vivaldi and, finally, Chrome itself).

In my Google Calendar settings, “Use browser notifications instead of interruptive alerts” is unchecked. Checking it hasn’t made a difference.

I haven’t used a desktop calendar app in years. But if that would provide system-wide, pop-up Google Calendar alerts in Ubuntu, please tell me how. (For what it’s worth, my Google calendar is synced with the Ubuntu calendar app, but that doesn’t usually provide reminders (though I just got one that’s two weeks old).

I want to use Ubuntu as my main OS, but can't without system-wide pop-up Google Calendar alerts.

Is this possible in Ubuntu? If so, how?

If you can shed any light, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • 1
    System-wide pop-up reminders has been disabled. You can install evolution and sync your google calendar. If you keep evolution running in background it will give you pop up reminder. – Khurshid Alam May 22 '16 at 3:56
  • When you say system-wide pop-up reminders have been "disabled," do you mean disabled by default? If so, how can I turn them on? If system-wide pop-up reminders are disabled, then neither Evolution nor anything else will do what I want. What I want are pop-up reminders that will remind me regardless of what application I'm working in, and that will stay on the screen till I hit OK. That's how Google Calendar (running in Chrome) works on Windows and Mac. – P. Roche May 28 '16 at 18:18

You may try Thunderbird. The newest version should include Lightning calendar and Provider for Google Calendar (if not you can search for these addons & install). Thunderbird gives this kind of persistent alert on a new event: Thunderbird calendar alert

Once you have Thunderbird with Lightning and Provider for Google Calendar you may do the following:

Sync your Google account:

Go to File > New > Calendar, then select On the Network, then Google Calendar and log in and grant permission.

Install Firetray:

Go to Tools > Add-ons and search for Firetray and install it. This will keep Thunderbird running minimised in notification area, so you won't have to keep thunderbird open to get alerts for new events.

Change Notification Sound:

Go to Edit > Preferences > Calendar > Reminders (tab), make sure the checkbox next to Play a Sound is marked and then click on Browse to select the sound you want as alert.

In addition you might also want to start Thunderbird at system start-up so that you don't need to manually start it all the time.

  • Thanks. Yes, found Add-ons under Tools. Lightning's pop-up reminders working, but only in Thunderbird, not system wide. (So if I'm not looking at Thunderbird, I can't see the reminders, which defeats the purpose. It does play a sound, but that's no good in a noisy environment.) I also installed the Provider for Google Calendar 2.7 add-on, but it isn't working. Clicking Synchronize does nothing. Note: My system calendar (accessible via the clock) is synced with my Google Calendar, but syncing is no good without system-wide reminders. Are system-wide pop-ups turned off by default? – P. Roche May 29 '16 at 17:03
  • When I restarted Thunderbird to complete Firetray install, I got: "Warning: Unresponsive script ... ... Script: chrome://calendar/content/widgets/minimonth.xml:622 " Should I care that Firetray project is discontinued? Release Notes v0.6.0 — 2015-10-30 said: "This version contains known bugs (especially for Ubuntu...)." Also, still no system-wide pop-ups. Sound notification no help if briefly away from computer. I still need pop-up event reminders that I can see no matter what application I'm in, and that stay on the screen till I hit OK. – P. Roche May 31 '16 at 0:51
  • @p-roche If you are having a problem with Firetray you may remove it & try MinimizeToTray (same functionality & installation process as Firetray). For persistent pop up alerts, go to Edit > Preferences > Calendar > Reminders (tab) and make sure the checkboxes next to Show the reminder dialog and Show missed reminders are marked. You should see pop-up alerts as in the screenshot I posted. – pomsky May 31 '16 at 1:04
  • I am getting persistent pop-up reminders -- but only in Thunderbird. So if I am in another application I miss them. There is sound notification -- but that's no help if I'm on the phone, in a noisy environment or have walked away from my computer for a minute. That's why I need system-wide reminders -- that pop up on top of whatever application I am working in. Google Calendar does that on Windows and Mac -- without hassle. Don't know why it should be "impossible" in Ubuntu. Google forums no help either. – P. Roche Jun 1 '16 at 1:57
  • If you're doing everything I said correctly you should be getting persistent pop-up alert (i.e. it won't go away until you snooze/dismiss) always on top for events in your Google calendar, with a sound of your choice, even when Thunderbird is running minimised in system tray, no matter whatever application you're running (except maybe some application which runs full screen and suppresses other pop-up windows) – pomsky Jun 1 '16 at 6:22

I am not sure if I can help - but the terminology you should search for is

Google calendar panel indicator

I installed a number of these panel indicators in Trusty, as the brightness up / down keys never worked on my Vaio F keys - but I have no idea where you can get them for 16.04 but;

this link takes you to the page with about 30 indicators which work with Trusty.

Check out panel indicator 13 - it is for google calendar. If someone has spelunked the code for Trusty - someone must be working on it for Xenial Xerus I don't know if the reminder stays on screen until clicked but it is at least a place to start.

Good luck - and please post the solution when you get it.

  • Thanks, ys99x. I want to first see if it can be done without installing anything. ( I have no terminal experience and fear doing damage I won’t know how to reverse.) Meanwhile, does anyone know if Ubuntu prohibits the sort of system-wide, stay-on-the-screen alerts that I’m looking for? By the way, on Windows and Mac I use Google Calendar in Chrome only. I tried the Vivaldi browser on Mac OS X.11, but it only displayed the reminders in the same tab. – P. Roche May 23 '16 at 23:05
  • This page is now (for me) the second hit for that search string! The first is dated 2012! – Martin Bonner Mar 12 at 8:59

You may try gcal-notifier-kotlin-gtk: https://github.com/nikitabobko/gcal-notifier-kotlin-gtk on XFCE it shows notification until you hit on it. On Gnome it doesn't work such way: Notification just hides but it's because Gnome doesn't support such feature. Didn't tried it on other Desktop Environments.

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