sudo notify-send Test "Hello World"

Displays a notification as expected.

notify-send Test "Hello World"

Does not display a notification.

Further information

Ubuntu version 16.04.

The notifications appear to use notify-osd instead of notification-daemon. Running notify-send appears to launch a notify-osd process under the user that ran notify-send. I'm not sure what dbus is.

No error messages

There are no errors in the syslog. When I run the following code no error messages occur.

#include <libnotify/notify.h>
#include <stdio.h>
int main() {
    gboolean x = notify_init ("Hello world!");
    printf( "notify_init: %d\n", x );
    NotifyNotification * Hello = notify_notification_new ("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
    GError *err = NULL;
    x = notify_notification_show (Hello, &err);
    printf( "notify_notification_show: %d\n", x );
    if(err != NULL) {
        printf("Error detected!\n");
        printf("Error message:%s\n", err->message);
    else {
        printf("No error detected.\n");
    return 0;

I do not know what I'm doing. Thanks for the help.

Python Notify

In the past, I've used a python program that has working notifications. I tested a hello world notification and it works without sudo!

#!/usr/bin/env python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
import gi
gi.require_version('Notify', '0.7')
from gi.repository import Notify

n = Notify.Notification.new('test', 'test2')

Code from http://www.devdungeon.com/content/desktop-notifications-python-libnotify

I am not sure why this works. The python Notify is just wrapping the library used in the C example. I'd prefer not to use python but will if I must.


The problem occurred again. Resolved by adding urgency critical.

  • Is there another user account on your system to check if it is also on other users? Another question: did notifications work fine in the past on this account, also from cli? Sep 6, 2016 at 18:43
  • No there isn't another desktop user. I can add one and check. This is my first time using notifications but volume control and a bunch of other ubuntu built-ins display notifications. Add python test to post.
    – aco
    Sep 6, 2016 at 18:57
  • Did the issue by any chance start when you ran the command sudo notify-send...? Sep 6, 2016 at 18:59
  • No. I'm pretty sure I ran notify-send first. Then decided to try sudo because then the computer knows I really mean it.
    – aco
    Sep 6, 2016 at 19:07
  • Restarting the computer has fixed the problem. Notify-send now no longer requires sudo. Thanks for the help.
    – aco
    Sep 6, 2016 at 19:09

2 Answers 2


Restarting fixed the problem. Not sure why.

Edit The problem occurred again. Using urgency critical caused the notification to appear. The command is:

 notify-send --urgency="critical" "asdf"

With this answer I "fixed" the problem. No sudo needed now. Have to set again DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS environment variable:

eval "export $(egrep -z DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS /proc/$(pgrep -u $LOGNAME gnome-session)/environ)";

But, as asked here:

  • notify-send -u critical "Nice title" "Nice description" work fine but
  • notify-send -u normal "Nice title" "Nice description" doesn't work.

Also using -i this way seems deprecated: notify-send -i "notification-network-wireless-full" "Summary" "Body". Maybe we should file a bug.

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