Posted by: reformedmusings | May 1, 2010

Thunderbird message notification in Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS

When I initially upgraded to Lucid 10.04 LTS and then recovered my system to be able to successfully boot again, I tried the new Indicator Applet. Unfortunately, it proved pretty useless as I don’t use any of the programs it supports. Figuring that it was a waste, I removed it and substituted the Gnome Volume Control Applet. However, I was curious enough to Google for other ideas.

Sure enough, ubublogger has a solution! He wrote a libnotify extension to send Thunderbird new mail notifications to the Indicator Applet. He provided instructions to download and install the extension in the linked post. I had to do one initial step, though. His instructions require an application called bzr. You can install it from the terminal by typing:

sudo aptitude install bzr

It will want to install a number of support packages as well. I did that, then created a directory in which to store the source files. In the terminal, I changed to that directory, then cut and pasted his suggested command into the terminal and executed. After the required files downloaded, I ran the script as instructed. I then installed it in Thunderbird through Tools -> Addons, then clicked on Install… and navigated to the extension. After installation, restart Thunderbird.

The extension works perfectly. It preserves the pop up window that previews the message over the System Tray, and also provides a nice visual notice in the tray of new messages. Right clicking on the indicator icon will display the number of new messages and the account in which they reside. Very nice!

I’ve found in initial use that a dialog box pops up saying that the system needs a package called libnotify-bin to work. The Thunderbird extension doesn’t need the package to work, but the system does to display a separate notification box. I don’t want the separate notification box for TBird because TBird has its own, but I don’t want to be bugged by the dialog every time I get a message. So, I installed libnotify-bin until I come up with a better idea.

The real solution to this Indicator Applet is to make it customizable so that any program that supports it can appear on the pop up natively and one can delete those apps that one doesn’t use. Maybe next version. Or maybe not.

After my initial post, I found that ubublogger had the answer to executing Thunderbird from the Indicator Applet as well. In this post, he explains how to put Thunderbird in the Applet’s list. It’s progress.

Many kudos to the team that put this Thunderbird extension together. It’s still labeled as experimental, but don’t hesitate to use it.

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