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Customized NotifyOSD Notifications
(The color in the screenshot is for testing purposes only, you can set NotifyOSD to any colors you like)

Update: for Ubuntu 11.04 or 11.10, see: Configurable NotifyOSD Bubbles For Ubuntu: Move, Close On Click, Change Colors And More

As you probably know, the NotifyOSD notification bubbles in Ubuntu don't support any kind of customization. Mark Shuttleworth himself said that it's ok to customize the NotifyOSD appearance (so we might get that in Ubuntu at some point), but not the behavior.

But that doesn't mean you can't customize both the NotifyOSD notification bubbles appearance and behavior if you want. You can do it with the patched NotifyOSD from Leolik's PPA which has just been updated with Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat packages (but it also works in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala and 10.04 Lucid Lynx - like we've previously wrote).

The patched NotifyOSD allows a lot of customizations such as changing the position on the screen (corner to display the notification bubbles), colors, timeout and much more.

But first, here is a screenshot using NotifyOSD notifications positioned in the bottom right corner of the screen:

NotifyOSD Notifications bottom left screen

To get the whole idea, here is a video I've just recorded - it starts with the default NotifyOSD behaviour, but watch it till the end:

(Video available in HTML5 if you've enabled it on YouTube; make sure to watch it in HD)

Install a patched NotifyOSD and a GUI to configure the notifications

1. Install the patched NotifyOSD (and libnotify-bin) and restart it:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:leolik/leolik
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install libnotify-bin
pkill notify-osd

2. Install the NotifyOSD Configuration GUI:

wget https://launchpad.net/~amandeepgrewal/+archive/notifyosdconfig/+files/notifyosdconfig_0.1-6~lucid1_i386.deb && sudo dpkg -i notifyosdconfig_0.1-6~lucid1_i386.deb && sudo apt-get install -f

wget https://launchpad.net/~amandeepgrewal/+archive/notifyosdconfig/+files/notifyosdconfig_0.1-6~lucid1_amd64.deb && sudo dpkg -i notifyosdconfig_0.1-6~lucid1_amd64.deb && sudo apt-get install -f

3. Let's start customizing NotifyOSD

Go to Applications > Accessories > NotifyOSD Configuration and tweak everything to suit your needs.

NotifyOSD COnfiguration GUI

To make Notify OSD behave like on Ubuntu Jaunty, meaning the notification bubble is always in the top right corner with no gap, change "Positioning" from "fixed" to "dynamic". You can also customize basically everything regarding the NotifyOSD notification bubbles: background and text colors, transparency, icon size, corner radius and so on.

You can even save "themes" using NotifyOSD Configuration GUI so you can switch between different settings (themes) or reset everything to the default values.

4. Extra option - change the NotifyOSD notifications screen corner

Unfortunately the NotifyOSD Configuration GUI hasn't been updated to Maverick and also, it doesn't include the latest customizations, however you can use the Lucid packages to change almost everything about NotifyOSD (like explained above).

What the NotifyOSD Configuration GUI can't do is change the notification screen position. But you can do that with a simple command, from the command line:

gconftool-2 -s /apps/notify-osd/gravity --type=int [number]

where is [number] can be:
1 - top-right corner
2 - middle-right
3 - bottom-right corner
4 - bottom-left corner
5 - middle-left
6 - top-left corner

For instance, to move the notification bubbles to the bottom-left corner, you would use the following command:
gconftool-2 -s /apps/notify-osd/gravity --type=int 5

NotifyOSD automatically sends a notification to preview the new settings but that's not available for this (obviously, since we're running the command from the terminal, not from the NotifyOSD Configuration GUI) - but you can still test the new settings by running a command:
notify-send --icon="info" test

Update: for Ubuntu 11.04 or 11.10, see: Configurable NotifyOSD Bubbles For Ubuntu: Move, Close On Click, Change Colors And More