Tech Tip: Use gxmessage for Displaying GUI Messages from Scripts

There are many dialog programs out there, Zenity, Kdialog, xdialog, etc. I love programs like these. They make it so easy to spice up a shell script with a little GUI action. Today I'm going to go look at a dialog program called gxmessage.

I just recently got a Nokia N900 (Every Linux user should get one) and while playing with it I found that a few programs on it were calling gxmessage to create a user interface. I found that it seemed to have a number of options and seemed easy to use. So I jumped on to my laptop and did a search through the repositories for it. I found it in a package called "gmessage". To install it just do the following:

sudo aptitude install gmessage

You can use this one line code to produce a GUI dialog with buttons:

gxmessage -center \
          -buttons "This is my button":1,"This is my other button":2 \
          -title "This is my dialog BOX" 'Linux is great!!!'

One of the nice features that gxmessage has, that some others don't, is the ability to choose the size of the dialog box using the "-geometry" switch.

gxmessage -center \
          -buttons "This is my button":1,"This is my other button":2 \
          -geometry 190x80 \
          -title "This is my dialog BOX" 'Linux is great!!!'

Gxmessage will restrict you from making your dialog to0 small for the componets you have placed in it. For example, if you set the geometry to 10x10 and the dialog needs at lest 100x50 to display all your buttons and messages it will override your 10x10 and default to 100x50.

For each button you create you can asign it a numeric value which is indicated by placeing a colon after the buttons message followed by the numeric value you wish to asign to it. You can then grab the value of the button being pressed and use it to continue your script. Here is a short example:


gxmessage -center \
          -buttons "Yes":1,"Of Course":2 \
          -geometry 290x80 \
          -title "Linux Journal Question" 'Does Shawn Powers ROCK?'


case "$answer" in
    gxmessage -center "You said 'YES'"
    gxmessage -center "I agree, Of Course."

I've only touched the surface here of what you can do with gxmessage, look through the man pages for more.

gxmessage-1.png10.44 KB
gxmessage-2.png10.05 KB


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


That other dude named nate's picture

Can't you just ssh into the user's box and export the DISPLAY variable to the user's current desktop and then run whatever X app you want and displaying it to the user? for example,

csaba@localhost:$ ssh$ export DISPLAY=:0$ /usr/bin/xapptobedisplayed

That should result in whatever /usr/bin/xapptobedisplayed program showing up on the user's desktop. Obviously the applications can be something like this gxmessage or whatever you want. Hope that helps.

gxmessage to just one person

Csaba's picture

I am running an LTSP setup in a high school with ubuntu. What I would like is to display a message like "you are running out of space, delete some.." after the user logged in. Right now there is a grace period but the user will not know about it. So basically what I am looking into is a way sending a message to a user. If I understand it correctly I need to figure out what user using what display then send a message regarding that. Hm, isn't there something easier?

gxmessage to just one person

Csaba's picture

I have been looking at using xmessage gxmessage to send a note to just one person on the local network.
But haven't found the howto.
Does anyone know how to do it?

thx, Csaba

Notify can be useful too

Toby Haynes's picture

I've found myself adding notify-send to a lot of my scripts recently. This adds notification windows that appear for a certain amount of time and then disappear without user interaction - good for those "This just happened" messages that don't need a button pressed.

I actually wrote a tech tip

metalx2000's picture

I actually wrote a tech tip about that a few months back:
Everything you ever need to know about Free Software.

gxmessage web site?

Anonymous's picture

No link to the gxmessage web site? Where's the love? Here's what I found.