Non-Linux FOSS: libnotify, OS X Style

One of the things I dislike about using Irssi in a terminal window on OS X is that I often miss the screen flash when someone mentions my name in IRC. With some fancy SSH tunneling (maybe more on that some other issue) and a really cool pop-up notification tool, if someone mentions my name, I can't miss it.

terminal-notifier is a command-line tool for creating OS X-native user notifications. It doesn't rewrite the concept of pop-ups; instead, it gives us nerds a way to add pop-ups to scripts (Figure 1). Because it uses the native notification system, it's easy to modify what sort of pop-up appears. I prefer the kind that doesn't go away until dismissed, but you can change that in the notification settings in OS X's preferences.

Figure 1. A quick command-line-ninja move creates a pop-up.

If you like pop-up notifications like libnotify, but find yourself on a Macintosh machine more often than not, terminal-notifier might be as useful for you as it is for me at my day job. Plus, now you know that if you mention my name in IRC during the workday, you'll make a window pop up on my screen! Get it at


Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


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notifier shortcomings

Roland's picture

Current mini-apps like notify-send have no options at all. No control of colors, fonts, placement, NUTHIN! I have been using zenity for notifiers from shell scripts, but it doesn't recognize -geometry, requiring me to jump thru hoops with wmctrl. This 'terminal-notifier' isn't in the Deb repos, how flexible is it?