For a better solution, see this article – I am keeping this post online because it makes it possible to implement distributed notifications with Perl modules included in the Ubuntu repositories.
Some of the things I have looked at
- thl’s irssi notification script aka fnotify
Most of this is actually quite good and has formed the basis for my implemenation. Uses libnotify.
- Using irssi with libnotify over Secure Shell
A different implementation of the above, using xterm’s print facility to send data to libnotify.
Uses notify-send on the same machine as irssi, requires X-forwarding (which is a bitch with screen). I liked this but as it uses X-Windows on the remote server the notifications might not match those of your desktop
- Dzen notifications
This is where I got the idea for using a named pipe
I used this before libnotify became standard in Ubuntu. It was hard to make it work and required several (Python) daemon running to forward the notifications.
Since I have several machines I use to access my server where Irssi is running none of the other implementations I looked at really worked since I need to be sure that all machines get the notifications. In the end I decided to use MySQL as a “proxy” for the notifications.
Prepare the MySQL database
It’s a good idea to set up a separate database – just in case one of the scripts f*ck up and deletes everything.
$ sudo mysqladmin -u root -p create irssi
mysql> use irssi
mysql> CREATE TABLE `notify` (
`id` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
`time` timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP,
`summary` varchar(64) CHARACTER SET utf8 NOT NULL,
`message` varchar(255) CHARACTER SET utf8 NOT NULL,
PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
mysql> GRANT ALL ON irssi.* TO 'irssi'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'Password';
Installing the Irssi script
It is also possible to simply create a table inside an existing database; just adjust the configuration values in Irssi.
The Irssi script is based on Jared Quins work (which in turn is based on irssi-libnotify). The basic idea is the same as with fnotify but instead of writing to a temporary file I write to a MySQL database.
Download the script to
~/.irssi/scripts and rename it to notifier.pl.
If you want it to load automatically, symlink it to
$ ln -sf ~/.irssi/scripts/notifier.pl ~/.irssi/scripts/autorun/notifier.pl
Load the script inside irssi:
/script load notifier.
Once you have loaded the script, set these variables inside Irssi (adjust according to your setup)
/set notifier_mysql_db irssi
/set notifier_mysql_host localhost
/set notifier_mysql_user irssi
/set notifier_mysql_password Password
Setup MySQL port forwarding
It is possible to use autossh to automatically setup the tunnel but since I am always connected to my server (at least when I am in front of a computer) I chose to use normal ssh port forwarding.
~/.ssh/config I have
LocalForward 13306 localhost:3306
The stuff running on your local machine
That is, the stuff that actually shows the notifications
I did not want to bother trying to make the MySQL-stuff error proof so I simply call the Perl script from a shell script like so
Save the script as
The Perl script requires DBI and Desktop::Notify – Both are available in Ubuntu
$ sudo install libdesktop-notify-perl libdbd-mysql-perl
Save the script as
Remember to make both scripts executable.
The final thing to do is to add the notify client to your desktop environment’s autostart
In GNOME: System → Preferences → Startup Applications