March 15, 2011

Improved Ubuntu notifications: gnome-stracciatella-session

Posted in Software at 19:34 by graham

If you are an active user of Ubuntu’s notifications, for example via lintswitch you may of noticed that they have two key problems, which are easily solved:

  • They appear in a strange place, which you can’t change.
  • Only one gets displayed at a time.

Both of those are easy to fix by simply enabling Gnome’s notification system. Ubuntu provides a package to do this, called gnome-stracciatella-session.

Don’t be put off by the language claiming to “remove Ubuntu specific modifications” – the only two modifications are the notifications, and a modified shutdown button (which we’ll fix).


sudo apt-get install gnome-stracciatella-session


  • Log out
  • At the login screen, select your user, but don’t enter your password yet
  • At the bottom center of your screen select “Gnome (without Ubuntu specific notifications)”
  • Log In

Your notifications should now:

  • Be in a sensible position:

  • Allow several on the screen at once:

Lock / Log Out / Shutdown buttons

You may of noticed that your shutdown button has gone. That integrated button was the other Ubuntu specific modification that gnome-stracciatella-session removed. It’s easy to add the buttons you need:

  • Right click on the top bar, select “Add to Panel…”
  • Select and Add the Lock Screen, Log Out and Shut Down buttons.
  • Right click your clock and unselect “Lock To Panel”. Do the same for other things up there.
  • Right click the Lock Screen button, select move, and slide it to the far right. Do the same for the other buttons.
  • Lock To Panel the ones you unlocked, and your new buttons.

You can even change the notification balloon’s position.

Eh voila! Happy notifying.

PS: I’m aware of the ongoing Ubuntu / Gnome debate. I know why Ubuntu’s notifications are in, as I said above, “a strange place”. I have enormous admiration for both the Ubuntu and Gnome teams. For my current needs, Gnome’s notifications work better.


  1. Ashley said,

    December 27, 2012 at 21:46

    So, the genesis of this dssiucsion was actually far more related to claims made about collaboration between Canonical and GNOME. Aaron just injected himself into the dssiucsion by raising a KDE / angle. However, because it has been raised (and so vigorously supported by Mark in his latest post), it looks like I will have to deal with it as well.

  2. Dairon Medina said,

    June 7, 2011 at 16:19

    Hey Graham, nice post. Reggards from a Cuban linux geek. The music on screenshot if from here, cool

  3. paulsk said,

    March 27, 2011 at 13:37

    Graham: thank you very much for your article. I followed the instructions in it and it works nice. I agree with you about your admiration for the Ubuntu and Gnome teams. All the hours they spent (also) for us to be able to use reliable free software, so enabling us to unchaining ourselves from the grip of M$S and others that always want us to buy a new PC every year of two or so. The gear here (too obscelete for Win7 (!?) a compatability-check-app from MS let me know more than a yr ago): Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Desktop on HP Pavilion Mediacenter PC (dec 2006),, 2GiB RAM, 200GiB HD, 300GiB HP Mediadrive. ‘Lucid’ is booting and running much more fast under this Ubuntu distro then under XP SP3! And thanks to guys like you make it even more fun to use!

Leave a Comment

Note: Your comment will only appear on the site once I approve it manually. This can take a day or two. Thanks for taking the time to comment.