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Rating Open Source Desktop Notification Systems

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Software

It’s a problem as old as the microprocessor: How do you provide important information to users without getting in the way of their workflow? On most open source platforms, the answer to this conundrum currently lies in passive notification popups or bubbles. And while some interfaces get it right, others — especially GNOME Shell — could do a lot better. Here’s how.

Traditionally, the Linux world lacked any standardized, centralized system for providing information to users about system or application events. Different distributions and desktop environments implemented various solutions, none of them particularly elegant or memorable.

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