I use a version of Linux on the one of my computers named ‘Plato’, that has Debian / Stretch as its base, but which also has Plasma 5 as its desktop manager. This was a system which I created from a Kanotix Live DVD, from before Kanotix had an official Debian / Stretch release. According to that Live Disk, the desktop manager was LXDE ! LXDE stands for “Lightweight X Desktop Environment”, while Plasma 5 is the successor to KDE 4, and is a powerful, CPU-consuming desktop manager. In the meantime, Kanotix has created two official ‘Stretch’ releases, one with LXDE and one with Plasma 5, both named ‘Kanotix Steelfire’.
What I felt I needed to do with Plato, was to install Plasma 5 via the package manager, even though the Kanotix developers had not yet done so. This customized Plasma 5 environment has been running fine for some time.
But only recently, after my email client – Thunderbird – received an update to version 60.x, I did notice that some of my desktop notifications seemed a little odd. Instead of appearing as official Plasma / KDE notifications, they appeared either as stylized bubbles, or as more-boring drop-down lists from the center, of the top, of my screen. And so this can lead to some confusion, or to some doubt in whether the system is still stable. In fact, I’ve read some other complaints from the Web, of people who ran in to the same behavior exactly. What seemed to irk them as well as me most, was that although we can use our KDE / Plasma Notification settings to designate, where we want notifications to appear, these apparently rogue notifications seem to disregard this setting.
Well I finally got to the bottom of what was causing this. Within my Plasma 5 desktop, I still had a notification daemon running, that belonged to the experimental build. In my case, this daemon was installed as the package ‘xfce4-notifyd’. And so my gut reaction was
to yank that package out, to let Plasma 5 do its job on its own, to manage the display of notifications. I don’t recommend that my readers do the same thing!
In fact, Plasma 5 has trouble displaying certain notifications gracefully, that were created by simple scripts and programs. Not only that, but the way the new Thunderbird behaves is such, that if the simpler notify daemon is installed, it will use that to display email notifications. Thunderbird will now only use the KDE / Plasma notification engine, if the simpler daemon is not installed.
So it would seem that for “Kanotix Steelfire”, they intentionally leave this snippet of (simpler) code in-place. Therefore, If the main problem other users are facing is also, that these bubbles appear in wrong places on the screen, which they’d like to control, then the trick would be to leave ‘xfce4-notifyd’ installed – assuming it already is – and to run the command as user:
And this is what you’d see:
Yes, now that I reinstalled the package, I get to configure my XFCE Notifier from within my Plasma 5 desktop! For readers who may not know, XFCE is yet another, 3rd desktop manager, that predates LXDE.
So now I get to place those notification bubbles where I want them. If I leave the package out, Thunderbird knows how to use KDE / Plasma, but certain other software does not. This results in the same, ugly drop-down lists, which are then due to the difficulty in getting Plasma 5 to display notifications correctly, which seems systemic.