Notifications are less useful on GNOME

(this was supposed to be a reply to this reddit thread but I figured I could post it here too)

I agree that notifications on GNOME/Linux are less useful than on Android/Windows/etc. Many people/reviewers think that Android has the most useful notification system, so here are features that are currently missing on GNOME:

  • no way to know which application actually sent the notification. the title always contains generic terms like “Reminders” or “Screenshot captured”. I think they should actually show the name of the application or atleast an icon for example “Calendar” or “GNOME” (on android screenshots are taken by “Android system”

  • no way to reply to messages right in the notifications area. for example, on android I can quickly reply to a message in the notification area without open the app (or Like the message)

  • no way to show action buttons once the notification has been dismissed

  • media players (MPRIS) are non-dismissable. often times I see in my notification shade I have like 6 media players, some with cryptic numbes as names and I can’t even see which app sent that MPRIS metadata. Often times, it’s tabs I opened in firefox or amberol playing in the background

  • no grouped notifications: on android (which btw handles notifications very well), messages are grouped into 3 main categories: “Conversations”, “Default” and “Silent”. the conversations notifications usually contain an icon of the sender, their whole messages thread (unread messages) which you can expand to show all the individual notifications. Default notifications are, well normal, and “Silent” notifications are for non-important or long running tasks (like Health Steps of the day, KDE Connect (with actions to quickly send clipboard or files) etc. Silent notifications are never showed on the lock screen and you can’t see their notification banners unless you swipe down to the notifications header

  • for conversations, you can also change settings of a particular conversation (change notification sound, make it a priority notification etc). you can even pin conversations to the home screen.

  • no notifications history: a feature which shows all your past notifications (dismissed) grouped by date and app.

  • no notification categories. an app sends notifications of different types. for example, a social media app like twitter/mastodon can have “Recommendations”, “Direct Messages”, “Mentions”, “Replies” etc. It’s easy on other platforms to turn off notifications of some types and you can even change the settings of each notification. for example, you can turn “Recommendations” to “Silent” and maybe even minimise them.


that’s not true, I have some apps, that say their name there. The spec has it’s own field for it at least, but yeah, it’s pretty unreliable.

But it seems planned system-status/quick-settings/quick-toggles-notifications-collapsible.png · master · Teams / Design / os-mockups · GitLab

I could have sworn, that I have that with some notifications (KDE connect?)

that actually was implemented in gsoc, but never merged (probably for good reasons, but I don’t know)

freedesktop right now only has urgency being set by the app developers, so somebody would have to talk to them to change the spec to allow this.

might be an interesting app to implement outside of the shell as a start and see if you get interest in it. then it could be moved towards the shell.

the spec has categories, but probably not what you would expect Desktop Notifications Specification

As I rely on gnome more and more as it’s now my daily driver DE, the omission of notification history functionality has become the greatest pain point. Many notifications dismiss automatically before the possibility of being read fully or acted upon.

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