Audible Gnome Notifications

A ~225 LOC program for making Gnome’s notifications audible by monitoring DBus for common notification pathways and playing a sound when a message matches a certain pattern (Updated 2021-02-27).


Should work out of the box without needing to install any additional dependencies (tested on CentOS 7 and Fedora 29-33):

./ --filter firefox --filter calendar --filter calendar-legacy

Source (@dbazile/gaudible)

Updated 2021-02-27: Added support for playing specific sounds for specific notification sources and to honor “Do Not Disturb” mode.…master


import argparse
import logging
import os
import re
import subprocess
import sys
import threading
import time

from dbus import SessionBus
from dbus.mainloop.glib import DBusGMainLoop
from gi.repository import GLib, Gio

DEFAULT_PLAYER  = '/usr/bin/paplay'
DEFAULT_SOUND   = '/usr/share/sounds/freedesktop/stereo/bell.oga'

    'calendar':        ('org.gtk.Notifications', 'AddNotification', 'org.gnome.Evolution-alarm-notify'),
    'calendar-legacy': ('org.freedesktop.Notifications', 'Notify', 'Evolution Reminders'),
    'firefox':         ('org.freedesktop.Notifications', 'Notify', 'Firefox'),
    'notify-send':     ('org.freedesktop.Notifications', 'Notify', 'notify-send'),

GNOME_SETTINGS    = Gio.Settings(schema='org.gnome.desktop.notifications')
PATTERN_BLOB      = re.compile(r'\[(dbus.Byte\(\d+\)(, )?){5,}\]')
PATTERN_SOUNDSPEC = re.compile(r'^(?P<name>[\w\-]+):(?P<path>.*)$')
LOG               = logging.getLogger('gaudible')  # type: logging.Logger

def main():
    ap = argparse.ArgumentParser()
    ap.add_argument('--debug', action='store_true')
    ap.add_argument('--sound', dest='sound_spec', action='append', help='registers a sound for a specific filter with format <filter-name>:<file-path> or use format <file-path> for everything')
    ap.add_argument('--filter', dest='filters', action='append', choices=FILTERS.keys())
    ap.add_argument('--player', default=DEFAULT_PLAYER)
    ap.add_argument('--rate-ms', type=int, default=DEFAULT_RATE_MS)
    params = ap.parse_args()

        format='%(asctime)s %(levelname)5s - %(message)s',
        level='DEBUG' if params.debug else 'INFO',

    LOG.debug('build sound registry: %s', params.sound_spec)

    sounds = {'*': DEFAULT_SOUND}
    if params.sound_spec:
        for spec in params.sound_spec:
            spec = spec.strip()  # type: str
            m = PATTERN_SOUNDSPEC.match(spec)
            if m:
                key ='name').lower()
                value ='path')

                if key not in FILTERS:
                    ap.error('unknown filter %r in sound spec %r' % (key, spec))
                key = '*'
                value = spec

            if not os.access(value, os.R_OK):
                ap.error('audio file %r cannot be read in sound spec %r' % (value, spec))

            sounds[key] = value

    LOG.debug('sound registry: %s', sounds)

    LOG.debug('check audio player')

    if not os.access(params.player, os.R_OK | os.X_OK):
        ap.error('player %r does not exist or is not executable' % (params.player,))

    LOG.debug('initialize dbus')

    bus = SessionBus()

    filter_keys = tuple(sorted(set(params.filters if params.filters else FILTERS.keys())))

    subscribe_to_messages(bus, filter_keys)
    audio_player = AudioPlayer(params.player, sounds, params.rate_ms)
    attach_message_handler(bus, audio_player, filter_keys)'ONLINE')

    loop = GLib.MainLoop()
    except KeyboardInterrupt:

def attach_message_handler(bus, audio_player, filter_keys):
    :type bus:          SessionBus
    :type audio_player: AudioPlayer
    :type filter_keys:  tuple


    def on_message(_, msg):
        :type msg: dbus.lowlevel.SignalMessage

            interface = msg.get_interface()
            method = msg.get_member()
            args = msg.get_args_list()
            origin = str(args[0])

            for filter_key in filter_keys:
                filter_interface, filter_method, filter_origin = FILTERS[filter_key]

                if filter_interface == interface and filter_method == method and filter_origin == origin:

                    # Suppress audio if we're in 'do not disturb' mode
                    if not GNOME_SETTINGS.get_boolean('show-banners'):
              'SUPPRESS: \033[1m%-15s\033[0m (from=%s:%s, args=%s)',
                                 filter_key, interface, method, truncate_repr(args))

          'RECEIVE: \033[1m%-15s\033[0m (from=%s:%s, args=%s)',
                             filter_key, interface, method, truncate_repr(args))


            LOG.debug('DROP: \033[2m%s:%s\033[0m (args=%s)',
                      interface, method, args)

        except Exception as e:
            LOG.error('Something bad happened', exc_info=e)


def subscribe_to_messages(bus, filter_keys):
    :type bus:         SessionBus
    :type filter_keys: [str]


    rules = set()
    for k in filter_keys:
        interface, method, origin = FILTERS[k]

        rule = 'type=method_call, interface=%s, member=%s' % (interface, method)

        # Prevent messages forwarded by org.freedesktop.Notifications to
        # org.gtk.Notifications from showing up in the stream twice
        if interface == 'org.freedesktop.Notifications':
            rule = 'type=method_call, interface=%s, member=%s, sender=%s' % (interface, method, interface)'Subscribe: \033[1m%-15s\033[0m (rule=%r, origin=%r)', k, rule, origin)


    proxy = bus.get_object('org.freedesktop.DBus', '/org/freedesktop/DBus')  # type: dbus.proxies.ProxyObject
    proxy.BecomeMonitor(rules, 0, dbus_interface='org.freedesktop.DBus.Monitoring')

def truncate_repr(o):
    return PATTERN_BLOB.sub('<binary blob>', repr(o))

class AudioPlayer:
    def __init__(self, player, files, rate_ms):
        self._player = player
        self._files = files  # type: dict
        self._rate_ms = max(0.01, rate_ms) / 1000
        self._quiet_until = -1

    def play(self, name):
        if self._enforce_rate_limit():

        t = threading.Thread(target=self._play, args=[name], name='%s:%s' % (self.__class__.__name__, time.time()))

        # HACK: Without this, sometimes the first execution gets deferred until
        #       the process is about to exit.  Probably related to using GLib's
        #       event loop.

        return t

    def _play(self, name):
        sound_file = self._files.get(name, self._files.get('*'))
        cmd = [self._player, sound_file]
        LOG.debug('EXEC: %s (thread=%s)', cmd, threading.current_thread().name)

    def _enforce_rate_limit(self):
        now = time.time()

        if now <= self._quiet_until:
            LOG.debug('audioplayer: in quiet period for another %.2f seconds',
                      self._quiet_until - now)
            return True

        self._quiet_until = now + self._rate_ms

        LOG.debug('audioplayer: setting quiet period: now=%.2f quiet_until=%.2f rate_ms=%.2f',
                  now, self._quiet_until, self._rate_ms)

        return False

if __name__ == '__main__':


My motivation for writing this is because Evolution’s calendar reminders don’t play sound on a global level. Unless I stare at my computer all day (impossible when I’m reading physical documents), it’s really easy to miss the silent appointment reminder popups. The only option Evolution has to play sound for an appointment is to manually add a sound for every appointment one by one which I’m sure there’s a good reason for… Probably. 😶

I believe work is being done in lower-level components of Gnome to support better customization around notifications but until that lands, I’m using this to make sure my calendar reminders actually work properly.

Known Shortcomings

I kept this program dirt-simple to make it easy to visually inspect for folks who are as security-paranoid as I am. There are improvements I’d make otherwise, specifically:

  • Playing a different sound per notification origin (e.g., Firefox, Evolution, etc) (implemented 2021-02-27)
  • Using Python 3 (would break out-of-the-box compatibility between Fedora and CentOS 7)
  • Using GSound instead of spawning a new paplay process each time
  • Throttling “noisy” origins (e.g., instant messaging webapps)

Other Notes

There is a way to send “hints” to the notifications subsystem that will actually play a sound without the need for manual wizardry as what I’ve done, ala:

notify-send --hint=string:sound-name:alarm-clock-elapsed test

…but the sound name would need to exist in the freedesktop theme spec and Evolution would need to send that hint along with its usual notification message to DBus.

I should submit an Evolution PR for that. If only I knew C… 🤔

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