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Reminders (Pop-up & E-mail) with Unix?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the replacing-the-thread-and-string dept.

Software 60

mnjaga asks: "What is your solution for handling 'reminders' with Unix? I was using a little freeware called KirbyAlarm , when I was using Windows. After migrating to Linux, it took a while to get a handle on things. Currently, I am using a mixture of cron, remind, and mail . However, I am interested in a better solution than what I am presently using. How do you handle your pop-up and e-mail reminders?"

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evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13119078)

Try evolution. Especially if you have moved from windows you should right at home as it is very similar to outlook. Even understands meeting invitations and updates your calendar appropriately.

remind (0, Redundant)

paul.dunne (5922) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119099)

remind [] -- you'll regret you don't thave a life complicated enough to take full advantage of it ;-)

Re:remind (1)

paul.dunne (5922) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119117)

Memo to self: RTFA...

Re:remind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13119391)

maybe you can... remind yourself to do it next time, somehow?

Re:remind (0, Redundant)

nocomment (239368) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119379)

Evolution does this.

Re:remind (1)

cbcbcb (567490) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123066)

No. Evolution is supposed to do this. Usually it fails to tell you about appointments until after some number of restarts it remembers about appointments which you missed weeks ago. Maybe version 2 is better, but 1.4.6 is just a pile of bugs. Unfortunately, I have to use it to access Exchange...

Re:remind (1)

nocomment (239368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13125480)

I never had a problem with it, but then...I never used it as an interface with exchange.

did you happen to read the post? (2, Funny)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119890)

Currently, I am using a mixture of cron, remind, and mail.

remind -- you'll regret you don't thave a life complicated enough to take full advantage of it ;-)

I'm pretty sure he's already aware of the existense of remind.

Re:did you happen to read the post? (1)

paul.dunne (5922) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120408)

Did you happen to read mine?

KDE to teh rescue? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119107)

KOrganizer prolly has a feature like that, if you're a gooey guy.

Shark jumping (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13119172)

First "how do I play sounds when I get new email" and now "how do I pop up dialogs on a regular basis"? Ask Slashdot is obviously following the rest of Slashdot downhill in quality.

If you use KDE, try `kdialog --msgbox "This is your reminder"` from remind, cron, at, whatever you already have hooked up. Other environments have similar commands, but because you didn't give any idea of what environment you are using, it's impossible to give any specific advice.

Try reading How To Ask Questions The Smart Way [] . In fact, please Slashdot editors, make it mandatory for people to do this before submitting Ask Slashdots.

Re:Shark jumping (2, Informative)

Gleng (537516) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120067)

For Gnome/GTK users, an equivalent program to kdialog is "zenity". For example:

zenity --info --info-text "Text Goes Here"

Re:Shark jumping (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 9 years ago | (#13153163)

Or gmessage.
usage: gmessage [-options] [message ...]
Or, if you're just a plain ole X user, try xmessage.
usage: xmessage [-options] [message ...]
Options are the same for both programs:
where options include:
-file filename file to read message from, "-" for stdin
-buttons string comma-separated list of label:exitcode
-default button button to activate if Return is pressed
-print print the button label when selected
-center pop up at center of screen
-nearmouse pop up near the mouse cursor
-timeout secs exit with status 0 after "secs" seconds

Re:Shark jumping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13130589)

Hey, asshole, perhaps that attitude is why technical work is undervalued in the US. Fuck you. And I hope the editors keep allowing "n00bs" to post.

How about, if you don't like it, to the point where you are going to reference some arrogant asshole's "intstructions" on how to stroke some fucked up loser's ego, you don't read the dammed post?

Sunbird might work (2, Informative)

themuffinking (826948) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119245)

Sunbird [] would work perfectly for this. Only downside is, you have to be running the application to get the notifications.

small shell scrip (2, Informative)

nri (149893) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119281)

[10:19] [nri@sammy:nri] $ cat bin/xat
echo "echo $@ | at $DATE"
echo $@ | at $DATE


[10:19] [nri@sammy:nri] $ cat bin/
DISPLAY=:0.0 /usr/bin/gmessage -wrap -center -font "12" $@

then usage is

xat 10:21am today "Hello world"

Re:small shell scrip (1)

takeya (825259) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120332)

I tried this and it required me to do 2 things:

apt-get install at
apt-get install gmessage

I moved the 2 scripts to /usr/bin and typed "xat 22:42 "hello world""

It worked. I love it!

Re:small shell scrip (1)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120497)

I have scripts/files that send mail messages to my pager.

$mail_line = ("| /usr/lib/sendmail -t 2>&1 ");
$send_to = '';
concat(PIPE, "$mail_line") or die "$0: Can not open pipe $mail_line\n\t$!\n";
print PIPE "To: $send_to\n";
print PIPE "From: messenger from hell\n";
print PIPE "do something\n";
close PIPE or warn "$0: Can not close pipe $mail_line: $!\n";

at 5:01 PM /usr/home/ElectricRook/.message

Re:small shell scrip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13122160)

Isn't a forward easier to implement?

KAlarm (3, Informative)

Danious (202113) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119314)

On KDE KAlarm is a exactly what you are looking for...

Re:KAlarm (2, Informative)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119479)

Kontact (i.e., KOrganizer, which can be run without the whole Kontact framework) is the "complete and easy to use" version.

KAlarm is pretty much what I like: small, easy to use and flexible. If you need more depth, KOrganizer is there, and if you need an entire contact solution, KOrganizer fits right into Kontact.

Of course, each of these applications can be manipulated by scripts in a variety of languages from python to bash through DCOP, or you can use classic commandline calls.

Small solutions that step up and aggregate to complete solutions - the Unix way.


ical (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119347)

I've been using ical [] for this for a decade or two.

It's not perfect, but it works for me. Run in the background, it will pop up a window a few minutes before events happen.

(I also use the cronjob/send email tricks ...)

Evolution (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119355)

Evolution will manage more than just your calendar. I use it for my mail, calendar, and task list, and it's not let me down yet.

No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13119378)

I can write such app in 5-7 minutes.

You just need to find a library that will translate VB object code (I will compile it into .exe, but can be .dll, too, your choice) to Linux formats.

cron and mail (2, Insightful)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119439)

Been doing that for years here.

I suppose you want GUI based pop-ups? (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119616)

For timed reminders, you want a combination of cron (for the scheduling and execution of reminder pop-ups) and Zenity (to produce GUI based dialog "pop ups"). Zenity is rather impressive adding GUI based feedback, input/output to shell scripts.

Mozilla (0)

Moderator (189749) | more than 9 years ago | (#13119899)

Why not just use the Mozilla suite? Email notifications pop up in a nice window, even when you have the mail client closed and are just using the web browser.

Use the easy (but low tech) solution (4, Funny)

dheltzel (558802) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120078)

Get married, then your wife will always tell you what to do and when to do it.

You only need to remember 2 dates each year and that's easily cronable.

Re:Use the easy (but low tech) solution (3, Funny)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121873)

Hehheh. The other day we were chatting at work:

Colleague: "Who does the cooking at your house?"
Me: "I do."
Colleague: "Well, what does your wife do then?"
Me: "Complain."

Re:Use the easy (but low tech) solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13132473)

But my mom's basement only has one bedroom...

cron, mail and ... (1)

hubertf (124995) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120118)

... and a hand-written 'calendar'-like tool that is a bit more intelligent in allowing entries for a specific date or for annual events as well as things like "2. saturday". Input & output is ASCII of course (we're talking Unix here, right?).

With some grep(1) and a bit of sed(1), I've even got a part of my personal calendar up on the web - the part containing party and concert dates, see [] . :)

- Hubert

Re:cron, mail and ... (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13124637)

It would be fairly trivial to approximate something more complex like "second saturday" by calling a script once a Saturday, and let it apply arbitrary checks to the date before sending the reminder. A cron job is cheap, the outside-cron check is cheap.

Countdowntimer (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120136)

Look on for timer or countdowntimer. It's a pythong stript, but it works well. It's very basic though. I turn it on when I turn on the oven/microwave, etc. so I know when it's done.

email reminders (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120178)

$ man biff
biff - be notified if mail arrives and who it is from
[snip snip]
biff informs the system whether you want to be notified when mail arrives
during the current terminal session.
[snip snip]
The biff command appeared in 4.0BSD. "Biff" was Heidi Stettner's dog.
He died in August 1993, at 15.

Re:email reminders (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121138)

$ man biff
IC, your slashdot ID is 20761, but it's still no reason to recommend biff to somebody who's asking for a outlook/calender/reminder replacement.

Even us *ix-geeks are not using biff since ten years anymore.

Sorry, this is not a troll, but your answer is so last century.

Re:email reminders (1)

TedRiot (899157) | more than 9 years ago | (#13122656)

But he mentioned, that biff died in 93, so where was the recommendation?

Re:email reminders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13132617)

why, xbiff of course.

I Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13120212)

How do you handle your pop-up and e-mail reminders?

I don't, I just remember them.

Quick and dirty in OS X (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13120335)

I know the poster isn't using OS X, but for anyone who is, try this in Terminal:
osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to display dialog "[your text here]"'
If the Finder isn't the active application, its dock icon will start bouncing to get your attention and you'll see the dialog box once you click on it. You can do something more robust by using osascript and specifying a file containing a longer AppleScript, e.g. something that tells the Finder to activate and then display the dialog.

at is where it's at. (1)

Christopher Cashell (2517) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120460)

I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned 'at'.

One time scheduled actions is exactly what it exists for. I've been doing:
nexus@~$ at 3pm tuesday
at> echo "This is my e-mailed reminder." | mail -s "Reminder."


xalarm (1)

mister_jpeg (46354) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120476)

xalarm does everything you're asking for. It's in the contrib/utilities dir at

at, sendmail, sleep, xmessage and echo (1)

Farq Fenderson (135583) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120640)

Different combinations depending on various factors.

Remember, ^G makes noise on the terminal.

Common Desktop Environment??? (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 9 years ago | (#13120672)

The mailbox icon on the dashboard does change when incoming mail s present. The calendar program can be configured to pop-up reminders before an appointment. At one time, CDE was even available for Linux as a commercial product...

The other option would be using xbiff (not to be confused with xbill) and setting up cron to e-mail yerself a reminder.

Emacs's Diary (1)

Piquan (49943) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121008)

I use Emacs's built-in diary system (note to Americans: "diary" is roughly equivalent to "schedule planner" in some parts of the world). I've also added an extension to page me when meetings are coming up.

Whats up? (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121069)

Your question has nothing to do with the operating system itself. What you need is just an application that reminds you of certain dates. Just like a caleder, right? Lock at KDE and Gnome and thats all you need. I'm using KOrganizer and I can sync all my dates with my mobile phone.

Unix Desktop (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121157)

What you want (after switching fron Windows to a *nix OS) is a Desktop Environment like KDE or Gnome. Everything you need for your day-to-day tasks is encluded. Unix-like operating systems are not much different to your old Windows experience. Look at Mac OSX, its Unix, but there are surely tools like a calender (don't know).

Jpilot reminders (1)

embobo (1520) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121216)

I run Jpilot ( [] ) all the time. It can open popup windows or execute arbitrary commands for events. Plus, it syncs with your (Palm) PDA.

yahoo! calendar + cellphone (1)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121432)

Set the event in your yahoo! calendar [] , and have it send reminders to (say) your regular inbox and then whatever your phone's email address is. Cross platform, works most anywhere, free (excepting whatever cell access/net access costs, and you probably already have those). I know that isn't pop-up reminders, but it's about as hard to ignore and doesn't depend on you actively looking at your screen.

enotes.el !!! (1)

file-exists-p (681756) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121660)

I use my very own enotes.el [] under GNU/Emacs.

Why (0, Redundant)

redtux1 (732105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13121942)

Why would anyone wanna clutter there screen like this

Mail monitor? Python + pyosd !! (1)

dotzie (901508) | more than 9 years ago | (#13122310)

Blinkenlights! Blinking, large red letters, appearing over anything, including full-screen mplayer - Python + py-osd. A bit overkill for such task, but whatever, I'm a python dood :) click here, bypassing lameness filter... []

Why would you switch to linsux? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13122429)

OSS is written by untalented faggot zealot monkeys with a sweaty grip on reality. Windows is written by highly trained and skilled professionals working for one of the most innovative and successful companies in the history of mankind. You're not a faggot zealot monkey, are you?

My friend ical (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123276)

ical (not related to iCal or iCalendar) is my calendar/todo alert tool of choice. Lightweight, simple and just works.

Email notifications? Are you kidding? Maybe you've heard of this thing called google.

Old and New (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123283)

How do you handle your pop-up and e-mail reminders?"

Long ago I used biff, xbiff and xlbiff.

Now, Evolution has pop-up reminders sufficient for my needs.

Of course, it would be nice to have more extensibility built-in to Evolution so that any script could be fired off for any particular event.

For recurring events, cron works like a champ, after you take the 3 minutes to understand its terse time specification syntax and learn that ~/.crontab needs to be crafted by invoking crontab -e.

Somebody invent a smart / impatient popup (1)

dmorin (25609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13125554)

An idea that just occurred to me is a reminder program that finds me. Say that it runs on my work desktop, and pops up a window. And that window sits there for a period of time. Probably means that I didn't see it, or I'm not at that computer. I want a reminder program that's smart enough to do something like escalate the reminder to my cell phone, which I'm more likely to see/answer.

In the background it could even send an email saying "Hey, I tried to remind you, but you never acknowledged me." An app that covers its own ass.

Here's what I use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13125588)


#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
char *fn;
asprintf(&fn, "%s/.messages", getenv("HOME"));
while (1) {
FILE *fd = fopen(fn, "r");
int ch;
while ((ch = getc(fd)) != EOF) {

keep that running in a sticky xterm. If I want to remind myself of something I can do:

$ at when
at> echo foo>.messages

Can't speak more highly about Evolution (1)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13127178)

Can't speak more highly about Evolution. I use it for all my personal and business reminders, as well as my e-mail. It is better then any software I have used for it.

for kde (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 8 years ago | (#13129453)

see kdialog --help for the popups (it has much, much more than popups, such as file browser, progressbar, handled by dcop, etc)

notifications (2, Informative)

cs (15509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13131245)

My desktop [] just has a small borderless terminal window at the top running "tail -f" on ~/var/log/alert. I write notifications there with ANSI yellow escape sequences so they're bright.

Important email (== personal email and, at work, new-bug email) generates one line messages there via procmail recipes. Opening my email also clears the window (write the terminal-clear sequence to the alert log).

Any decent calendar system should be capable of generating email for reminders, so when my workplace gets a (decent) calendar system the reminders will appear the same way.

I have a few other tiny tiny scripts that use this too; a "run job then alert" script that pops a line onto the log, and so forth.

This is very simple, extensible, doesn't litter my desktop with popups. Works for me!

I use JPilot (1)

cresswell (778016) | more than 9 years ago | (#13134971)

I use JPilot to sync my PDA, so all my appointments are in it already. Keep it open on your desktop and it can pop up a reminder or play a sound. Good enough for me. Barbara
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