Gnome-OSD is an On Screen Display (OSD) component for Gnome, which will display certain information, like which audio track is playing, and if you’ve received email.
Technically, “it displays messages overlaid on your screen, using shaped windows and pango for rendering. The concept was inspired by XOSD“. In short, text with a transparent background will appear at the top of the screen, then slide down to the centre, then quickly slide back up and out of sight after a few seconds, or if you move your mouse.
It won’t work with every program, since it is designed for Gnome apps, so it will display info for email clients like Evolution, but not others like Thunderbird, and for audio players like the default Rhythmbox, but not KDE ones like Amarok. It will also notify you of incoming IRC chat messages, as well as Pidgin/Gaim buddies actions.
If you’re like me, you probably don’t want OSD messages for incoming email anyway, but just for the current audio track as it starts. If you’re using Thunderbird or similar, then you don’t even need to disable that, but if you’re using a compatible client like Evolution, you will need to access OSD Properties, which you can do via the terminal:
In the General tab, you will see you can change the font and its size, enable/disable “Animations“, “Drop shadow“, “Sound” and “Hide on mouse hover“. You can also change the “Alignment” from the default “Center” if you like, and also tell it to “Avoid panels“. In the Notifications tab, you can enable/disable “Notify on song changes“, “Notify on IRC messages directed to me” (as well as “Include message text“), “Notify when new email arrives“, and “Notify buddies actions“.
To install Gnome-OSD, search for gnome-osd in Synaptic, or enter sudo apt-get install gnome-osd in a terminal (it should be in the standard repositories, but if you have trouble finding it, add more repos, including the Medibuntu repos).
Note that if you want to change the default colours from yellow and green, as well as other options not in OSD Properties (like border thickness and animation speed), you’ll have to read this for more info.
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