Irssi libnotify integration

I came across irssi-libnotify integration in a picture in blog post I read this morning.

I thought about this, and decided that this was something I had to have. I often don’t pay attention to my IRC while I’m busy with something else, and miss out on a conversation that I’m being hailed in. (By something else, I’m meaning non-important, non-masked-interrupts-something-else.)

It isn’t an easy problem to solve, though. Irssi is running on a remote machine inside screen. I’ll be accessing it from one of many machines, possibly NATed, and possibly unable to receive incoming TCP connections.

I googled around a bit, and came across 3 main classes of solution to this problem:

  1. Run libnotify directly on the irssi-box, and use ssh’s X-forwarding to display it on my client. This is sub-optimal, because your X server isn’t always available. Example: irssi-libnotify (which requires the module to be reloaded every time you re-attach screen)
  2. Output all hilighted messages to a log file (using fnotfiy), and tail that log file with a second ssh session into a local script that calls libnotify. Sub-optimal, because it requires manually running a second ssh session, and restarting it in the event of network issues. Example
  3. Send notify events down the Print Channel of the terminal. This will pass through screen, and pop out at your terminal-emulator. xterm and rxvt are both capable of then sending them to an arbitrary command (which could call libnotify). This is quite a clever hack, except that gnome-terminal doesn’t support it. Example

As you can see, they all have major short-comings, and I wasn’t about to implement any of them.

Finally, I realized that Jabber would be a good way to hail me. My laptop / desktop / n800 / foo all run jabber clients. Perfect. I googled, and found a few pre-canned solutions. I settled for jabber-hilight-notify. It runs a jabber client in a perl irssi script. This then sends me a message whenever a hilighted line crops up. (Assuming I’m not in “Do Not Distrub” mode)

I initially had some problems with getting jabber-hilight-notify working. It turns out that setting a custom resource string is a bad idea. My final config was:

jabber_hilight_notify_target = stefano@rivera.za.net
jabber_password = xxxxxxxx
jabber_id = irssi@rivera.za.net
jabber_server_reconnect_time = 60
jabber_hilight_notify_target_presence = online chat away xa
jabber_hilight_notify_when_away = OFF

My Pidgin provides the libnotify integration, although jabber-hilight-notify’s designed to work with Tavu (a desktop-notification frontend for KDE). I think a better approach would be to use Telepathy. If such a general telepathy-based solution could be found, then it would be easy to have multiple remote daemons send notifications to you via jabber transport.

Now to see if I’m still happy with it after a week of it interrupting me.

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