Thunderbird and external notification sounds

So, I decided that I don’t want to listen to the default system sound whenever I receive a new email. In Thunderbird, there is a field in “General Preferences” for one to specify a particular sound file to be played when new mail arrives. Easy enough. I chose the file I wanted it to play (went and found a .wav file that was tolerable, as it seems to prefer .wavs), and hit “Play.” Nothin’. Searching around the tubes, I found that PulseAudio was required for this feature. Certainly not, right? Turns out that that is only one option for playing a custom sound on message arrival. A more suitable, much lighter, alternative is to install the enlightened sound daemon (esd). In Gentoo, this is done with:

emerge -av media-sound/esound

That’s all it takes. The esd is also required for many other applications sound playback functionality, so you may already have it installed. 🙂


Skip to comment form

    • lyallp on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 01:28
    • Reply

    I just noticed that if I set the ‘Default’ sound notification, the ‘pop’ works, if I set to ‘Use the following sound’ and leave the default value as ‘pop.wav’, it does not work.
    It seems to me, the easiest way to customise the notification sound is to replace the pop.wav contents with some other wav, leaving the file in place, not that I have tried this.

    • lyallp on Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 01:19
    • Reply

    I have thunderbird 3.1.10 – it plays the default ‘pop’ no problems without esd running (it is installed but not running).
    However, preferences does not play the sound (it does make a slight click) regardless of whether esound is running or not.
    I have not tested it with some other wav file.
    FYI: I use fluxbox, not kde nor gnome, although, kde is installed and gnome is not.

  1. If you can’t play the custom sounds, then you are likely seeing the same error that I did. Make sure that you have esound installed. If you do, are you able to play ANY custom sounds? Try downloading a random .wav from the net, and put it in your home directory. Then use that one.

    • ppurka on Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 14:13
    • Reply

    Hmm.. custom wav files doesn’t seem to work. I tried wav files from pidgin and workrave.

    • Zach on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 10:01
    • Reply

    Ah, thanks for the information. So it seems like there are several different libraries that can be utilised in order to get notification sounds in Thunderbird. Are you able to change to a custom sound instead of the system sound, though?

    • ppurka on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 06:05
    • Reply

    Actually, recently thunderbird sounds got activated for me (after several years of using thunderbird). I am pretty sure it happened because of the installation of libcanberra. libcanberra was pulled in as a dependency of notification-daemon during an upgrade of world. I have no esound installed and no pulseaudio installed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.