I am searching for a small new-email-notifier for IMAP mailboxes that displays it's status in the icon-bar (how do you call it?) of a window manager.

Basically some biff/xbiff like tool ported to 21th century technology. ;)

I am using awesomewm, which is able to display in its taskbar the 'applets' (?), which also work under gnome (I guess that it implements some freedesktop standard).

Basic requirements:

  • should not waste memory/CPU (e.g. a pythonGTK based solution probably would)
  • support for IMAPS, and should check the host TLS certificate
  • configurable poll intervalls
  • should not distract too much
  • nice interface

Nice to have:

  • optional configuration of a user defined action (executing an external command)

3 Answers 3


hey you can always write your own!

import imaplib
M = imaplib.IMAP4_SSL('imap.gmail.com')
if (M.login('YOU@gmail.com','PASSWORD')[0] != 'OK'): exit("no conn")
c = (M.select('Inbox'))[1][0]
if (c != '0'):print c

you can emit this into dmenu or another wm notification tool

  • Yeah, see my answer :) Jan 11, 2011 at 21:57

I am now using Trysterobiff. It is a non-polling IMAP mail notifier for the systray. It implements the requirements, including the execution of external commands and does not crash.

I've written it using Qt, thus Trysterobiff is quite portable. The non-polling operation is implemented using the IDLE extension of IMAP, i.e. you are immedialtely notified of new mail (in contrast to a polling approach).


Have looked at gnubiff? I use it under GNOME for file mailbox, but it supports IMAP too.

  • 1
    I've tried it a few minutes ago and the 2.2.10 version in Ubuntu 10.04 segfaulted after 20 minutes - plus, the system tray symbol was flickery, when a window-button in the task bar was redrawn (the network-manager applet does not have this problem) Dec 2, 2010 at 15:07
  • Hm... had not any problem with it for half a year now. YMMV, as always. You may try building from latest sources, and/or report the crash.
    – alex
    Dec 2, 2010 at 15:18
  • sure, using an already packaged version of some biff clone is just more convenient ... Dec 2, 2010 at 16:32

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