Notification plugins

Notification plugins are one of the first things I enable in a Fink distribution. They provide notifications of most Fink operations, such as installation or removal of packages. The command

fink plugins

lists the notification plugins Fink knows of. In order to use a notification plugin, add/edit the NotifyPlugin entry in /sw/etc/fink.conf. For example, to enable both Growl and XTerm, the NotifyPlugin entry in /sw/etc/fink.conf should look like this:

NotifyPlugin: Growl XTerm

Notice that if several plugins are listed in NotifyPlugin then they must be separated by blank spaces.

Let’s take a look at the available plugins.


Growl is a notification engine for Mac OS X used by numerous applications: Adium, Colloquy, Cyberduck, Firefox, Skype, and Transmission, to name a few. In order to use it, you need to install Growl and also the Fink package mac-growl-pm. This package has variants depending on Perl’s version. You may run

/usr/bin/perl --version

to find out what’s your system Perl’s version. For example, on OS 10.5 Perl’s version is 5.8.8, hence the package mac-growl-pm588 should be installed. Add Growl to NotifyPlugin in /sw/etc/fink.conf in order to use it (in fact, Fink automatically uses it if mac-growl-pm is installed).

Growl notification plugin

Growl notification plugin


QuickSilver is a multipurpose application that includes a launcher and several automations. Add QuickSilver to NotifyPlugin in /sw/etc/fink.conf in order to use it. However, QuickSilver version β54 (3815) on Mac OS X 10.5 (and probably 10.4 too) has a bug that prevents the notification plugin from working (QuickSilver’s developers have specified a non-valid scripting definition in Quicksilver.sdef, resulting in its notification command not having optional parameters).


say is a Mac OS X command-line program that synthesizes speech. If you want Fink to actually tell you what it’s been doing, add Say to NotifyPlugin in /sw/etc/fink.conf!


The syslog plugin uses /usr/bin/logger to log Fink actions to /var/log/system.log. Add Syslog to NotifyPlugin in /sw/etc/fink.conf in order to activate it.


This is a special plugin that sets the title of your terminal window with information on what Fink is doing. It is more verbose than the other plugins and particularly useful when several packages are being installed. Add XTerm to NotifyPlugin in /sw/etc/fink.conf in order to use it.


XTerm notification plugin

XTerm notification plugin


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s