Exploring Linux - Part 25
by Alan German
Windows world I have been a huge fan of PC Magazine's
(previously free) NoteWhen utility. This little TSR
program stores message text and displays a reminder in
accordance with a user-specified schedule. I tried
various similar applications in Linux but wasn't
satisfied until I found KAlarm.
Since I use the classic Gnome desktop in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
(Precise Pangolin), and KAlarm is actually a KDE utility,
the use of this program may be somewhat surprising.
However, in the past, I have successfully run other KDE
programs from the Gnome desktop, so I had no problem in
trying out KAlarm. However, this isn't to say that this
particular KDE program worked inside Gnome straight
out of the box it needed a little
First though, let me say that KAlarm has considerable
flexibility and power, yet is very easy to use. At its
simplest, one selects New New Display Alarm,
enters a text message, sets the date and time for the
reminder, and presses OK. Then, when the appointed time
comes around, the text message is displayed on the screen
together with a musical accompaniment.
For those of
us who can readily live without all the bells and
whistles, KAlarm is highly configurable and so it
is a simple matter to go into Settings Configure
KAlarm Edit Alarm Types Sound
None in order to turn of the music. And, under the
settings menu, you will find a whole host of other
options everything from the range of working
hours, to the font and colour to be used for message
One thing that I found puzzling was that, although I had
checked Run Mode Start at Login, and View Settings
General Show in system tray, KAlarm wasn't
actually starting when I booted into Ubuntu.
This appears to be a problem due to using a KDE program
under Gnome. A bug report (Bugs which appear to be KAlarm
bugs but which are actually due to other software) indicates that, under Gnome, a
command such as the following must be used to start
kalarm - -tray
command is included as an optional startup program
(System Preferences Startup Applications
Startup Programs) KAlarm does indeed spring into
action as soon as the machine boots up.
So, with KAlarm running, my whole life is organized with
a series of reminders set to be displayed at the
appropriate times. Now, did I remember to set an alarm
for my wife's birthday...?
KAlarm (Open source)
Originally published: May, 2013
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The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.