Monday, January 28, 2013

Fedora 18 notification sound is now a 'drip' noise

One random change I noticed during the F18 cycle was that the default notification noise changed from an innocuous 'bell' sound to a 'water drip' noise. While I turn off all terminal noises, this sound still pops up in Firefox and Thunderbird when a ctrl-f quick search doesn't find a match, and in my F18 VMs with default configuration. And while I'm sure many developers just turn off all sound effects, I find them useful for email and IRC notifications.

This new sound is offensive to my ears, one small step below nails on a chalk board. Unfortunately there is no way to undo this change in gnome-control-center's Sound panel, just 2 choices for the drip noise ('default' and 'drip'), and some other comical choices like a dog 'bark'. Nothing as unoffensive as the previous default. I (just yesterday) filed a bug against control-center asking for a way to restore the old behavior.

However, if you want to revert it in a hacky way, this should cover you until the next time sound-theme-freedesktop is updated:

 sudo wget -O /usr/share/sounds/freedesktop/stereo/bell.oga

<rant>Why this was changed is really anyone's guess. The commit message is needlessly vague. I couldn't find any mailing list posting on freedesktop lists or gnome's desktop-devel-list, nor any bug report that might have spurned the change. The 'bell' noise was just overwritten in place, despite the fact that the new noise is not remotely a 'bell' sound, though I guess the bell name is about the action and not the sound content. The git repo had been unchanged for nearly 3 years, not an issue in itself, just makes the above bits stick out even more. And finally I really don't understand why the most common sound effect on a stock install would be a noise that is an annoyance by nature: a dripping/leaking faucet.</rant>


  1. A water drip is more offensive than a bell? Ok :)

    FWIW, I prefer the water drip.

  2. The dripping sound also makes me go berserk. Especially when working in Terminal and hearing it every several seconds (TAB completion). The sound is supposed to be a gentle reminder of non-important action, so it should be subtle and there should not be a problem to play it many times in a row without the user going mad. The water drip is the opposite - it's very distinctive and alarms my ears every time. I really really hate it.

    Now that we know who's the culprit, let's talk to Jon McCann... I'll share this on GNOME G+ Community and ping him there.

  3. Personally the drip drives me crazy... It's a very harsh noise that's used for any small error, for me it's the equivalent of receiving an electric shock each time you write a typo. It's just a bit excessive.

  4. Well, I have been using 'Glass' sound for last half a year, and it's quite ok :)

  5. The sound just makes me and the people around me crazy. Isn't there any option in gnome3 to disable it (the useless bell)? I did this in lack of any better info:

    sudo mv -v /usr/share/sounds/freedesktop/stereo/bell.oga{,.disabled}

  6. I completely agree, every time i hit [tab] in the terminal i cringe. a softer less obtrusive sound should be chosen. maybe this sound doesn't bother some, but seeing as it does bother others it is clearly not the correct default sound.

  7. I personally think the drip sound is horrible, I recorded some new sounds for the theme and posted them in an upstream bug:

    until it is acted upon, you can use my fork:

    I also made a sound theme chooser utility available under my github account you can use to easily switch sound themes

  8. A reply from Jon McCann:
    mccann: kparal
    mccann: and yes I've read it and I'm not appreciating the pinging

  9. Thank you. The bell was driving me nuts for the exact same reason as kparal.

  10. You all know you can disable the Terminal Bell setting in gnome-terminal, don't you?