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15.5.1 Standard alerts

Thirteen alerts are already written for all four alert categories. These all obey the result from the corresponding message function.

The beep alerts simply sound the terminal bell by calling ding. They are disabled by default.

The echo alerts display a message in the echo area by calling message. They are enabled by default.

The switch alerts switch to the buffer where the event occurred (chat buffer for incoming messages, roster buffer for presence changes, browse buffer for completed queries). They are disabled by default. Take care when using them, as they may interrupt your editing.

The display alerts display but do not select the buffer in question, using the function display-buffer. See Choosing a Window for Display, for information about customizing its behaviour. This is enabled by default for info requests.

The wave alerts play a sound file by calling play-sound-file. No sound files are provided. To use this, enter the names of the sound files in jabber-alert-message-wave, jabber-alert-presence-wave and jabber-alert-info-wave, respectively. You can specify specific sound files for contacts matching a regexp in the variables jabber-alert-message-wave-alist and jabber-alert-presence-wave-alist.

The screen alerts send a message through the Screen terminal manager1. They do no harm if called when you don't use Screen.

The ratpoison alerts send a message through the Ratpoison window manager2. They do no harm if used when you're not running X, but if you are running X with another window manager, the ratpoison processes will never exit. Emacs doesn't hold on to them, though.

The sawfish alerts send a message through the Sawfish window manager.

The wmii alerts display a message through the wmii window manager.

The xmessage alerts send a message through the standard xmessage tool. The variable jabber-xmessage-timeout controls how long the alert appears.

The osd alerts send a message onto your screen using XOSD.3

The libnotify alerts send a message onto your screen using notification-daemon.

The festival alerts speak the message using the Emacs interface of the Festival speech synthesis system4.

The autoanswer alert is kind of special: it will not show you message/muc alert, but instead will automaticaly answer to sender. See variable `jabber-autoanswer-alist' description for details.

Additionally, for one-to-one and MUC messages, there are scroll alerts (enabled by default), that aim to do the right thing with chat buffers that are visible but not active. Sometimes you want point to scroll down, and sometimes not. These functions should do what you mean; if they don't, it's a bug.

Also, in MUC you can use a family of so-called “personal” alerts. They are like other MUC alerts, but fire only on incoming messages addresed directly to you (also known as “private messages”). One example of such an alert is jabber-muc-echo-personal, which shows a note for an MUC message only if it was addressed to you.

Some of these functions are in the jabber-alert.el file, and the others are in their own files. You can use them as templates or inspiration for your own alerts.


[1] See

[2] See

[3] XOSD can be found at You also need osd.el from

[4] See