Novell is now a part of Micro Focus

I Want Notify (for GroupWise Cross-Platform Client)

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Danita Zanre

Digg This - Slashdot This

Posted: 27 Jan 2005

The Cross-Platform Client for GroupWise (Linux and Mac) does not yet have a native Notify program. And for those of us who have been using GroupWise for a long time, we have found that living without Notify is almost as bad as the thought of living without GroupWise itself! So, here we will look at ways to get Notification of GroupWise mail on your Linux desktop.

There are a multitude of ?biff? programs out there for Linux (the original email notifier for Unix was called biff, and you will see variations on the name when searching for Linux email notification programs). It is important to realize though, that none of these notification programs have native GroupWise support. In order to use a free Linux notification program, you must have the ability to access your GroupWise account via POP3 or IMAP4. In other words, it is not possible to get this to work if your administrator has not already implemented or cannot implement POP3 or IMAP4 on your system.

Note: There are some products such as Omni-Notify in beta right now that can utilize WebAccess. However, this like POP3/IMAP4 must be enabled by the GroupWise Administrator.

Before we begin, you will need to know a few bits of information:

  1. The protocol (POP3 or IMAP4) that is available on your system.
  2. The server hostname or IP address where POP3 or IMAP4 is enabled.
Sidebar: To POP or IMAP. If you have a choice of POP3 or IMAP4, which do you choose? Understanding the difference between the two, if nothing else, will help you understand your limitations if you only have one or the other available. POP3 treats all mail as equal. Regardless of what folder an email might be filed into (via a rule, for example), POP3 sees it as new mail and will notify you of it. IMAP4, in it's full implementation, can allow users to receive their email from various folders. That means that in most of these biff programs where only one folder can be checked, you will only receive notification of email that is delivered to your ?Mailbox? folder, and not all of your inbound email. For me, I like the IMAP implementation better. I move items to folders automatically to avoid having to see them all at once, and am not really interested in being alerted to those emails. So, just a rule of thumb for the purposes of this article. If you want notification of all email, choose POP3 when available. If you want only your ?Mailbox? folder notifications, choose IMAP4.

Now we will set this up, both under KDE and GNOME.


  1. Click on the SUSE Chameleon, and choose Run Command . . .

  2. type ?kbiff? (no quotes) in the run line. You will see the following window:

    Figure 1 - The initial Kbiff screen

  3. For the most part, these settings are sufficient. Notify will poll every 60 seconds. You can just ignore the ?Mail Client? line. You can put /novell/groupwise/client/bin/groupwise for this value. Understand, however, that all this will do is open GroupWise if you click on the notification button. It will not open the specific piece of email that has just arrived. Also, it will open a ?new? instance of GroupWise, so if GroupWise is already open, you will have two instances running.

  4. Click on the New Mail Tab. Here you can set what happens when KBiff sees new mail. The defaults are shown.

    Figure 2 - The New Mail Tab

  5. If you would like a particular WAV file or other sound played when new mail arrives, you can indicate that here.

  6. Now click on the ?Mailbox? tab. The figure below shows the mailbox tab filled out properly for GroupWise POP3 or IMAP4

    Figure 3 - The Mailbox Tab

  7. When you click on OK, KBiff will authenticate to the mailbox, and then appear in your system tray as in figure 4

    Figure 4 -- KBiff in your system tray

  8. When new mail arrives, the icon will change, as in Figure 5

  9. Figure 5 -- KBiff with new mail


  1. For GNOME, right-click on the system tray (typically upper right, near the clock).

  2. Choose Add to Panel|Internet|Inbox Monitor. You will see the words ?No mail? up on the system tray where the Inbox Monitor has been added.

  3. Right-click on the words ?No mail? and choose Preferences. Figure 6 shows the ?Behavior? tab of Preferences.

    Figure 6 -- The Gnome Inbox Monitor Behavior tab

  4. Here you can change some options as to how the Inbox Monitor looks and behaves when new mail arrives.

  5. Click on Inbox Settings and complete these settings with the information for your mailbox.

    Figure 7: The Gnome Inbox Monitor Inbox Settings

  6. When new mail arrives, you will something like the following graphic.

    Figure 8: The Inbox Monitor

That's all there is to it.

Just remember that there are many ?biff? programs available for linux users. In fact, if you have both KDE and GNOME installed on your PC, you can even run the Kbiff (kbiff) on GNOME. The most important thing to remember, however, is that POP3 or IMAP4 must be available, and only the GroupWise systems administrator can enable those if they are not already available for you!

Novell Cool Solutions (corporate web communities) are produced by WebWise Solutions.

© Copyright Micro Focus or one of its affiliates