For the past year or two I’ve been working in the cloud. I use Chrome Secure Shell to connect to my machines, and it works rather well. In fact, I moved away from my work Linux/Mac laptops towards an HP Chromebook, which fullfilled both requirements I had: a browser and a terminal. One thing I missed about a Linux machine though is lack of notify-send-like functionality, especially when working with long-running builds.

Yesterday I pinged hterm team for assistance with this matter, and turns out recent release of Secure Shell supports Chrome desktop notifications! Furthermore, two amazing engineers (thanks Andrew and Mike!) crafted an hterm-notify script, which propagates notifications to Chrome, and by extent to desktop!

I made a few tiny changes, mainly since I don’t use screen, and tmux sets my $TERM to screen-256color for some reason:

# Copyright 2017 The Chromium OS Authors. All rights reserved.
# Use of this source code is governed by a BSD-style license that can be
# found in the LICENSE file.

# Write an error message and exit.
# Usage: <message>
die() {
  echo "ERROR: $*"
  exit 1

# Send a notification.
# Usage: [title] [body]
notify() {
  local title="${1-}" body="${2-}"

  case ${TERM-} in
  screen*)  # This one's really tmux
    printf '\ePtmux;\e\e]777;notify;%s;%s\a\e\\' "${title}" "${body}"
  *)        # This one's plain hterm
    printf '\e]777;notify;%s;%s\a' "${title}" "${body}"

# Write tool usage and exit.
# Usage: [error message]
usage() {
  if [ $# -gt 0 ]; then
    exec 1>&2
  cat <<EOF
Usage: hterm-notify [options] <title> [body]

Send a notification to hterm.

- The title should not have a semi-colon in it.
- Neither field should have escape sequences in them.
  Best to stick to plain text.

  if [ $# -gt 0 ]; then
    die "$@"
    exit 0

main() {
  set -e

  while [ $# -gt 0 ]; do
    case $1 in
      usage "Unknown option: $1"

  if [ $# -eq 0 ]; then
    die "Missing message to send"
  if [ $# -gt 2 ]; then
    usage "Too many arguments"

  notify "$@"
main "$@"

Throwing this in as ~/bin/notify (not forgetting to chmod +x and having ~/bin in the $PATH) I can get a notification when a particular long running command is complete:

sleep 30 && notify Hooray "The sleep's done!"