Remember those birthdays with GBirthday

Jack Wallen
Aug 4, 2010
Updated • Dec 5, 2012

Since today is the birthday of both myself and the US President I thought it apropos to cover a birthday reminder tool for the Linux operating system. There are a few of these tools but only one of them really is worth discussing at any length. That tool? GBirthday. GBirthday is a tool that lives in your notification area and keeps track of the bithdays in your Evolution contacts or your Thunderbird/Icebird, Lightning,  Sunbird/Iceowl events, even CVS files or MySQL databases!

GBirthday is very easy to use and allows you to set up a blinking reminder that allows you to decide how many days +/- to continue reminding you that a birthday is either pending or missed. In this article I am going to show you how to set up and use this wonderful little tool that will keep you from having friends and family upset that you missed their special day.


  • Easily integrates into many tools.
  • Blinking notification area reminder.
  • Released under GPL v. 2.
  • Written in python and pygtk.
  • Tiny footprint.


The installation is simple. As GBirthday should be found in your standard distribution repositories, you can install GBirthday with the following steps:

  1. Open up your Add/Remove Software tool.
  2. Search for "birthday" (no quotes).
  3. Mark gbirthday for installation.
  4. Click Apply to install.

Or, if you're more fond of command line installation, you could follow these steps:

For Ubuntu:

  1. Open up a terminal window.
  2. Issue the command sudo apt-get install gbirthday.
  3. Enter your sudo password.
  4. When finished close the terminal.

For Fedora:

  1. Open up a terminal window.
  2. Su to the root user.
  3. Issue the command yum install gbirthday.
  4. When complete close the terminal window.
Figure 1

After installation, you can start GBirthday by clicking Applications > Office > gbirthday. When the application starts you will see no splash screen or any window open. All you will get is a small icon now resting in your Noticiation Area (see Figure 1). The icon will show a small calendar page with a small orange birthday cake and candle below it (looks more like a pumpkin to me).  If, of course, there are any pending birthdays, that icon will immediately start blinking.


Let's take a look at how this simple tool is used. I will illustrate GBirthday's usage with the Evolution groupware suite. When you create a contact in Evolution there is a Personal Information tab. In that tab you will notice (under Miscellaneous) a section for Birthday information. Fill out the birthday in the form MM/DD/YYYY (or click the down arrow and select the birthday from the calendar that pops up). Once you have filled out all the information click OK.

Figure 2

Now, when there is a pending birthday that GBirthday icon will blink. If you click on that icon a popup window will appear giving you information on the days (or past or upcoming) birthday (see Figure 2).

As I mentioned you can configure GBirthday to remind you +/- any number of days. This means you can get a user-configured amount of days heads up before a birthday is coming or is past. To do this right click on the icon and select Preferences. In the Preferences window you can set 2 options:

Past birthdays: This is a negative number and represents how many days past will GBirthday remind you.

Next birthdays: This is a positive number and represents how many days in the future GBirthday will remind you.

Final thoughts

If your memory isn't what it once was, or you have tons of birthdays to remember, a tool like GBirthday might be just the thing you need. It's unobtrusive enough to not get in your way but persistent enough to make sure you remember those birthdays.


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  1. big brother said on August 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Let’s put all the people we know into a database with a relation to how they are related to us, their name, address, phone number, AND Birthday. Where’s the field for SSN and DNL?

  2. MikeGee said on August 4, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Happy Birthday!

    Maybe I am missing it, where’s the link?

  3. paul(us) said on August 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Happy birthday (number ?) Jack and U.S.A. president 44 with birthday number 49.

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