Home Linux Tips & Tricks How To Enable Activate Linux Watermark Notification In Linux Desktop

How To Enable Activate Linux Watermark Notification In Linux Desktop

The "Activate Windows" Watermark is ported to Linux.

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 2.2K views

In an attempt to stop piracy of Windows OS, the Microsoft developer team has come up with an idea to place a watermark in the corner until the users legally purchase a license and activate the Windows OS.

If you're running a pirated Windows copy in your system, you should have noticed the "Activate Windows" watermark notification in the lower bottom corner as shown in the below screenshot.

Activate Windows Notification
Activate Windows Notification

Fortunately, the Linux users will never get such notifications. Because GNU/Linux is an entirely free, open source operating system, released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Anyone can run, study, modify, and redistribute the Linux source code, or even sell copies of their modified code, as long as they do so under the same license.

Since Linux is open source, there is nothing you can do with Linux operating systems. There are a whole of things you can do in Linux.

Be it a fun project or an enterprise-grade application, you can build and run almost anything under Linux. Even it is possible to add the "Activate Linux" watermark as well.

What is Activate Linux?

A few days ago I came across a fun project called "Activate Linux". It is very similar to "Activate Windows" notification that you see in a non-licensed Windows OS.

The developer of Activate Linux has recreated the "Activate Windows" notification watermark for Linux with Xlib and cairo in C.

This will show a watermark on your Linux desktop and notify you to go to settings to activate your Linux distribution! Cool, yeah?

Enable Activate Linux Watermark

The activate-linux project became very popular in a short period of time. It has already been packaged for popular Linux distributions such as Arch Linux, openSUSE and Ubuntu within a few days.

Arch Linux:

Activate-linux is available in AUR. So you can install activate-linux app in Arch Linux and its variants EndeavourOS and Manjaro Linux using Paru or Yay.

$ paru -S activate-linux


$ yay -S activate-linux


Activate-linux is available in OBS.

If you use openSUSE Tumbleweed edition, run the following commands one by one to install activate-linux:

$ sudo zypper addrepo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:tschmitz:activate-linux/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/home:tschmitz:activate-linux.repo
$ sudo zypper refresh
$ sudo zypper install activate-linux


Activate-linux has a PPA for Ubuntu and its derivatives like Pop!_OS.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:edd/misc
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install activate-linux

On Gentoo and its variants, run the following commands:

$ sudo eselect repository enable vaacus
$ sudo emerge --sync vaacus
$ sudo emerge -av activate-linux

Once installed, simply run it from the Terminal using command:

$ activate-linux

You will now see the "Activate Linux" watermark notification in the corner of the desktop just like in a non-licensed Windows copy.

Activate Linux Watermark In Desktop
Activate Linux Watermark In Desktop

Don't be alarmed! It is harmless. To get rid of this notification, go back to the terminal and kill the activate-linux command by pressing CTRL+C.

I tested this on Ubuntu 22.04 GNOME edition. It works out of the box in Wayland.

Activate Linux is a one of the fun project ever I have come across in a while. I guess it is going to make every Windows switcher feel so much more comfortable!!


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Paddy May 19, 2022 - 11:20 pm

You wrote, “Since Linux is open source, there is nothing you can do with Linux really, that you can’t do with proprietary operating systems.”

Are you sure? You’re saying that you can do anything in a proprietary system that you can do with Linux. I’m not sure that that’s always the case.

Regardless, this was a fun little experiment.

sk May 20, 2022 - 12:09 pm

May be I should rephrase the whole sentence. It is an oversight. Thanks for pointing it out.

Jasper Brannigan May 20, 2022 - 12:13 am

“as well as useless project”

A first impression yes, but if people bother to look at the code, they will learn from a simple example how to put any text they want im whatever font, style, color, and size on to the display background using the Cairo library.

In fact the code provides not just an activate “Linux” caption but the at compile time checks to see if the system is Apple, GNU/Linux, or openBSD and then when runs provides the appropriate caption.

So a fun and useless final product, but a learning opportunity in how to get there and how to apply what was learnt to more useful programs.

sk May 20, 2022 - 12:08 pm

Agreed. I removed the “useless” word.


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