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Growl is a global notification system for the Mac OS X and Windows operating systems. Applications can use Growl to display small notifications about events which the user deems important, in a consistent manner. This allows users to fully control their notifications, application developers to spend little time creating notifications, and Growl developers to concentrate on the usability of notifications.
Growl installs itself as a preference pane added to the Mac OS X System Preferences. This pane enables and disables Growl's notifications for certain applications entirely, or selects specific notifications for each application. Applications register a "ticket" with Growl, then send arbitrary notifications which Growl receives and displays. Each notification provides some information, such as: "Download finished," or the name of the current iTunes track. Users can customize the display and turn notifications on and off.
Growl includes bindings for developers who use the Objective-C, C, Perl, Python, Tcl, AppleScript, Java, and Ruby programming languages, and comes with multiple "display plugins," providing different styles for presenting the notifications. Display plugins include visual styles as well as the ability to send notifications via email, SMS, or push notifications. Plugins or scripts exist to add Growl notifications to iChat, Mail, Thunderbird, Safari, and iTunes.
The Growl website lists applications that install Growl without the user's permission. Adobe Creative Suite 5 is one of them. Adobe has published a blog post apologizing for installing Growl on users' systems without permission, and says that they are "actively working to mitigate the problem". Adobe has an article in their knowledge base explaining what notifications CS5 sends and how to remove Growl.
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