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Pidgin Internet Messenger Lets Me Use Multiple IM Clients Simultaneously

June 6, 2008 2 comments

If you’re looking for a messaging solution on your Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron desktop, take a look at Pidgin Internet Messenger formerly known as GAIM. Pidgin is available on Windows, Linux, BSD, and other Unixes. This multi-protocol instant messaging application allows the use of AIM, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr. While using Pidgin Internet Messenger users can access all of their accounts at the same time. So if you have one friend that uses Yahoo and another that uses MSN, you can talk to them both at the same time. This makes accessing and managing multiple email/instant messaging accounts faster and much easier.

Pidgin Internet Messenger includes many of the commonly used features like file transfer, away messages, and typing notification but it also carries its own unique line of features like Buddy Pounces which can send a message, play sound, or run a program upon specific users going away, signing on, or return from idle. Pidgin also has a terrific plugin selection that includes text replacement, a buddy ticker, iconify on away, spell checking, tabbed conversations, and many more.

On the Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron desktop you can open the Pidgin Internet Messenger through the Gnome 2.22 main menu under Applications — Internet. After selecting the Pidgin Internet Messenger you should see the welcome screen. At the bottom you can add accounts with the Add button, modify accounts, delete accounts, or close Pidgin. Click on Add as it is the only option available on the first time opening Pidgin.

Under the Add Account window we need to enter the protocol or service we want to connect to, screen name, password for that account, and local alias. You may select the option to remember your password for the account, new mail notifications, or use a buddy icon for this account. Click the Save button at the bottom when you’re finished.

Plugins can be easily managed from selecting Tools — Plugins once you’ve opened Pidgin. The Purple Plugin Pack originally created by Gary Kramlich and Stu Tomlinson is a collection of ever growing lists of simple Pidgin plugins available.

If you’re a Mac user looking for the same type of internet messaging program features give Adium a try. With Adium you can connect to any number of messaging accounts on any combination of supported messaging services and then chat and IM other people using those services and their features.

Also take note of Finch which supports the same networks as Pidgin Internet Messenger but is a text only version and can be run in the console window. Finch continually mirrors Pidgin’s features including account settings. Finch also allows the extension of the application through plugins.

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