Pidgin now supports audio and video

One of the “I thought it would never come” moments in the open source software industry would be audio and video support in Pidgin. Now it is here! Almost… Windows is not yet supported.

With the release of Pidgin 2.6.1. audio and video is finally supported in the xmpp protocol (used by GTalk). I have to say I haven’t tried it yet since my default IM client is now Empathy (already having audio and video support), which will be the default multi-protocol IM client for the Ubuntu 9.10 release.

Hurray for the release of the new feature! I’m pretty happy for it since it might place a dent in the market share Skype has for VoIP and could make Pidgin more popular for Windows users in comparison to other proprietary solutions.

Using Twitter with Pidgin

The eco-system around Pidgin is fantastic, below is yet another cool plug-in tip for it.

Pidgin-Twitter plug-in works with Linux and Windows for you to get back into posting to and receiving notes from Twitter (also works well with Identi.ca too!). Steps to get it working:

  1. download and install the plug-in the plug-in;
  2. go to Pidgin menu under Tools > Plug-ins you’ll find Pidgin-Twitter to activate and configure;
  3. place your username / password and define a couple of other options (such as show users’ avatars)
  4. Add a buddy to your GTalk account called twitter@twitter.com and choose to display it even when it is offline.

You’re good to go! Open the chat window for the buddy you just created and instantly it’ll display your messages.

A tour of Empathy IM client

[Linux – Gnome Only] Listed on the roadmap to Gnome 2.24 is the integration with Empathy, a multi-protocol IM client. This integration could be a sign of a replacement for Pidgin and Ekiga with one single SIP and multi-protocol IM application.

For this article I tested Empathy to see how it works and if it is better or worse then Pidgin (currently my favorite IM client).

Installation:

I searched through Synaptic and was able to find Empathy and Telepathy so I installed from there. But, the version I found was really really outdated (I hate when that happens). So, after searching for some help information, I discovered this nice forum post that mentioned I had to add another Software Source to my Ubuntu:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/telepathy/ubuntu hardy main

After this, I was able to get the latest Empathy 2.23.6.

Adding Accounts:

My options are not as vast as Pidgin but I was able to find the main IM protocols like AIM, MSN, GTalk, Yahoo! The added bonus was that I could also add SIP accounts.

After all of the accounts were added, the UI looked very much similar to Pidgin’s:

I ran into some problems connecting to a couple of my accounts. Empathy kept asking to access the Keyring default password, which I had long forgotten. But, after troubleshooting that everything worked well. I’m not sure if this was something I did or some bug in the program.

Features:

Let’s start with what Empathy currently doesn’t have: file transfers, pop-up notifications (like Guifications), API or extensions structure, and a good website with help information. The program feels a bit incomplete, under development.

Now for the good news: with Empathy you can use video and voice! Personally I use IM strictly for text, for audio and/or video I use Skype. But, quite a few people (such as my wife) would really like to use A/V with her MSN contacts. Although the A/V capabilities are awesome, in Empathy it is only working now with GTalk / Jabber protocols (at least for me), and I’m sure with SIP protocols it’ll also work well.

I couldn’t use audio / video since none of my close contacts were online to test, but here is a screenshot from Empathy’s website to demonstrate how it would look:

Personally I’m really glad A/V is being integrated. Hopefully other protocols will be supported soon.

Overall, I liked what I saw and tested. I think Empathy will be a good addition integrated in Gnome, but currently it still needs a bit more work.

Based on the above (and your own experience if you`ve tried it out), would you think Empathy is ready to take over Pidgin?

Pidgin’s new 2.4.1 version released

Pidgin is on a fast development track and just came out with their new version 2.4.1. There are several updates, such as:

  • Pidgin logoAdd support for setting buddy icons on Gadu-Gadu (Tomasz Salacinski)
  • Fix incorrectly marking some Yahoo! contacts as blocked
  • Increase XMPP ping timeout to 120 seconds, to prevent poor network connections from timing out unnecessarily.
  • Fix for displaying channel & buddy names in conversation window when they have ‘&’ in them
  • Some memory leak fixes, especially in the Text Replacement plugin
  • Rectangular but non-square buddy icons have rounded corners in the buddy list.
  • And other crash fixes.

Download it now from the site.

Update – Pidgin now 2.4

After a week offline due to health reasons, we’re back! Apologies to our readers 🙂

PidginPidgin,  the milti-platform, multi-protocol, instant messaging client has released its version 2.4.0. There were several updates and bugfixes implemented, such as:

  • Added support for offline messages for AIM accounts
  • Support for Yahoo! Messenger 7.0+ file transfer method
  • Input text area in conversation windows auto-resizes to fit more lines (up to a maximum of 4 lines)
  • Typing notifications are now shown in the conversation area

For a list of the complete changes, please check the change log. Enjoy!

MSN client aMSN

I’ve recently had to tweak two Windows computers because they were acting too sluggish. When I checked the processes running, I found several MS Live apps running and also when searching on the list of programs installed, there were several more MS programs installed. Microsoft really tries to push their products. Which is why I really don’t like to use their tools, even freewares.

aMSN is a MSN instant messaging client (aka Live Messenger) that you can install and run without noticing a difference from the proprietary original software. It works on Linux, Windows, and MacOS X. Although I use Pidgin for IM, I have aMSN installed in case I need to use a webcam or audio with someone on MSN.

You can see through the visuals that the program is really quite simple to use. Take a look first at the log on window:

amsn log on

Once you’re logged in, the main contact window is quite clean and straight to the point.

amsn contact window

Finally, through its chat window you can see all the main and important functions are present such as webcam, audio, file sharing, and more.

amsn chat

aMSN also rocks from its plugins architecture allowing you to go beyond the standard functionalities such as: an inline translator, spell check, games, auto-replace, and lots more.

Best of all, no annoying Microsoft intrusion to download more applications.

Like I mentioned previously, Pidgin meets my needs 99% of the time. What about you? Do you use voice and/or video with your IM clients often?

Instant Messengers, unite! (with Pidgin)

Pidgin logoOver the years I’ve created several email accounts and shared them with some friends and family to be in touch through Instant Messengers (IM). Being online for each account meant I had to open 4 different programs, each for one specific IM (AOL, MSN, Google Talk, Y!IM).

That was before all before I found Trillian, a proprietary program. It has a free version, I’ll give credit to that but the application was starting to slow down my computer a lot. That is when I switched to the open source Pidgin, formerly known as Gaim.

 Pidgin

Pidgin is fast, simple to use, and cross-platform so I can use it on Linux or Windows computers. With it I’m constantly logged on to my 5 IM accounts. It hasn’t crashed on me once. Another nice thing about Pidgin is you can add plugins to increase its potential even further (encryption, message notification, new email notification, etc etc etc.). The list of plugins is pretty big but my favorite and most essentials are Guifications and Extended Preferances.

Pidgin chat window

The only negative side of Pidgin is that you can not chat with voice or video, you can only use text. Making it clear, this isn’t Pidgin’s fault, the ones to blame are  the other proprietary messengers that have closed programming codes.

Many Linux distros already have it installed, for more info and download please visit their website. You can also add it to a USB pen drive with Portable Apps with to carry your messenger with you.