Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Best Pidgin Hacks & Mods

Pidgin is a cross platform chat client which is both free, and easy to use. You can connect to many different networks at the same time. PidginPidgin supports all the major chat networks like AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and also supports a lot of the less well used networks like Myspace, Google Talk & Zephr. Pidgin now also has the support for IRC chat rooms. With a few of these little tweaks and hacks below, it will allow your Pidgin to support a number of different protocols & become the ultimate application for your Ubuntu

Facebook Protocol
This plugin allows you to connect to the Facebook Chat service. Currently the plugin allows you to login, view your buddy list, send & receive messages, add & remove friends, receive notifications, search for Facebook new friends and set your Facebook status!

To download and install this plugin, use the following command:
wget && sudo dpkg -i pidgin-facebookchat-1.45.deb

Once installed, you will need to restart Pidgin. To add your Facebook account, goto Accounts -> Manage Accounts -> Add -> Facebook Chat


Frost Wire IRC Chat
As many of you may know, Frost Wire is the P2P application to have with your Ubuntu distribution. [Post On Downloading, Installing & Using Frost Wire coming soon!] To connect to the built in IRC chat function from within Pidgin, Accounts -> Manage Accounts -> Add - > IRC.
Your user name will be name that you want other people to see you as (In my case, HomeMadeJam). For the server, you will want to use the following:


twitter Yes, you can even update your twitter account from within Pidgin! To do this, you will need to add a set of repositories to your /etc/apt/sources.list file.
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

And add the following if you are using Intrepid :
deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main

or the following for Hardy:
deb hardy main
deb-src hardy main

Now we need to update, and install the pidgin-microblog package:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install pidgin-microblog

After this has installed, restart Pidgin in order for the changes to take effect.
To add a new account: Accounts -> Manage Accounts -> Add


Pidgin Plugin Pack
The plugin pack offers 30 new plugins that are available for Pidgin. Some of the best plugins are:
Album - Gives the ability to save all your contact's avatars.
Auto Reply - Gives the ability to have an auto reply function to all protocols
Last Seen - Records when a contact was last seen
To install:
sudo apt-get install pidgin-plugin-pack

You will need to restart Pidgin before the effects take place


LibNotify Package
This is a handy little plugin that allows a little pop up window to appear when a user signs on or offline. (A lot like the Windows MSN does)
To install
sudo apt-get install pidgin-libnotify

To enable, you will need to restart your Pidgin, and then Tools -> Plugins, and enable it there.


GTK Themes
I have seen many of people across the Internet looking around the Internet for Pidgin themes. I can understand why people would dislike the default look of the Pidgin interface. Personally I like it, But for the people that don't: did you know that you can change the looks of it using a simple plugin?

If you have installed the Pidgin Plugin-Pack above, you will have everything that you need to do this. Under the Plugins window (Tools -> Plugin) enable the plugin Pidgin GTK+ Theme Control Once enabled, click the configure button at the bottom of the window. From this new Window that appears, you will be able to change the color of many things like the cursor, text, hyper-links etc. It also gives you the ability to change the font of the contact window (as the default is a little hard to read at times)


Extra Smiley Themes
To install extra smiley themes, run the following command:
sudo apt-get install pidgin-themes

After restarting your Pidgin, you will be able to select these new themes by:
Tools -> Preferences -> Smiley Themes

If you have any other plugins, hacks or tweaks that you would like to see here, please leave a comment, and I will gladly add them to this list.


  1. You may also want to check out yonkly. It's the first "create your own" microblog to integrate with Twitter:

  2. Nice post. Installed pidgin-libnotify, plugin pack, and extra smiley themes.

    For those who don't want to bother with the libnotify package, you can try Guifications ( It's from the same people who brought you the Plugin Pack.

  3. I'd say the Twitter feature is the most useful.

    By the way, I like the idea of the link exchange. How do you recommend we go about it?

  4. I have linked to your blog. It's in the information panel, under the twitter updates.

    "For more Ubuntu-specific tips, tricks, hacks, and more, see Jam's Ubuntu Blog!" (with link, of course)

  5. I Like the musictracker plugin for Pidgin. More information available at