Wednesday, 15 April 2009

4 IM Clients for Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope - Overview

This article is an overview of 4 most popular IM clients available on Linux, and particularly in the upcoming release of Ubuntu, Jaunty Jackalope. I included only graphical applications here, but I'm sure I'll make a review of several command-line clients in the near future too. I also decided not to include Sim and KMess, since currently they only offer versions for KDE3.

aMSN (Alvaro's Messenger) may just be the most popular client for the MSN protocol, with an interface which resembles the MSN Messenger interface from Windows. aMSN offers a wealth of configuration options, allowing you to customise it to look just the way you want. By default it comes with six plugins, but many more can be downloaded and used. The same applies for skins, which you can fetch from the official website, then uncompress them into the ~/.amsn/skins directory. aMSN also provides webcam support.

aMSN 0.97.2

Pidgin is the default IM client in GNOME (and Ubuntu implicitly). It is a universal client and supports protocols like Yahoo!, MSN (WLM), AIM, Jabber and it can be used even as a basic IRC client. I liked that it seems to support Yahoo! better than Kopete does. Pidgin comes by default with various plugins, to mention a few: history, mouse gestures, Nautilus integration, text replacement, and even a contact availability prediction plugin (hardly useful in my opinion but... at least it's available).

Pidgin 2.5.5

The default client for IM in KDE3 and KDE4, Kopete, just like Pidgin, offers support for all the major protocols out there, including Yahoo!, Jabber, IRC, WLM or Gadu Gadu. One of the minuses I found with Kopete is that it won't allow to send mass messages to a group which members are offline and it sometimes has problems setting your avatar so that others can see it. I don't know whether this is the protocol which changes or Kopete's fault. Although not Kopete-unique, one of the features I love is the ability to set a message queue and to be notified of new messages by flashing the system tray icon. It also allows tabbed-chat, so you can have a single opened window for all the active chats. Kopete comes with great support for a huge number of emoticon themes, which can be installed directly from within it using the website. It has support for plugins, including history, now listening plugin, spell checker or translator. The big minus regarding Kopete, at least for me, is that it seems not as intuitive at it should be, and sometimes the configuration options and the way you have to work with it is at least weird. Still, it is the client of choice for KDE.

Kopete 0.70.2

Emesene is a client for WLM (Windows Live Messenger), featuring an extremely simple and easy to use interface. It comes with plugins like a spell checker, support for sound notifications, take screenshots and send them using the /screenshot command, conversation logger and a playing status which supports many audio players, including Amarok 1.4, Amarok 2, Rhythmbox, Banshee, Audacious or MPD. Emesene is a perfect GTK alternative to aMSN and Pidgin for MSN users.

Emesene 1.0.1


Anonymous said...

Where is Empathy? That is the now default IM client in GNOME...

Anonymous said...

Empathy currently sucks. It needs a lot more development.

Anonymous said...

Disagree on the suckage of the Empathy IM client. I personally prefer Gajim for Jabber, though.

Attila said...

Pidgin is not the default im client for GNOME, just for Ubuntu.

Joey said...

mpathy now supports webcam and audio, and emesene crazy (i.e not the version found in the ubuntu repo's) also supports webcams and better compatibility with WLM network.

Juz sayin'!

Patrick said...

Keep an eye on Synapse as well. Currently in alpha but looks promising.

Laurent said...

For YMSG (Yahoo! Messenger Protocol), I'm currently using Pidgin.

Somebody know something better, or is Pidgin really the best for YMSG?

Swapnil said...

GyachI is the best alternative of YM for GNU/Linux platform. It supports all of YM features including, webcam, photo sharing, file transfer and much more. I don't know why Pidgin and Kopet can integrate such imp things.

I suggest use GyachI so the its development continues.

Anonymous said...

is there a alternative skype solution out there?

Conejo251 said...

> is there a alternative skype solution out there?

I've started using Ekiga recently. There's also the Gizmo Project, Linphone and Qutecom (formerly Wengophone), and Google Talk. Note that none of these can interface with Skype for free, though with some work and money you can make it happen (Skype's protocol is proprietary and closed), but that a lot of them can talk to each other.

Tom said...

I will try GyachI. Thanks for tip. Pidgin and Kopete are a pain now with Yahoo messenger.

Kevin said...

Kopete is actually my favorite... chat clients occasionally drop me while I'm online, i'm not really sure why... (I know that this happens because I can't IM myself and people I've talked to tell me about missing parts of conversations)Kopete is the only one that tells me that I have gone offline so that I can fix the issue.