Archive for the 'Pidgin' Category

Pidgin-Webkit works! (on Linux)

So basically, there’s this other libpurple based client on that other platform, called Adium, which uses webkit as the IM rendering backend and allows for tons of crazy message styles that really make the IM client a more unique and aesthetically appealing program. These days, webkit is being used everwhere, from desktop browsers such as Safari and Chrome to smartphone OSes like iPhone OS X and Android. It seems that webkit is in general easier to embed into other applications than gecko, which is kind of a shame in my opinion, but I suppose if something works better for certain purposes, it makes sense to use it.

Some time ago, one of the pidgin developers, Sean Egan, decided to try and embed webkit into Pidgin and then use Adium’s message styles. He got it into a working state, the results of which can be seen here, but it was kind of left out for the public to see and never got integrated into Pidgin proper, since I assume the code was somewhat hackish. Of course, as this was a very exciting development, eventually someone else picked it up and developed it a bit.

The latest pidgin-webkit source can be found on launchpad, a site run by Canonical that is similar to Sourceforge, Google Code, github, etc. You can check out the source using bzr and after installing the proper development headers for pidgin and webkit, the plugin actually compiles, and you can use it! Under Ubuntu at least the proper headers are found in packages nicely labeled libwebkit-dev and pidgin-dev. After installing the dependencies you just do a make and then make install to get the plugin installed into Pidgin. You can then use it as you would any plugin, and you just put the Adium messagestyles folders into $PURPLEHOME/message_styles.

Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten it to compile on Windows yet, which is my primary OS at the moment, but I’m working on setting up a Pidgin cross-compile environment in a VM so I can try to compile a Windows .dll, which would be the height of awesomeness. I think if I have free time I would love to actually look at the plugin and try to continue development, since the last guy working on it seems to have become too busy.

Oh, this is the homepage for Pidgin-webkit.


Cool Summer of Code Projects for Pidgin

It looks like Pidgin is going to be getting two of the features that users often ask for, and I personally am pretty happy about these features as well. The Google Summer of Code project pairs college students with open source projects and Google pays them for working with the project, and some very interesting things result.

The first project which caught my eye was the Theme Improvements project. This project basically aims to give Pidgin theming capabilities, which will be awesome and I hope this works out. Many people use bloated clients like Trillian because of its theme support, so I hope this attracts many new users in this way.

Another guy is working on finally adding Voice and Video support for XMPP to Pidgin. This is probably the biggest project for Pidgin currently, because going from strictly text chat to voice and video is a hue leap, and I hope this project works out as well.

It seems like a lot of people currently love to bash the Pidgin developers for not working on features they wouldn’t use and have no time to implement, so it’s great to see that students who do have the time and motivation to do these things are getting them done, because it’s not fair to expect the developers to work on whatever users want if they don’t use those features themselves. The beauty of open source is that people have the ability to add features they want, but it seems like a lot of the more vocal Pidgin users don’t believe this at all.

Finally, another guy, completely unrelated to the GSoC program, is working on adding a Facebook chat protocol plugin to Pidgin, which is awesome. Currently it can only send messages but not receive them, and it seemed like my friends would log in and out every few seconds, but once it works it would be great.