The Linux operating system has gone through a number of "default" chat applications. From the earlier text-based chats like zicq, to the later Gaim, then to Pidgen (still in use), and now (and, hopefully, finally) GNOME has settled on Empathy.
Empathy is a messenging program built upon the Telepathy protocol which is based on Gossip. With the help of Telepathy, Empathy can easily communicate with other GNOME applications, for a seamless, integrated desktop experience. Empathy supports: Multiple protocols, file transfer via XMPP and local networks, voice and video support, limited IRC support, conversation theming, sharing of location, conversation logging, and much more. In this article I will walk you through the installation and setup of Empathy.
Empathy is quite easy to install. But before you go on with the attempt at installing, you should first check your Applications > Internet directory for the Empathy entry. If it's there, you need not bother with the installation. If it is not there, continue on with this section.
To install Empathy follow these steps:
No you will find Empathy in Applications > Internet.
Adding your first account
When Empathy is open click on Edit > Accounts to open up the accounts editor. In this window follow these steps to create a new account:
Once you click the Connect button you will be immediately taken to the main window (see Figure 1) where your buddies (if you have any) will all show up.
Empathy should behave precisely as you would expect it. After you create your account(s), one of the first things you can do is edit the personal information for each account. You can change your alias as well as your account avatar for each account you have configured. To do this click on Edit > Personal Information which will open up the PI Window (see Figure 2). You can change the information for different accounts by selecting the account to change from the drop down. To change the Avatar, simply click the icon button and locate a small image to use.
Connecting to IRC rooms
You can do away with your IRC client by using Empathy. To connect to an IRC room follow these steps:
A new window will open dedicated to your IRC chat room.
One of the issues you might come across with Empathy is that you can only send files to buddies on Jabber, Google Talk, and People Nearby services. All other accounts are out of luck.
Empathy is an outstanding chat client that can be used for multiple and various services. Give it a try and you'll find yourself never going back to your old client.
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