Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Facebook Chat for Pidgin


Update:

Facebook have added Jabber/XMPP support to their Facebook Chat protocol so now we don't need any plugins for Facebook in Pidgin/Adium/Empathy! Find out how to add a Fb account here. This renders the following tutorial obsolete!


I like Facebook quite a bit, it means I can keep in touch with my brother in Japan and see what all my friends have been upto, wherever they might be. The one thing that annoys me though is Facebook Chat. It hardly seems to work most of the time and you have to have the web browser open, meaning you need to keep flicking between tabs to hold a conversation and do whatever you are doing in other tabs. You can put Chat in it's own window, but that doesn't solve the other problems. I kept wondering why they didn't just make it available in other messaging programs.

Thankfully, when reading an article on messaging programs I discovered a Pidgin plugin for Facebook. And it's great! It allows you to add Facebook as just like another messaging protocol like MSN or Yahoo! It features options to show Facebook updates as email alerts, edit Friends from within Pidgin and set your Facebook status with your Pidgin status (I'm not sure you would want 'I'm not here right now' as your Facebook status, but there you go).

Of course Pidgin is cross-platform, running on Windows and Linux, and theres a portable Windows version for USB stick. If you have a Mac, you can use Adium, which is based on Pidgin and has the Facebook plugin already installed.

On Ubuntu 8.0.4 you need to install libjson-glib - download it here - before you install the Deb package. On Ubuntu 9.0.4 libjson-glib is in the it's repositories so no need to manually download/install it. If Pidgin is already open restart it, then got to Accounts --> Manage --> Add and it lists facebook alongside the other protocols. So I'm pleased I now no longer have to have Firefox open on the Facebook page to chat to friends on Facebook :)


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