finch: Pidgin’s little brother

Today, we venture into the wonderful world of chatting, without animated smilies. 😆


finch is the textmode version of Pidgin, a multi-protocol chat client. If you’ve used Pidgin, finch will be easy to understand.

Many of the same commands and keys are used between Pidgin and finch, but you might want to look at the finch help pages if navigation between “windows” seems strange.

I regularly use Pidgin but I also use the pidgin-encryption plugin, and there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent for finch.

Either way, if you’re comfortable chatting in Pidgin without specific plugins, you can probably just use an existing .purple folder and it will work with finch. I tried. 😉

I’m torn between this and centerim at times, but until one or the other can encrypt chat messages, I’ll have to stick to the graphical version.

5 thoughts on “finch: Pidgin’s little brother

  1. darkstarsword

    I just want to add here that the default UI model of Finch is pretty horrible – it basically recreates a whole window manager, complete with floating, movable and resizable windows inside curses. Urgh!

    Fortunately, it is possible to switch that model out for one which resembles irssi with the contact list down the left hand side of the interface, the chat windows taking up the entire remaining space, and using alt+number to switch between windows. It’s not perfect, but it’s way more usable than the default model.

    To enable this, add this to your ~/.gntrc (create it if it doesn’t exist):
    wm = /usr/lib/gnt/

    I also add mouse = 1 to enable the experimental mouse support.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Thanks for that. I agree that the design is a little awkward at first, but once I got the arrangement under control I was okay with the “floating window” model.

      I’ll try the irssi tweak and see how that goes. Cheers!

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