Tag Archives: messenger

mcabber: Looking good, in principle

I was looking forward to mcabber, assuming of course that I would have plenty to show in a console-based jabber client.


Unfortunately, that was as far as I got. I checked the documentation I could find, to include the highly endorsed but rather sparse built-in help, but for some reason, never got past mcabber’s eternal “Connecting …” message.

As always, I will take responsibility for this shortcoming. I did pare down the sample configuration file at /usr/share/mcabber/examples/mcabberrc, and there’s probably something in there that I set wrong. It happens.

I would like to spend a little more time with mcabber, and perhaps I will again in the future. I see it comes with built-in OTR support, and I think relying on encryption as a default in chat is a necessity in this new age.

Of course, it might take a little time to figure out why it never “connects.” And unfortunately with 800+ applications still waiting in the wings, time is in short supply. 😦

ircII: The classic, as advertised

ircII is a name that keeps echoing around every time I install an IRC client. Invariably something claims its heritage as, or compares itself to, ircII.

Which made me rather curious to put it to work.


And it’s … well, just as I expected, I suppose. If I stripped away the visual elements of something like epic4/5 or erc, or the colorized arrangements of irssi, or just about any other frill from something like bitchx or frequency or what have you … well, I suppose I’d end up with ircII.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. ircII starts up fine, has most of the command-line options you’d expect, and as advertised, jumps straight into irc.debian.org, and starts spilling the beans.

ircII seems to have a few derivatives available, as evidenced by a quick AUR search. I doubt that list is comprehensive.

A small measure of irony again though: My efforts to build straight ircII in Arch were met with errors. Perhaps one of the offshoots would fare better.

Beyond that, there’s not much I can offer in advice for ircII. It is, as advertised, the classic. Perhaps that’s enough.

ekg and ekg2: The original and its revision

Here are a couple of instant message clients for you. One you might find easy and quick to adopt. The other … you might need to be a polyglot.

2013-10-23-lv-r1fz6-ekg 2013-10-23-lv-r1fz6-ekg2

I can’t help you much with ekg, on the left. This one, like adresownik, probably requires fluency in a second language (I am assuming Polish again?) to get started. And unfortunately, for all my talents, this language is not one of them.

On the other hand, ekg2 is something I can approach. It reminds me a little of centerim, which we talked about not-so-very-long-ago. Not menu-driven, but no less accessible for it.

Most controls seem to be command-driven, which makes it similar to things like irssi or barnowl or climm, and shouldn’t be too difficult to handle if you already live life at the command line. 😉

I think my quest for a text-based instant messenger that handles encryption may be over. The home page for ekg2 suggests it can handle gpg or rot, but it might take some time for me to get it set up. I’ll update if I do.

As a last note I should mention that ekg2 has a GTK interface; that might be important if you want the flexibility of working graphical or text-only.

I think that will do for now. There’s a long list of software out there, and it can’t wait for me to prattle on endlessly. 😐

climm: A teeny tiny message client

Here’s a fun little program … and when I say little, I mean little.


That’s climm, which I apologize for, because I almost passed it right by.

See, I mistook climm for another chat client which was aimed (get it? “Aimed”?! Ha! 🙄 ) solely at the old MSN Messenger. That service closed down this year, which made me think climm was pointless.

I double-checked though, and I’m glad I did, because I was wrong. The climm you see above works great with XMPP/jabber/GTalk and maybe some others.

You can see there I connected right away, and there’s plenty of help to get you started with it.

And color! It has color! 😀

I didn’t go too far with climm, because again, I need encryption any more for my chat sessions. As far as I know, climm doesn’t have that.

On the other hand though, I was surprised by how small the binary is: a meager 580K or so, give or take. That’s slender. There are smaller ones, but that’s not a heavyweight by any stretch of the imagination.

So there you have it. Try it, if something like finch or barnowl or pork ain’t quite got it.

And what was that other program I was thinking of? Beats me. I can’t remember now. 😳

barnowl: A fullscreen, monochrome IM client

Time for another instant messenger. Like I’ve said many times before, the problem with jumping into clients is, unless you’ve got an account for that particular service, there’s not much point.

The biggest, baddest chat client in the world means zero to me if it only runs in a discrete service. 🙄

barnowl, luckily, has access to jabber, so I can show a little more than just a startup screen.

2013-08-20-4dkln41-barnowl-01 2013-08-20-4dkln41-barnowl-02 2013-08-20-4dkln41-barnowl-03

For what I’ve seen, this handles jabber, aim, zephyr and maybe one or two more protocols. I’ve only really looked at the jabber side.

I haven’t seen much color in this, and aside from the ascii owl, no graphical element either. The lower third of the screen is where your commands appear, and the upper part is where replies show.

Startup help is very quick and easy. And pressing the h key gives a whole list of possible commands, in a central box and scrollable.

About the only criticism I have of barnowl, after just a little while working with it, is that it seems like messages could easily get lost at the top. With everything in one color and some bolding here or there, I predict messages could get lost.

Perhaps if you use barnowl you can give me some advice. Because it may be that I just care too much about color in an application. 🙄

bitlbee: IM + IRC = IMIRC?

Most of what I know about bitlbee comes from the home page.

I don’t have much occasion to use bitlbee, mostly because I don’t spend much time in chat channels. I respect them as a viable source of information, but I find them a bit saccharine at times.

That being said, an IM client that splices with an IRC tool is probably quite useful for a lot of people.

I took a little time and tried to set it up today; following the Arch Wiki was a breeze, but once I had it going I realized I didn’t have anyone to chat with. Again.


So I can assume it works like it should, even though I haven’t actually used it. I hear quite a few testimonials, particularly among people who are fans of irssi.

I suppose it works within other chat clients too. Chime in if you have an experience to report.

pork: Going the extra mile

As I have said (probably) dozens of times before, there is a frustration in mentioning console chat clients here.

To wit, if I don’t have an account with the chat service, there’s little point in showing the chat client. Usually I can’t even sign on.

This time I went the extra mile for you and opened an account, just to show pork in action.


Ironic though, that there’s nothing to show for action, since I don’t know anyone who uses AOL’s instant message service. 😛

No matter, you get the idea. pork is quick to set up and uses slash-prefixed commands to do most of the dirty work.

It has a long list of in-game help pages (as you can see) to get you started.

And it uses a lot of colors, so I am quite pleased with it. How did I ever become so shallow … ? 😐

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.