May 17 2007

Pidgin on Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

Pidgin 2.0 (formerly known as Gaim) has been out for a couple weeks now, and I wanted to try it out. I haven’t upgraded to the latest Ubuntu yet, so the normal convenient installation procedures do not apply. There’s probably an apt repository or deb file somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. So it was time to compile from source. This was made a little more complicated because I wanted to use Pidgin with Google Talk (aka GTalk), which requires SSL support.

Here are the steps that I took to build and install Pidgin on Ubuntu 6.10 (aka Edgy Eft). Maybe it will save time for somebody else in a similar situation.

Disclaimers: Your mileage may vary, since I might have some prerequisites already installed that you do not. There might be an easier way to do this, and I stopped optimizing as soon as I got something that worked for me.

1. Get the source bundle from the Pidgin download site

2. Extract the contents

tar jxf pidgin-2.0.0.tar.bz2cd pidgin-2.0.0

3. Install some prerequisites

sudo apt-get install \
     libglib1.2-dev \
     libglib2.0-dev \

sudo apt-get install \
     libnspr-dev \
     libnspr4 \
     libnspr4-0d \
     libnss3 \
     libnss3-0d \
     libnss-db \
     libnss-dev \
     libssl0.9.8 \
     libssl-dev \
     openssl \

(Thanks to the Ubuntu forums for tips on the SSL library packages)

4. Configure the build

Override defaults pointing to older versions of GLib and GTK, then generate the makefiles and other build configuration.

export GLIB_LFLAGS=-lglib-2.0 \
export GLIB_CFLAGS="-I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/glib-2.0/include" \
export GTK_LFLAGS="-lgtk-x11-2.0 -lcairo -latk-1.0" \
export GTK_CFLAGS="-I/usr/include/gtk-2.0 \
                   -I/usr/lib/gtk-2.0/include \
                   -I/usr/include/cairo \
                   -I/usr/include/atk-1.0" \
export pango_LIBS=-lpango-1.0 \
export pango_CFLAGS=-I/usr/include/pango-1.0 \

Add a “–prefix=DIR” option to the configure command if you prefer to specify a custom installation directory.

5. Build the software


If that doesn’t work, redirect the output of “make” to a file and search for the string “errors:” to see what went wrong:

make > OUTPUT 2>&1

6. Install the software

sudo make install

If you ran the configure script with a custom prefix option pointing to a directory that you can write to without root privileges, then you can run “make install” without the “sudo”.

7. Done

So that’s it. If you are upgrading from Gaim 1.5, all of your configuration will be copied from the .gaim directory to .purple in your home directory. Your log files will also be moved, but a symbolic link will point from the .gaim/logs directory to the .purple/logs directory.

More about the name change from Gaim to Pidgin:

Pidgin project leader Sean Egan describes the new name in an interview with Ars Technica:

“We like the name,” Egan told me. “It was the second choice we all really liked. We were thinking up linguistic terms, and someone mentioned Pidgin. Another developer commented that ‘corrupted language’ may not be the best thing to associate yourself with, to which another pointed out something along the lines of ‘have you ever SEEN people talk on IM?’”

“We all felt that was a pretty valid point, so the name stuck,” continued Egan. “It’s a corrupted language, much like that used by IM users, it’s caused by people talking different languages (or protocols) with each other, and it sounds like a bird known for carrying messages across long distances.”

Also, AOL agreed to stop threatening the project with legal action if they changed the name.