Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ubuntu Instant Messaging

“FWIW IM is a GR8 way to communicate, BICBW.” If you can read that, you are one of the many people adept at communicating via instant message. Instant messaging (IMing) works through a little program that runs on your computer, allowing you to chat in real time with another computer user anywhere in the world. Unlike chat rooms, instant messaging happens between two people rather than a large group. For young people, instant messaging has become a common form of communicating. For the business world, instant messaging allows for communication and collaboration.

Users of Ubuntu have the ability to install any number of instant messaging programs on their computer. While many of these can be installed through the Add/Remove tool, a program called Pidgin has been preinstalled on Ubuntu so that users can start IMing their friends right from the start.

Pidgin is actually a multiprotocol instant message client. Common instant message programs like ICQ, MSN, AIM, and others can only communicate with computer users who are running the same program. For instance, someone using ICQ can only IM other ICQ users. Unfortunately, most people use more than one instant messaging program. It is not uncommon for a person to have an ICQ account, an MSN account, an AIM account, and a Yahoo! account. Pidgin, a multiprotocol client, allows users to manage all of their accounts from one client.

Pidgin gets its name from the term pidgin used to describe a mixture of languages that develops from neighboring countries to allow for trade.

Start Pidgin by selecting Applications | Internet | Pidgin. If this is the first time you have opened Pidgin, you will be alerted to the fact that no IM accounts have been configured. Click Add to get started configuring Pidgin.

After clicking Add, you are brought to the Add Accounts screen. The first step in adding an account is selecting the protocol to be used. The Protocol menu allows you to select what IM service you are setting up your account for. For instance, if you are adding an MSN account, select that from the protocol list.

You can add more protocols to Pidgin at any time by going to Accounts | Manage |
Add from within the Pidgin Buddy List window.

After you have selected the protocol, you need to provide your Screen Name, Password, and Local Alias that you use for your instant messaging service. You can also select the Remember Password option if you do not wish to have to supply your password every time you use the protocol. If you have forgotten any of this information, you may have to log in through the client provided by your service to find it. The Add Account window has an Advanced tab that allows you to change the port number for your IM protocol and to change the proxy options. If you are setting this up at home, you probably won’t have to worry about the Advanced tab. If this is something you are installing at work, check with your network administrator to see if these are the right settings.

Once you have added an account to Pidgin, you can log in and start communicating. If you are new to instant messaging, you need to first add some buddies to your list. To add a buddy, you will need his or her screen name. Once you have that, go to Buddies |
Add Buddy. If you look over the Buddies menu, you can see that from here you can also add a group to better organize your buddy lists, show different information about your buddies, sort your buddies, and get information about other users. To send a new message, simply go to Buddies | New Instant Message. You will need to enter the name of the person you wish to IM, and then you can send your message if they are online. Since instant messaging oftentimes takes the place of a phone conversation, emphasis and tone can be communicated as well. When sending a message, you can use the Smile button to bring up various emoticons that can set the tone for your message. Emoticons are extremely popular when sending IMs.

From the Tools menu of the Pidgin Buddy List, you can set your preferences for how Pidgin operates, add plug-ins for Pidgin, set privacy options, and even transfer files to your buddies. So if there are no further questions, TAFN!

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Osborne Media How to Do Everything Ubuntu

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