Those looking to use Facebook Messenger on the Linux desktop need to try Caprine. It is a privacy-centric, third-party Facebook Messenger app for Linux, Mac, and Windows. It mimics dozens of official Facebook Messanger features found on other platforms while adding in a nice user interface and extra things too.
The Caprine app works on virtually every Linux distribution via AppImage, and on Ubuntu or Debian with a downloadable package. To install this program, open up a terminal window and enter the following commands depending on your Linux distribution.
Users of Ubuntu and Debian get lucky with Caprine, as the developer makes a nice, native package to install. Sadly, even though Caprine is easily installable via the package manager, there’s no PPA or third-party software source to enable for regular updates. Keep in mind that with each update, a new package will need to be manually installed.
Installing the latest version of Caprine on Ubuntu or Debian starts out by using the wget tool to download the DEB file.
Once the Caprine DEB package finishes downloading, use the dpkg tool to install it to the system.
sudo dpkg -i caprine_2.16.0_amd64.deb
Using the dpkg tool to install packages sometimes can end poorly, due to errors. These errors mean that the package couldn’t automatically satisfy all of the programs needed dependencies. To fix this, run the fix command and correct the dependency issues.
sudo apt install -f
With the dependencies corrected, Caprine should work nicely.
Need to remove Caprine? Remove it via the Apt/Apt-get package manager:
sudo apt remove caprine
sudo apt-get remove caprine
Using Caprine on other Linux distributions is possible, though there aren’t any native packages to speak of (aside from the Debian one). If you’re on Fedora, OpenSUSE, Arch Linux, Gentoo, etc., you’ll need to install the app via AppImage.
Going the AppImage route is understandable, as it is tedious to generate native packages for many different Linux operating systems. Overall, it’s not that big of a deal, as Caprine will still make a native shortcut in the application menu, and run like a normal program.
To get the Caprine AppImage, open up a terminal and use the mkdir command to make a new AppImage folder. Then use Wget to download the file to the AppImage folder.
mkdir -p ~/AppImage cd ~/AppImage wget https://github.com/sindresorhus/caprine/releases/download/v2.16.0/caprine-2.16.0-x86_64.AppImage
Next, update the Caprine AppImage so it has the correct permissions. Without correcting permissions, Caprine will fail to run.
chmod +x caprine-2.16.0-x86_64.AppImage
Close the terminal and open up the Linux file manager. In the file manager, navigate to /home/username/AppImage/. In the AppImage folder, double-click on Caprine. As you click on the Caprine file, a prompt will appear. Click the “Yes” option in the prompt to finish the installation.
A new “Caprine” logo will now be launchable via the Linux application menu on the Desktop.
Caprine is a desktop application that requires access to Facebook to work. In the app, fill out your Facebook email address and password. Alternatively, it is possible to sign in with a phone number instead since you’re going to use the app to access Facebook Messenger on your Linux desktop. Facebook Messenger works with both a Facebook account, or just a phone number so your sign in option is tied to how you use Facebook on your phone or in your browser.
Upon logging in, the Caprine app instantly makes active Messenger conversations available. To chat, select a conversation and start typing.
Hiding the contacts side-bar in Facebook messenger is not possible on the web-version, for whatever reason. Thankfully, it is possible to hide it in Caprine quickly, by pressing Ctrl + Shift + S.
Alternatively, it’s possible to hide the sidebar, without the keyboard shortcut by going to “View,” and selecting the “Hide sidebar” option.
An excellent feature the Caprine chat app has is “Dark Mode“. With this feature enabled, chatting with Facebook friends (especially late at night) on the Linux desktop is much easier on the eyes.
Turning on dark mode with the Caprine app is quite easy. To do it, select the “View” menu button and click “dark mode.”
Caprine makes chatting with Facebook friends easier on the Linux desktop because it offers up a native experience for Linux users, rather than a clunky web interface. To improve this experience even further, consider allowing the app to automatically open when the system starts up.
Enabling autostart is a great idea for chat applications, as people often forget to open them after logging in. Set up autostart in Caprine by opening up a terminal. In the terminal window, use the mkdir command to make a new autostart folder. Then, add the startup entry.
mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart cp ~/.local/share/applications/appimagekit-caprine.desktop ~/.config/autostart
Need to disable autostart for Caprine? Do the following: