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How To Add Facebook Messenger Chat On Linux With Pidgin IM

Long ago, Facebook used XMPP for their chat. This protocol made connecting user profiles to chat clients (especially on Linux) very easy. A couple of years ago, the social media company ditched the old chat protocol for their own solution. As a result, the old ways to connect to connect Facebook Messenger chat broke to external clients broke.

This is why users had to come up with new plugins to integrate Facebook Messenger accounts with chat clients. One such plugin is Purple-facebook. It’s a replacement for the old Facebook Messenger chat integration and works very well with the new system. In this article, we’ll explain how to install this plugin on the Linux platform, as well as how to use it in Pidgin (and other chat clients that support Pidgin plugins on Linux).

Install Purple-facebook

There are many ways to install the Purple-Facebook plugin on the Linux platform. Building it from source is pretty difficult because the instructions aren’t very clear. The plugin has enough support in the community that there are binary installers available. Choose an operating system below, and follow the installation steps.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu has many different installable binary packages for the Purple Facebook plugin, thanks to the OpenSUSE build service. To install it, you’ll need to use the wget tool. In these instructions, we cover the 17.10 plugin. It should work with Ubuntu 18.04+. Using 16.04? Check this link for downloads to other versions of Ubuntu.

wget http://downloadcontent.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/jgeboski/xUbuntu_17.10/amd64/purple-facebook_20180323~ef6ae47~9ff9acf9fa14~145_amd64.deb

When you have the latest Deb package, use the CD command to move to the ~/Downloads directory. Using the dpkg tool, install the plugin.

sudo dpkg -i purple-facebook_*.deb

This should install the plugin. If there is a problem resolving dependencies, run apt install -f. This will fix any issues.

sudo apt install -f

Alternatively, install with the Ubuntu software center by opening up the file manager, double-click on the Debian package and clicking the “install” button.

Uninstall the plugin with:

sudo apt remove purple-facebook

Debian

The instructions for Ubuntu are very similar to Debian, and building the plugin from source is very confusing for the Debian Linux distribution. Unfortunately, there isn’t a packaged version of the plugin in the official software sources. Luckily, in the Suse OBS, there are packages for various versions of Debian. In this tutorial, we’ll be covering the installation procedure for Debian Stable (9.4 Stretch), as it’s what most people are using.

First, use the wget tool to download the Purple Facebook package.

wget http://downloadcontent.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/jgeboski/Debian_9.0/amd64/purple-facebook_20180323~ef6ae47~9ff9acf9fa14~145_amd64.deb

From here, you can open the Deb package with the Gdebi package installer, click “install” and get it working. Alternatively, use the terminal and CD into the ~/Downloads folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Use the dpkg command to tell Debian that it should install the plugin package.

sudo dpkg -i purple-facebook_*.deb

If you see an error in the terminal that says “error”, or something like that, run apt install -f to correct the issues.

sudo apt install -f

Want to uninstall the plugin? Try this command.

sudo apt remove purple-facebook

Arch Linux

The Purple Facebook plugin is included in the official Arch Linux software repositories. Be sure that the Community section is enabled in your pacman.conf file. Then use Pacman to install it.

sudo pacman -S purple-facebook

Arch users can remove the plugin with:

sudo pacman -R purple-facebook

Fedora

sudo dnf install purple-facebook

Remove the plugin from Fedora using DNF remove.

sudo dnf remove purple-facebook

OpenSUSE

Earlier in this tutorial, we talked about using the OBS to install Purple-Facebook on Debian and Ubuntu. In the Suse section, the OBS is relevant again. Except this time, you won’t need to use wget to download anything. To install the Purple-Facebook plugin on any current version of OpenSUSE, follow the link to the download page, and click “1 Click Install”. From there, YaST should take care of the rest!

Build From Source

If the only way you can install this plugin is by building the source code, you’ll need to read the directions, to learn what dependencies are required for installation. The code for the plugin is on Github.

Using Purple-facebook With Pidgin

The PurpleFacebook plugin works very well with the Pidgin chat tool. To use it, make sure you’ve got the latest version of Pidgin IM installed (just search for “pidgin” on your Linux OS of choice and install it, if it’s not already there.) When the program has been correctly installed, open it, click “Accounts”, and then “Manage accounts”.

In the manage accounts area, click “Add account”. This will bring up an “add accounts” window, with several options. Look for “protocol” and click the drop-down menu. Find and select the “Facebook” option to show the sign-in options.

The Facebook login prompt asks the user for a “username” and password. To find your FB username, go to your Facebook profile and copy the URL. For example, if my URL is: https://facebook.com/derrik.d.4, I’d enter “derrik.d.4” as my username. After putting in a user, enter your Facebook password.

Note: if you’d like to add an alias so that Pidgin shows your real name in chat, and not your username, type in your name in the “alias” section.

When Purple Facebook is correctly connected, your FB friends will show up in the Pidgin buddy list. You’ll be able to chat with them right from the Linux desktop.

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