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How To Use Pidgin Plugins In Empathy Chat On Linux

Empathy IM is a great app with a lot of great features. However, it is severely lacking in the plugin department. Luckily, it’s easy to power-up Empathy by allowing it to load in Pidgin plugins. In this tutorial, we’ll go over how easy it is to enable Pidgin plugins in Empathy. Using plugins with this app is all possible thanks to the Telepathy Haze plugin.

Pidgin Plugins In Empathy

Follow the instructions below to learn how to install it on your Linux distribution.


The Telepathy Haze plugin is in the Ubuntu software sources and has been there for a while. To install the Purple (Pidgin IM) plugin handler to Ubuntu Linux, open up a terminal window and enter the following command:

sudo apt install telepathy-haze


Debian has the Telepathy Haze plugin in software sources, though it may be older than other Linux distributions, as Debian is slower to update packages. This shouldn’t affect Pidgin plugins, but be aware of it.

sudo apt-get install telepathy-haze

Arch Linux

Arch Linux is always up to date, so users will be able to always get the absolute latest version of Telepathy Haze on their Linux PC. Install it with Pacman:

sudo pacman -S telepathy-haze


Fedora, like Arch Linux, is fairly recent and enjoys newer packages than most operating systems. This means Fedora fans will be able to install the absolute latest version of Telepathy Haze.

sudo dnf install telepathy-haze


Depending on what version of OpenSUSE you use, your version of Telepathy Haze may differ. To install it, open up a terminal and enter the following command.

sudo zypper install telepathy-haze

Building From Source

Telepathy is in use on virtually every Linux distribution, so there shouldn’t be any issue finding a package for it. Open up a terminal window, search for “telepathy-haze” and install it. Otherwise, follow these instructions to build the plugin from source.

First, download the latest version of the source code.

curl https://telepathy.freedesktop.org/releases/telepathy-haze/telepathy-haze-0.8.0.tar.gz > telepathy-haze.tar.gz

Using the Tar command, extract the files from the archive.

tar -xzvf telepathy-haze.tar.gz
cd telepathy-haze-0.8.0

Using the cat and more commands, read through the included INSTALL and README files. Look over them, and learn about any dependencies you need. Also look out for other instructions outlined in these documents, like compiler settings specific to your operating system, etc.

cat INSTALL | more

cat README | more

Next, run the configure script and allow it to scan and set up the environment for Telepathy Haze to compile in.


Configure will scan your Linux PC for dependencies, and error if they are not installed. Do your best to install them. You may need to check pkgs.org for packages.

If everything looks good, build and install Telepathy Haze:


sudo make install

Installing Empathy IM

After installing Telepathy Haze, you’ll need to install the Empathy app itself. Like Telepathy Haze, it is very well supported so there shouldn’t be too much issue installing it.


Empathy has long been included with Ubuntu. However, if your installation doesn’t have it, installing it is as easy as:

sudo apt install empathy


Debian ships with Pidgin for its instant messaging needs. That said, Empathy can easily be installed via apt-get.

sudo apt-get install empathy

Arch Linux

Like Telepathy Haze, Arch users are able to get the latest version of Empathy directly from the software repositories. Install it via Pacman:

sudo pacman -S empathy


Fedora may already have Empathy installed, as it uses a lot of Gnome programs. However, if you’re using an alternative desktop on Fedora, or can’t find Empathy, install it with DNF:

sudo dnf install empathy


Need to get Empathy IM on OpenSUSE? Grab it with the Zypper package manager:

sudo zypper install empathy

Other Linuxes

Empathy is a large program. As a result, building it from source takes a while. Luckily, the Gnome project has a detailed guide that shows exactly how to build their instant messenger software. Head over to this page here and follow it. Once you’ve installed the Empathy client, return to the guide to learn how to install Pidgin plugins in Empathy.

Installing Pidgin Plugins In Empathy

The best part about being able to use Pidgin plugins in Empathy IM is the fact that users don’t need to do anything special while installing. Instead, just follow the normal instructions for installing a Pidgin plugin, and Empathy will find the file and load it.

Note: Pidgin plugins can be found here.

In this example, we’ll go over how to install the RocketChat Pidgin plugin. First, install the correct dependencies required to build the plugin.

Note: in this example, we show the dependencies for Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora. For information on other distributions, refer to the official guide.


sudo apt install libpurple-dev libjson-glib-dev libglib2.0-dev mercurial make libmarkdown2-dev


sudo dnf install libpurple-devel.x86_64 libmarkdown-devel.x86_64 json-glib-devel.x86_64 glib2.x86_64

Using the hg tool, download the RocketChat plugin source code:

hg clone https://bitbucket.org/EionRobb/purple-rocketchat/

CD into the cloned purple-rocketchat folder on your PC and run the make and make install commands to install the plugin.

cd purple-rocketchat


sudo make install

If the plugin installs successfully, and Telepathy Haze is working, you should be able to see RocketChat inside of “Accounts” in Empathy.

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