Pidgin Received Unexpected Response from AIM and ICQ

Today, my Pidgin IM client started giving the error, “Received unexpected response from http://api.oscar.aol.com/aim/startOSCARSession”, when connecting to the AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) server. Apparently, it can also happen when connecting to ICQ. Fortuantely, the fix/workaround on Windows and Linux is really easy.

  1. Go to Accounts
  2. Modify the AIM or ICQ account
  3. On the Advanced tab, clear the checkbox labeled Use clientLogin
  4. Save

Are you using Adium? It may also have this issue on the Mac. If you’ve solved it, post the steps in a reply.

Update: Alternatively, in step 3, you can clear the checkbox labeled Use SSL

70 thoughts on “Pidgin Received Unexpected Response from AIM and ICQ”

  1. @Droas: Interesting that turning off clientLogin worked better than disabling SSL. Thanks for the info. In what way(s) did it work better?

  2. @Jason Dowdell: I’m not sure what the root cause is. However, I just recalled that there was a Windows Update yesterday too. But, I don’t remember if I updated and rebooted Windows before or after my Pidgin stopped connecting.

  3. Thank you for posting this. It was getting frustrating to have to login to gmail to access my AIM accounts. I didn’t want to actually have to resort to downloading the official AIM app…

  4. Thank you! That’s been bugging me all night. Also, for reference, I definitely started getting the error _before_ installing the Windows Update.

    Excuse my naivety, but what are the repercussions of unchecking clientLogin? I mean, I assume there was a reason that was checked by default.

  5. @Kevin: I believe unchecking the clientLogin tells Pidgin to use a different interface to communicate with AIM servers. From the Trac link that Dan posted, the trouble ticket indicates that Pidgin is requesting a secure connection from a non-secure service URL. It used to work but doesn’t anymore. Sounds like the old server behavior wasn’t quite right (even though the interface docs said it was OK) and AOL fixed it.

  6. Ohhhh, THANK you! This error was driving me crazy for the last week or two, and today I just couldn’t get things to load at ALL… but this has solved everything.