Tag Archives: Pidgin

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

Pidgin Has No Sound In Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon

For some reason, Pidgin, which is included in Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, has no notification sounds even though other applications do play properly. Whether I selected Automatic or ALSA as the output method, no sounds would play. Here’s how I fixed it.

  1. In Pidgin, select Preferences from the Tools menu (or press Ctrl+P)
  2. Click on the Sounds tab
  3. In the Method drop down list, select Command
  4. In the Sound command text box, enter the following: aplay %s
  5. Select an event with an assigned sound from the Sound Events list
  6. Click the Test button. You should now hear the notification sound
  7. Click the Close button

Aplay is the command-line ALSA sound player. I tested it on the command line and it played audio files just fine. So, it also works in Pidgin.

Create Custom Smiley Themes for Pidgin

It’s easy to create your own smiley theme for the Pidgin instant messaging client. For all the details, see the Smiley Themes wiki page at Pidgin’s developer site. Here’s a crash course.

In the Pidgin profile directory called .pidgin (the location varies by operating system), there is a subdirectory called smileys. In there is a subdirectory for all the smiley themes that are currently installed.

To create a new theme, make a new directory inside the smileys directory. Then put all the smiley image files (PNG or GIF format) inside. Finally, create a text file called theme. This is where you’ll define all the smileys.

The format of the theme file is similar to the old Windows .ini file (remember those?). There are multiple sections separated by a section heading in square brackets as shown below.

smile.gif :) :-) (: (-:
sad.gif :( :-( )-: ):
bigsmile.gif :D :-D

yahoo_angel.gif o:-) O:-) 0:-)
yahoo_angry.gif X-( x-( X( x(
yahoo_batting.gif ;;)
yahoo_bigsmile.gif :D :-D :d :-d

The section heading indicates for which instant messaging network the smilies apply (default applies to any network that isn’t already defined). Then, each line below the heading is the name of the smiley image file followed by one or more examples of the smiley text that Pidgin will look for to do the substitution. You can even add your own if people you chat with use a different combination of characters to represent a particular smiley.

Note that if you install a smiley theme and you don’t get any smiley images for some protocols, check the theme file to see if it has a section for that protocol. Chances are that it doesn’t. So, you can either create a section for it, or add a section called default that contains the smilies that you want to appear for any unspecified protocol. Be sure to put the default section above any others.

Restore the Original Smilies for Pidgin

Do you use the Pidgin instant messaging client (formerly known as Gaim)? If so, don’t you wish you could get back all the old smilies, especially the plethora of animated ones for Yahoo! Messenger (YIM)? Well, you can!

Thanks to Bobby Voicu’s post, How to Use Yahoo and MSN Smilies in Pidgin, I downloaded and installed the Original Yahoo & MSN Emoticons 4 Pidgin from Gnome-Look.org and they’re all in there! After downloading, simply open the Preferences dialog in Pidgin, click on the Smilie Themes tab and drag-and-drop the file into the list. Ah, so nice!