Ultimate Geek Stuff | Centerim | Command line chat client | Yahoo Messenger and Gtalk

The command line plays an important part in the everyday life of a Linux Geek. Hardcore Linux Geeks prefer to have a command line equivalent for all the famous GUI applications. At present the most preferred way to communicate online is using a “CHAT” app which usually has a GUI frontend. No wonder Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger are so successful. Still wouldn’t it be cool if you could chat via the command line? What could be more geekier than that?

If you want to compile it manually you can download it from http://www.centerim.org/download/releases/. The latest stable version of centerim is 4.22 and it is maintained by the CenterIM community. After installing it, go to the terminal/terminator and type Centerim in it. Your chat client will open up and you should see something like this.



Adding An Account

Since you have opened Centerim for the first time, you need to add an account. As mentioned earlier it supports multiple protocols. To add an account press ‘g’ for the general menu and then select “Accounts”. You will see something like this


If you are a Yahoo user choose the Yahoo account protocol, MSN users choose the MSN protocol and so on. Adding a Google account is quite tricky. A Google account can be added through the Jabber messaging protocol. Centerim is fully compatible with the Jabber protocol. Just fill in your relevant details as you can see in the screenshot and you are all set to be….well…….chatty.


After setting up the account, just press “s” (for status) and say choose online. You settings will get loaded and all your online friends will be shown on the side just like the below screenshot.


Just select one of them, type the text and press “Ctrl+x” or “^x” to send your chat. Every time a contact comes online or a message is received , you will hear a very feeble sweet sound too as a notification. What if you want to chat with the multiple people at the same time. Here comes the tricky part. Press escape two times and then select the another person. This is a limitation of Centerim that we can do multiple chatting within the same window but developers are working on it and this feature is expected to be released in CenterIM5. You can press “ctrl+n” or “ctrl+p” to cycle through the chat list. You can find out the suggested key-bindings for the use of the Centerim at the bottom of the window screen


DrawBacks – There are certain drawbacks of this client which should be kept in mind while using it-

  1. You cannot do multiple chats within the same window
  2. Obviously smiley’s and animations won’t work in Centerim.
  3. You cannot access the Google chat protocol directly.

So give Centerim a try and proclaim to the world that you are an Ubuntu geek. :):)

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