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Setting Up Pidgin

This page contains information about using the Pidgin instant messaging client with Illinois Chat.
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This page describes one or more traditional, individual CITES services that are not part of Unified Communications.

Unified Communications at Illinois provides faculty, staff, and graduate students with an integrated system that offers phone, instant messaging, web/ teleconferencing services and other features.

For more information, see Voice & More with Microsoft Lync.

Introduction to Pidgin

Some of Pidgin's benefits as an instant messaging client include:

  • Free for use on Windows, Mac OS X,  and Linux.
  • Supports Jabber (XMPP), AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpaceIM, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, Yahoo!, and Zephyr chat protocols.
  • Additional features include: file transfer; Away messages;  typing notification; "Buddy Pounces," which can notify you when a buddy comes or goes; and plugins consisting of text replacement, a Buddy Ticker, extended message notification, iconify on "Away," spell checking, and tabbed conversations.


Download the latest Pidgin software for your operating system at the Pidgin Downloads page.


Double-click the installation package that you downloaded and follow the instructions presented on screen.

After installation has finished, you'll have a new Pidgin icon in your Start menu (on Windows) or Applications folder (Mac). You may also have a new Pidgin icon on your desktop.

If you have any difficulty, check the Pidgin Installation FAQs.


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When you start Pidgin for the first time, you will be presented with three windows.

1. In the Accounts window, click the Add button.

2. In the Add Account window's Basic tab , enter the following information:

3. Click on the Advanced tab and enter the following information:

4. Click Save.

5. Your new account will be listed in your Accounts window. Click the Enabled checkbox next to its name.

6. Enter your Active Directory password when you are prompted for your password.

You will then be logged in. Your Buddy List indicates your status (available, away, offline, etc.) and lists any of your friends who are logged in as well.

Adding contacts

To add new University contacts to your Illinois Chat contact list:

1. If your Buddy List isn't visible, right-click on the Pidgin status icon in your toolbar and check Show Buddy List.

2. In the Buddy List's Buddies menu, select Add Buddy.

3. Enter the following information in the Add Buddy window:

  • (If you use Pidgin for AIM, MSN, or other IM services in addition to Illinois Chat): In the drop down list, make sure that your (XMPP) account is selected.
  • Buddy's username: Enter your contact's NetID, in the format
  • (Optional) Alias: Enter your contact's name or nickname.
  • (Optional) Add buddy to group: Select the group you associate this contact with.
  • Show an image of the Add Buddy window.

    Add Buddy window

4. Click Add.

Use this process to continue adding the NetIDs of each person you'd like to communicate with in Illinois Chat.

Setting your account to allow logging in from multiple computers

If you have more than one computer (for example, an office desktop and a laptop or iPhone), you'll want to give each computer a different "resource name." If each computer has a different resource name, when you log in from a different computer, your instant messages will be sent to the computer or device you're actively using at the moment without kicking you out of the account you were signed into originally. This feature is further described in Illinois Chat: Logging In from More Than One Computer.

If you find that you've accidentally assigned the same resource name to more than one computer, you can edit each computer's resource name to be different than the others.

You'll need to be disconnected from the Illinois Chat server in order to make this change.

1. Click the status list at the bottom of your Buddy List and select Offline, or right-click on the Pidgin icon in the toolbar and select Offline under the Change Status menu. (Don't exit the Pidgin program, however.)

2. If your Buddy List isn't visible, right-click on the Pidgin status icon in your toolbar and check Show Buddy List.

3. In your Buddy List's accounts menu, select Manage Accounts.

4. In the Accounts window, select your (XMPP) account entry and click the Modify button.

5. In the Modify Account window (which looks very much like the Add Account window), put a new resource namein the Resource entry.

6. Click Save.

7. Change your status back to Available to log back in to Illinois Chat.


Last updated Sunday, March 4, 2012, 11:59 pm