Installing Pidgin in Linux from Source

pidginAs many Linux users know by now, Gaim has been renamed for a second time to Pidgin due to legal issues with AOL over the use of ‘AIM’. Many distros of Linux operating systems still distribute the popular messenger client in older versions that are still under the title Gaim. I’m not the kind of person to use outdated software, so updating to Pidgin was one of the first things that I did when I made the move from Windows Vista to Ubuntu. I found the task to be a bit more lengthy than I had intended.

Most distros have communities that contribute packages that can install applications in a one step process by gathering all dependencies that are needed and installing them with the application. However, the great site that I’ve found for Debian packages seems to have a few packages lagging behind. I can’t have that. Who wants to install an older version of software than what is currently offered on the applications official site? Unfortunately there are no Debian packages available from Pidgin. That is not a problem! First things first:

  • Go to your Add or Remove application and completely remove anything associated with Gaim.
  • Open a terminal and install the following dev packages with the following commands (*The following terminal commands are for APT software package management systems. To use these commands with a different package manager you need to edit the syntax accordingly):
    • sudo apt-get install libglib2.0-dev
    • sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev
    • sudo aptitude install libnss-dev
    • sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev
  • Go to and download the source package.
  • Extract the source package and navigate to the folder that the files were extracted to in a terminal window.
  • You now need to configure and build Pidgin from the source files. Use the following commands in the terminal window to successfully configure Pidgin for your platform:
    • sudo ./configure
    • sudo make
    • sudo make install
  • Pidgin should now be successfully installed on your computer! You can now delete the source files that you downloaded from

If you experienced any problems while trying to follow this guide, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to help out. Always use to search for error messages before seeking help from others. Your questions are most likely already answered somewhere!

2 thoughts on “Installing Pidgin in Linux from Source”

  1. IceWeasel IceWeasel Debian GNU/Linux Debian GNU/Linux
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20080129 Iceweasel/ (Debian-

    Thanks for the guide!
    I have a debian Etch 40r3 system, (mostly KDE in my case), and had to use a bunch of disable switches when running the ./configure command – it wanted alot of libraries that weren’t on my system.
    Example: (as root from inside the pidgin-2.4.3 directory)

    ./configure –disable-screensaver –disable-startup-notification –disable-gtkspell –disable-gstreamer –disable-meanwhile –disable-avahi –disable-dbus –disable-tcl

    That’s after I installed the XML parser and Perl libraries.

    apt-get install libxml-parser-perl
    apt-get install libperl-dev

    Without the guide you posted here, and the good documentation during the ./configure stage of the pidgin install, I would not have pidgin running on my Debian system. Which would be odd – since I already had it on my XP system!

  2. Internet Explorer 8.0 (Compatibility Mode) Internet Explorer 8.0 (Compatibility Mode) Windows 7 Windows 7
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; .NET4.0C)

    my daughter has a elonex onet+ netbook which from ‘googling’ I found out runs on linux debian. However we cannot connect to msn via pidgin, something about a protocol issue. I looked on the pidgin site and downloaded an updated version of pidgin (2.7.3 I think it was) but we cannot figure out how to install it. Being a windows user myself, I am really struggling with the netbook. Can you help in simplistic terms?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *