Empathy, Adium, Geolocalisation, Desktop sharing, and File transfer

Long time without empathy blogpost. Lots of things happened in the Empathy/Telepathy world recently. Here I’ll present 4 new exciting feature of the upcoming Empathy 2.27.3. It will be an impressive release with not less than 49 bugs fixed!


The one year old adium branch got finally merged. This adds support for Adium Message Style themes in empathy. Themes are made of html and javascript, rendered using WebkitGtk. Of course webkit is optional dependency and old style themes can still be used.

Unfortunately all themes are not totally supported yet. Please check our wiki page for more information.


Another long standing branch got merged into Empathy master to add geoclue and libchamplain support. That means that you can now publish your position to your contacts. Your position can be calculater based on a connected GPS, based on your IP, or set manually to a postal address. You can of course tweak Empathy preferences to not publish the exact position for privacy.

If you have contacts publishing their position in your contact list, you’ll be able to see a world map with a marker at his position. The map is rendered thanks to libchamplain and animated using Clutter. Of course the map data is provided by OpenStreeMap.

This was done by Pierre-Luc Beaudoin and he will blog soon with more details and mandatory screenshots.

Desktop sharing

Work has been done to share your desktop with your contacts. This is done by creating a Telepathy StreamTube with your contact and passing the VNC protocol through it. Telepathy StreamTube spec is now undrafted and considered stable.

Guillaume will soon blog with more details about this.

File transfer

And last feature: The file transfer support in Empathy got large improvements. It now support checksum to make sure the transfer succeeded, and soon will support resume.

30 thoughts on “Empathy, Adium, Geolocalisation, Desktop sharing, and File transfer”

  1. The last big thing that Empathy lacks (compared to Pidgin) is the File transfer support for not so uncommen protocols like the ICQ one oder the MSN one. With those in place, I wouldn’t miss any other IM anymore.

  2. One word: impressive!

    I really like how Empathy in shaping up and hope to see it deployed in distributions as the default messenger soon.

    My personal wishlist:
    1.) Meta contacts (!)
    2.) Message encryption…. OTR would be very, very nice
    3.) Maybe helping with 2.): a plugin system to add optional features

  3. I’m not sure if this has been implemented since 2.26.1, but one useful feature that pidgin has is it will show the idle time of a user after x amount of minutes and make their name/status icon lighter (read: washed out). Also just like Michael my number one request also would be meta contacts. Great work on the release though! I’ve read at http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1172151&page=3#22 that Ubuntu 9.10 will come with Empathy by default!!! :-D

  4. Regarding OTR: I understand the explanation that a solution like OTR is not the best, but you have to admit that it is a de-facto standard in IM encryption. That’s why i think it should be at least an option. Much time will pass until the other clients will support native solutions …

  5. zerwas: That means that Empathy/Telepathy teams won’t work on OTR. Of course if someone from the community want to work on that and do the work, we’ll be happy to mentor the project!

  6. Oh i forgot something: The improvements sound and look absolutely fantastic! :D

  7. It’s really sad but I need decent MSN support, simply because everyone I know use that, and use it heavily. You can only be “that guy” for so long before you piss friends and coworkers off instead of just being principled. File transfers, offline messages, status msg(!) and stuff like that.

    Patches welcome and all that, feel free to throw that in my face, not possible, so just informing you one of the things that is needed for this to be the default of anything.

    I do *want* this to be it one that though. It’s got the best idea of them all.

  8. @xclaesse: I was not really aware of a spec like this, is there a draft already? Any idea how long this will take?

    I tended to not agree about the layering=useless part of the FAQ but in the end I have to share with you that all those contacts I currently use OTR with also use Jabber :) Not all of them use Empathy, though (none of them, including me, actually). So this will only be useful if at least Pidgin, Gajim, Psi, Kopete and Miranda support the same extension…

    Hearing that “Lots of users are asking about OTR” is good, though. Hopefully we will see some kind of usable encryption support sooner than later.

  9. There is now only one thing making me keep Pidgin, and that is that Pidgin allows me to not have a tray icon.

    I don’t want to see my status twice, the FUSA-applet is more than enough.

  10. @Michael: As you said, OTR is only for geeks using Jabber. I don’t think anyone else will ever use that. If we push a real solultion for Jabber, transparent for the user, I’m pretty sure all other clients will start implementing it. It’s chicken and egg problem, so let’s create an egg…

    I have no idea when that will be available. Currently nobody is working on that… I see so much people interested in having that, if only one can spent some time in making a patch that will help a lot…

    @frustphil: Pidgin does not support audio/video at all so far… Unfortunately we depend on libpurple (pidgin’s backend) for yahoo protocol, so I don’t think Empathy will support video chat for Yahoo anytime soon…

    @Hans: IIRC, that’s an ubuntu insanity. They patched FUSA to display presence with no reason… Since they are targetting Empathy by default for Karmic, we can hope they’ll fix their mess.

  11. >> Pidgin does not support audio/video at all so far…

    Actually it has, in not-released-yet form. It will make it into the next release

  12. xclaesse: So the tray icon will stay? I was hoping that I could use FUSA for status (keeping Empathy’s own icon out of the tray).

    Or is that not what you are saying?

  13. We can’t remove the empathy tray icon, it is used for events. IMO, fusa is not the way to go, lots of users just don’t need it. Personnally I removed it.

  14. @xclaesse: Do you know if fusa has a project page. google didn’t help me. I see what you’re saying and as of now fusa seems incomplete and I want to try to see the big picture of where they’re trying to go with it.

  15. I am running Ubuntu 8.04. How would I install the latest version of Empathy? Thanks.

  16. @xclaesse: Thanks for that. I added that ppa and it said I had 10 packages to upgrade. I think might leave well alone as this 8.04 is my main workhorse.

  17. Do you know, when the PPA gets updated? Rignt now the PPA holds empathy – 2.27.2-1ubuntu1~ppa9.04+1 for Jaunty. 2.27.3 ist still missing. Thanks!

  18. @Christoph: We push in ppa only backports from karmic. So we are waiting for the package to enter karmic, which takes a bit more time because empathy got moved to main.

    I don’t know exactly when it will be done…

  19. Your post Empathy, Adium, Geolocalisation, Desktop sharing, and File transfer « Xavier Claessens was very interesting when I found it over google on Saturday by my search for geolocalisation. I have your blog now in my bookmarks and I visit your blog again, soon. Take care. Parejaspareja.es

  20. Hi, I’m not sure this is the right place to ask this.. I think typing notification does not work with google talk contacts… is this a bug? I am using Empathy 2.27.3. Thanks!

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