Rob Flynn IM: RobFlynn (current maintainer) Syd Logan - Super Hacker and Resident Designated Driver Jim Duchek IM: Zilding (former maintainer) Eric Warmenhoven (retired) Mark Spencer

Gaim is an IM client that supports many protocols, including AIM, ICQ, MSN, IRC, and Jabber. Gaim is NOT endorsed by, nor affiliated with, AOL nor any other company in ANY way.


Read the 'INSTALL' file for more detailed directions.

Gaim uses the standard ./configure ; make. You need to use gmake, BSD make probably won't work. Remember, run ./configure --help to see what build options are available.

In order to compile Gaim, you need to have GTK+ 2.0 installed (as well as the development files!). The configure script will fail if you don't. You can get it from

For sound support, you also need libao ( and libaudiofile ( For spellchecking support, you need libgtkspell ( Your distro of choice probably already includes these, just be sure to install the development packages.


You should run 'make install' as root to make sure plugins and other files get installed into locations they want to be in. Once you've done that, you only need to run 'gaim'.

Protocol plugins (prpls) are now automatically loaded. Simply go to the account editor, add a new account, and all supported protocols will be there. Be sure to use OSCAR (AIM/ICQ) and not the old TOC or ICQ plugins.

Read below for protocol-specific information.


If you do not wish to enable the plugin support within Gaim, run the ./configure script with the --disable-plugins option and recompile your source code. This will prevent the ability to load plugins.

'make install' puts the plugins in $PREFIX/lib/gaim (PREFIX being what you specified when you ./configure'd - it defaults to /usr/local). Gaim looks for the plugins in that directory by default, but they do not have to be there to use them. Also, plugins have a .so extension by default, though they do not have to.

To build a plugin from a .c file, put it in the plugins/ directory in the source and run 'make', e.g. if you have the .c file 'kickass.c', put it in the plugins/ directory, and from that directory, run 'make'.


If you manually set a command for your browser or sound player options, make sure to put double-quotes around the "%s", otherwise bad things may happen.

If you come across a bug, please report it to

See README.CVS for information on the bleeding edge CVS version of Gaim. You probably shouldn't use it, as it may eat your children, as well as your settings.


Each protocol is hacked by both Rob and Eric, though there is one person that kind of "owns" a protocol (mostly indicating that they were the person that originally wrote it). Their name will be next to the protocol; they're the people to complain to when something doesn't work ;).

TOC (Mark)

You shouldn't use TOC, you should use Oscar instead. TOC can sync your buddy list with the server (if it's not too long), and can respond to file transfer requests (both sending and receiving). Other than that, there's nothing it can do that Oscar can't, yet. The TOC protocol doesn't allow retrieval of away messages; isn't capable of sending or receiving buddy icons; it also can't make file transfer requests.

Oscar (Mark)

Oscar is the default protocol. It is recommended that you use Oscar for both AIM and ICQ, as TOC isn't very featureful and the old ICQ protocol no longer works.

For AIM, Oscar can get people's away messages. It can request and accept Direct Connections, and has limited support for file transfer. IM Image does not currently work. It can send and receive buddy icons if you have GdkPixbuf.

For ICQ, it supports nearly everything that the old ICQ plugin supported, which isn't much. To use Oscar for ICQ, enter your ICQ UIN as the screenname. The default host/port will work. You'll need to use a different client to register a new ICQ account if you don't have one yet.

Yahoo (Sean)

Yahoo is currently using the new YMSG protocol that newer official Yahoo clients are using. This protocol is much better than the old one, and tends to be somewhat more reliable. However, the Yahoo service is still flaky at best.

IRC (Ethan)

There are three ways to join an IRC chat room. The first is the File->Join A Chat menu option in the Buddy List window. The second is the "Chat" button at the bottom of the buddy list. The third is to type "/join #name" in an IM window where the "Send Message As" menu is set to your IRC account. There are other / commands that work in IM and Chat windows for IRC, /help will give you a list of them.

MSN (Christian)

With MSN you can join a conversation with several people, but you can't invite people from the IM window yet.

ICQ (Mark)

The ICQ plugin is deprecated and will probably be removed soon. The protocol only marginally works. You should use Oscar for ICQ. You'll need a different client to register an ICQ account if you don't have one yet.

Jabber (Nathan)

Transports aren't currently supported at all, though if you have a transport already subscribed Gaim will use it (you can't add or remove transports though). In order to use a server other than, set your username to include the server, e.g. This is the actual format of the Jabber ID anyway; Jabber is email with online notification. You can register a new Jabber account by checking the appropriate box in the account editor for your Jabber account.

Napster (Mark)

Heh. Ok, so I (Rob) am on crack! Gaim can sign on/off of Napster, add/remove people to your hotlist (buddylist) as well as chat privately and in chat rooms. You can search for files and browse a list of other user's files. You can currently download files as long as the person you're retrieving files from is not firewalled.

Zephyr (Sean)

Let me start off by saying how much I really despise Zephyr. They do a lot of things that make me realize why this never caught on. For those of you who are unfortunate enough to feel compelling need to use this, gaim now has a Zephyr plugin. It can currently sign on/off, handles presence/buddy lists (it even imports your .anyone file!), and can send/receive personal messages. A lot of stuff is missing, this is just a real rough first stab at it.

Gadu-Gadu (Sean)

I really shouldn't be taking credit for Gadu-Gadu, I'm just the person who commits the patches that Arkadiusz Miskiewicz gives me. Gadu-Gadu is an IM system most similar to ICQ that is quite popular in Poland. It can manage your server-side buddy list through the Protocol Actions menu. You'll need to use a different client to register a new account if you don't have one yet.

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