Due to a problem I’ve been having with centerim and (I think) my MSN account, I’ve decided to give Finch a shot. For the uninitiated, Finch is the console client that comes with the Linux Pidgin package. Since the Debian Etch machine I run my IM client on has no graphical environment, Pidgin isn’t an option but Finch should fill in nicely.
I can’t install using the package manager because Finch doesn’t exist in the default Etch repos (the price of running the stable distro). In reality, I could install it from etch-backports, but it has a lot of dependencies that I don’t want on my system (pidgin & x11 libs among others). This leaves me one option, compile it myself.
- I’ll be compiling Finch 2.3.1 (current version as of this writing). I won’t be compiling Pidgin, so I won’t need to install the development packages to support that program.
- I’m performing a default install, this will put Finch and it’s files into the
- I’m running all of these commands as my regular user, the root password will be required for two steps.
Install everything needed to build the Finch client
su -c 'apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-2.6-686 libxml2-dev intltool libglib2.0-dev gettext libncurses5-dev libgnutls-dev'
Download the source files and extract them (~/src is where I keep my source and build files):
mkdir -p ~/src ; cd ~/src
tar xvjf pidgin-2.3.1.tar.bz2
Run configure; Feeding it the
--disable-gtkui argument tells it that I only want to build the Ncurses client (Finch)
Once the configure script completes, it’ll output Finch’s configuration information (kinda neat to read). I can review it later by reading
Now I build the binaries and install, the
make command will take a while to do it’s job and output all sorts of stuff to the screen. It looks awesome if you’re doing this from your desktop with transparent terminal windows and a dope background. I like to run
top in one terminal and compile in another, then I toss on some 90′s techno, run a small screen visualization and imagine myself doing something cool like hacking the Gibson.
su -c 'make install'
I now have finch running and ready to go. When the next version of Pidgin/Finch is released, all I need to do is go back into the directory I built in (
~/src/pidgin-2.3.1) and run the command
su -c 'make uninstall' to remove the program’s files. Following that,
rm -rf ~/src/pidgin-2.3.1, and follow the whole process again substituting the filename/path where applicable.