about empathy as the default IM application

Jordan Mantha laserjock at ubuntu.com
Tue Jun 16 21:19:26 UTC 2009

On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 1:19 PM, Ken VanDine<ken.vandine at canonical.com> wrote:
> Personally I don't see anything about empathy that is worse than pidgin.
> Empathy has the plus of being extremely well integrated into GNOME and
> the telepathy framework opens up such huge potential.  Sticking with
> Pidgin keeps us locked in the corner, we could be so much cooler if we
> can get out of that corner.  I agree there are a few addons for pidgin
> that some users depend on, that aren't available for empathy.  But the
> default empathy has all the features most of our target users need.  If
> you really need OTR, you can install pidgin.  Same for any of the other
> plugins that you might actually need, but the 95% case doesn't need
> those.

I don't use OTR, video, voice, and do use just a few Pidgin plugins.
However, beyond telepathy-idle's rather poor IRC support, empathy also
has a distinct lack of tunability or flexibility it seems. Telepathy
seems all the rage to get nifty new technology (geoip and tubes for
instance), but it doesn't seem matched terribly well with similar
thought in the Empathy UI. I want to see the same sort of potential we
get from Telepathy in the backend from Empathy in the frontend.

For instance, I'm wanting to have a character count with my input box
so that when I use Empathy for microblogging I can see when I hit the
140 char limit. This is clearly a corner case, though perhaps a fairly
common one, and pidgin doesn't have it either except as a 3rd party
plugin. The problem is that even though there was a fairly quick
response from developers in bugzilla, I also saw the following [0]:

    "Sounds like it's time to get a plugin API for Empathy."

If it's true that there isn't a plugin API for Empathy then it makes
it harder for it to be flexible and offer options for a broader
audience. Tweaking the UI to suit your preferences or add in
potentially useful features shouldn't be an "advanced user" thing,
especially since IM clients can be used for so many different purposes
and protocols.

I've been hearing "Empathy has huge potential" for almost 2 years now
and yet I've seen very little change to the UI. It's still a stripped
down IM client with crappy IRC support and annoying notifications.

That's not to say that we shouldn't default it for Karmic, I think we
should. I just don't think we should kid ourselves into thinking we're
switching because Empathy is, at this moment or even by Karmic's
release, a much superior IM client. The only concrete reasons I've
seen are that we can drop ekiga and not have to deal with Pidgin
upstream (or lack thereof) so much.


[0] http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=570164

More information about the Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list