The Secret to Pidgin on OSX with Gentoo Prefix

OK, there’s no secrets really. It’s just a matter of avoiding potholes and fixing bugs enough so you can work around them.

So, first off, 2.5.7 is the version I use, even though 2.5.8 is out. 2.5.8 has its own set of problems, and if I recall correctly they’re not as easy to work around. Second, I use the following USE flags:

net-im/pidgin prediction perl gtk -ncurses gnutls debug aqua spell
x11-libs/cairo svg
app-text/enchant -hunspell aspell

Pidgin requires cairo with svg, so that’s a no-brainer. Currently ncurses wide-character support is broken, either in Pidgin or ncurses itself, so I avoid that altogether with the “-ncurses” USE flag. Also, if you want a spell-checker, aspell is much more stable than hunspell on Gentoo Prefix right now, and does the same thing. (Besides, other things use aspell more than hunspell, so it’s one less library to install.) That explains the “-hunspell aspell” USE flags.

There’s one USE flag there you may not recognize for Pidgin. It’s “aqua”. This USE flag was put there by me. This is the show-stopper that had be running in circles for quite a while. In order to get proper GTK+ aqua support, you’ll have to patch Pidgin and Pidgin’s ebuild. You can find all the resources you need at the Gentoo bug I made, or in a handily compressed file here, update: or, better yet, in my Gentoo Prefix overlay. With these in your Gentoo overlay, and the proper USE flags above, pidgin will install correctly. Huzzah!

Here is a screenshot from my desktop:

Pidgin with all my favorite plugins

Pidgin with all my favorite plugins

The plugins you see are a different story (as to how to make them work) and will come in a later blog post.

However, the last topic I will cover here is how I got GTK to look so darn good. It’s really quite simple. All you have to do is install one or more GTK engines that provides the feel you want (I chose “gtk-engines-aurora”; some may like the Ubuntu feel of “gtk-engines-human”) and then install gtk-chtheme so you can easily try out the themes and pick the one you want. When you’re done, simply restart Pidgin and it will use the theme you picked.

I haven’t bothered to try to change the default GTK icons yet, since they’re really quite nice, but I’m sure it can be done.

So, as I mentioned, I will write another blog post soon about how I got plugins, normally written for pure Linux, installed and running in Pidgin.

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