Replace Pidgin and Ekiga with Empathy

Bug #253765 reported by Kẏra on 2008-07-31
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
empathy (Ubuntu)
Declined for Intrepid by Chris Halse Rogers
Declined for Karmic by Sebastien Bacher

Bug Description

I don't think Empathy will be ready by Intrepid, but certainly by the release after that, it should replace Pidgin as the default IM client in Ubuntu.

Empathy has much more potential as it uses Telepathy

Chris Halse Rogers (raof) wrote :

While I think that you are correct, that we should transition to Empathy as the default IM sometime in the next couple of releases, a Launchpad bug isn't really the right forum for suggesting such a change.

The way to proceed here would be to send a mail to the ubuntu-devel-discuss (or possibly ubuntu-devel) mailing list with a comprehensive list of reasons why Empathy should become the default IM client. Note that arguments about the Telepathy framework being better aren't likely to be persuasive on their own - we'll want to know what Empathy *does* that Pidgin doesn't.

Guillaume Desmottes (cassidy) wrote :

I think Empathy is not ready yet to replace Pidigin. We need, at least, file transfer (which should be implemented during the GNOME 2.26 cycle hopefully).

Anyway, desktop mailing or a blueprint is certainly a better place to discuss a futur integration in Ubuntu.

Changed in empathy:
status: New → Invalid
Kẏra (thekyriarchy) wrote :

I already stated that it probably would not be ready by Intrepid but it should be for 9.04 -- in fact i asked and file transfers should be implemented within the coming months

Endolith (endolith) wrote :

Please do NOT replace something with something else until the replacement is actually an improvement. It needs to support all the same protocols, all the same features, be as easy to use, and as stable/bug-free.

Until all of these conditions are met, please don't shove this into a release half-baked. We've seen more and more of this behavior in the past few releases (pulseaudio, xorg), and it's harming Ubuntu's reputation.

Those who are impatient and willing to put up with all the flaws can always install it manually.

Kẏra (thekyriarchy) on 2009-06-27
summary: - Replace Pidgin with Empathy
+ Replace Pidgin and Ekiga with Empathy
Changed in ubuntu:
status: Invalid → In Progress
Kẏra (thekyriarchy) on 2009-06-27
affects: ubuntu → empathy (Ubuntu)
John B. (jbuncher) wrote :

I apologize if this is not the appropriate place for this discussion, but I think the devs should pay very close attention to user feedback during the alpha/beta process for Karmic before making the final decision to replace Pidgin/Ekiga with Empathy. I've tried out Empathy for a few days, and it's just not as good as Pidgin from a usability standpoint, which will hurt with new users of ubuntu. I'm not as concerned with "previous" users, as they'll know that pidgin and ekiga exist, and may install them if they please.

Many of the issues I've encountered are extremely well documented at , and most of the usability issues with Empathy still remain. Personally, I had issues with:

-- the "Create" account issue (does this create a new account on the network or am I adding an existing one to my empathy profile?)

-- the "odd default name" issue (it is not immediately clear how to rename an account from "New AIM Account", there is no "rename" or "edit" button, you just have to double-click)

-- it was not immediately clear whether or not the new username/password combo had been accepted

-- Setting statuses - it was not clear from the main contact list how to set statuses for my accounts (globally or individually), especially if the accounts are offline. I do not think it is possible if the accounts are offline.

-- To turn on an account, (they're not on by default when created), you have to enter the "accounts" menu and click the corresponding checkboxes. This is a horrible UI for people with many accounts that might want to be offline on some, but online on others, given that you cannot set your status individually for each account from the main contact list window.

-- I couldn't even add my most-used msn account (others I had added just fine), after trying several times and logging in to hotmail to make sure I wasn't forgetting the password. As far as I could tell, it's a bug with password length, though it could be something else.

I've read the arguments in favor of Empathy, as far as better integration with the Gnome desktop, and that certainly is compelling. I just encourage those with the power of making the decisions to really spend some time with the application thinking about how a new ubuntu user would rate the experience. Having used ubuntu and pidgin for years, I think that the interface in Empathy falls a great deal short of what it should be, and the confusion and frustration to new users is enough to seriously reconsider having Empathy installed by default rather than Pidgin (I have no objections to both being installed, but I understand that's against policy due to the limited size of a CD).

Brian Curtis (bcurtiswx) wrote :

don't forget the voice/video support. Most of the things you enjoy about pidgin are because theres billions of plugins that make that possible, if you take all plugins out of pidgin, it wouldn't compare with empathy very well.

Another note, is that empathy is still being upgraded and fixed and etc.. as its still a ways away until Gnome 2.28.

Join #telepathy if you get a chance and talk to the devs.

Josef Andersson (northar) wrote :

Does it have otr support and multiplatformsupport?
Otherwise - not ready.

Kai Mast (kai-mast) wrote :

Imo empathy should adapt the look of Pidgin to be able to replace it. At the moment it is just plain ugly

Yannick Defais (sevmek) wrote :


Is there any comparison, feature-wise, between the empathy SIP part (based on telepathy-sofiasip) and Ekiga?

The list of features for Ekiga is available here:

Best regards,

Kai Mast (kai-mast) wrote :

pidgin now supports video/voice too... maybe thinking about undoing this switch?

Brian Curtis (bcurtiswx) wrote :

short answer kai = no.

Yannick Defais (sevmek) wrote :


Can someone answer me why Empathy will still replace Ekiga?
Ekiga is the default client for the SIP protocol in Jaunty and AFAIK the SIP protocol is severely broken in Karmic using Empathy:

SIP calls no longer work (Incompatibility with telepathy-sofiasip)

Empathy do not support NAT for SIP: NAT traversal for SIP using Empathy

SIP/Ekiga accounts don't store contacts

Best regards,

Vincenzo Ciancia (vincenzo-ml) wrote :

As of latest updates, IRC is still at a primitive stage in empathy, and it still violates the various guidelines by flashing in the application bar. It still does not do audio and video calls. The only true reason to switch to empathy right now is to follow what fedora does. But then, why chose ubuntu over fedora? A reconsideration of the switch was promised in earlier stages, but was it done? Where is it?

Indrek Juhkam (innu) wrote :

I'll vote for pidgin.

I tried empathy, but I couldn't find OTR plugin. Also, I wasn't able to merge two of the same contacts from different networks. And since it now has video/audio support, then there is no point of replacing it?

LosD (d-hp23c) wrote :

Empathy is NOT ready for prime time:
a) It keeps switching back to available when set away. I know, it's a "feature", but a damn annoying one, that cannot be disabled.
b) Can't remember status, or set which status is default.
c) The window position isn't reliably saved, switch workspace a few times, and *boom* it's on the left.
d) It's generally incomplete.

Why in the world was this chosen to be default?

In Ubuntu Karmic Beta Ekiga provides a flawless VoiP call. Empathy does not.
This is no reason to drop Ekiga.

Bad idea. Empathy doesn't support neither XMPP Service Discovery nor XMPP Jingle what makes it a bad Pidgin replacement.

Javier Jardón (jjardon) wrote :

I like empathy a lot, thank you for this change!

Artem, Empathy supports jingle (through telepathy); Indeed I can make video chats with my contacts or talk with GTalk friends

Also video support for msn accounts was recently added :)

Kai Mast (kai-mast) wrote :

Javier: yeah but other features miss completely (facebook/otr support) and/or are broken (see ICQ for example) . The gui is just plain ugly. And pidgin does support video now too...

Kai, indeed, ICQ roster features are broken/not working in Empathy - when I add a contact it adds locally only somehow. When I use another client the contact isn't there...

Changed in empathy (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
status: In Progress → Fix Released
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