July 20, 2012

Kubuntu Looking To Replace Kopete And Is Looking To KDE Telepathy To Bring A Better IM Experience

Announced over at Kubuntu.org, and reiterated on the developer mailing list, the Kubuntu team are looking to replace the long-standing stalwart IM application for KDE, Kopete, with KDE Telepathy. This change is being looked at because of the fact that Kopete is no longer actively maintained, as one can tell just from a quick cursory glance at their website. There have been no updates to the Kopete web page since 2008, which means that Kopete is really not bringing anything new to the world of instant messaging in KDE and Kubuntu-land.

The Proposed Answer

Enter KDE Telepathy. KDE Telepathy is, as you might have guessed, based on Telepathy. As for what telepathy is, it is defined on the Telepathy web page as
a flexible, modular communications framework that enables real-time communication via pluggable protocol backends. Telepathy is a communications service that can be accessed by many applications ("clients") simultaneously.


This allows any application to access presence information, request a communications channel (potentially handled by another client), or collaborate contact-to-contact.
So, by moving to the Telepathy framework, one might guess that there could be many uses for a more flexible framework going forward. One example would be to see a contact's presence in Kontact, for example, and just message them instead of emailing them. For now,  however, the goals have been to meet and exceed the current functionality of Kopete, aMSN, and other Linux oriented IM clients out in the wild.

Recently the team released .4 version, which supports many IM protocols and brings many new features.All of the popular IM formats are supported, as shown:

Selecting IM Protocols From KDE Telepathy

Among the new features in the .4 release are new plasmoids, consisting of a chat plasmoid and a presence plasmoid. Also, KRunner integration is added to allow a contact (and there current online status) to be viewed from within KRunner. Pretty handy for dialling up a quick conversation. The other notable additions are video chats / conferencing and logging chat histories.

KDE Telepathy Plasmoids | Photo From KDE.org

How To Install KDE Telepathy

Before the team can ship KDE Telepathy with the upcoming 12.10 release of Kubuntu, they would like users to test it out and give feedback. So here is how to install it to give it a test drive:

First, add the following repository using the Muon Package Manager if it is not already installed: ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports. Then install the KDE-Telepathy package. Also note that to have the ability to review chat histories, you will need to install the telepathy-logger-qt package. This was omitted on the install instructions on the official announcement, but I'm assuming most people would want access to their IM chat histories. This will install an application in your menu called KDE IM Contacts, and launching will open up the application for you to add accounts and start chatting.

Although not necessary. you will likely want to add the instant messaging presence plasmoid to your taskbar's system tray. This will allow you to see your current status at a glance, and will also allow you to be notified and act on incoming messages. Also, right-clicking the plasmoid will expose a full menu of available actions, as shown:

KDE Telepathy's Presence Plasmoid Right-click Menu
Plasmoid Presence Icon (circled in red) sitting in the system tray

Letting The Team Know What You Think

Once you've used KDE Telepathy, be sure to let the Dev Team know what you think! As per the announcement page, there are a few ways to do this:

We would greatly appreciate feedback. You can either post over in the kubuntuforums thread, send a mail to our mailing lists kubuntu-users or kubuntu-devel as well as stop by for a chat on our IRC channel. The Community page has all the details.
Feel free to provide feedback here as well, as any feedback will be forwarded to the the developers for consideration.

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