Linux NetMag #2
Titel: ICQ-Clients for Linux
Do you want to get a note when your friends
are online to challenge them to a duel, change files or chat with them?
Then you should get an ICQ account.
Although Linux is not officially supported you find enough free
[ ICQJava | gnomeicu
| LICQ | kicq | Micq
| GTK-ICQ & gicq | ICQstep.app
| -- links --]
With ICQ you are able to create a list of people with ICQ-accounts
and then get informed if one of them is online. Probably most PC-owners
already known ICQ but that it is usable with Linux is not so well
known. A big collection of ICQ clients exists for Linux, all of
them having their strength and weakness. A huge list is available
. Although Mirabilis promised a
version it seems that they loose this race to Linux. The GPL versions
are quite good and saved Mirabilis some work. If you still believe
in an official Mirabilis Linux version you can sign up at their homepage
to get informed at once they release it.
If you do not want to wait that long you should have
a closer look at the following clients.
If you want to be sure that your ICQ version supports all (or at least
most) of the ICQ standards you should use the Java version
coming directly from Mirabilis.
This program functions with all the latest versions of the Java Development
Kit (JDK 1.1.3-2.1 or higher), even with Linux (Screenshot).
A Java version has many advantages but it also has some disadvantages.
The program needs a lot of resources which is not wanted as a small client.
It takes a long time to start and reacts slowly to user input if
you do not have enough memory. The program often crashes if you
try to chat but this may depend on the JDK-version. Additional Java
does not support the multi-user function. The configuration files
are saved in a subdirectory of the program and every user has to copy the
whole program into his/her home directory. It is possible to link other
directories but at least the conf directory has to be placed in the home
directory. A "."-configuration file in the home directory is not supported.
Mirabilis seems to be satisfied
with this Java version although calling it a beta and it has not
been improved for a long time.
A special version for GNOME users is gnomeicu.
This ICQ-version is able to place itself as an applet in the GNOME
panel and then shows the current status. It displays when you are online
or when you get news (Screenshot). Of course the
version is programmed (like "all" GNOME program ) in GTK+, runs
fast and stable but should only be used if you use the GNOME panel.
With gnomeicu it is also possible
to sign up at Mirabilis and you do not have to choose ICQJava for
One of the best developed ICQ-versions is LICQ
(Screenshot). This program has been programmed with
but is not a KDE-version.
For a short time LICQ supported
skins and you were able to change the appearance after your liking.
For some older versions of LICQ
you can get a WindowMaker-patch. This patch (also useable if you
use another window manager) changes the icons of the program to notify
you that you have mail or when you are online. The patch versions are always
a little lower than the latest LICQ
Kicq is an ICQ
clone for KDE users and looks similar to the Java version
(Screenshot). The program is still in a beta
state and does not offer all the functions ICQJava does. A graphical
user interface for configuring Kicq
has already been implemented
. It requires the library icqlib.
Thanks to the author Matthew Smith there exists a clone with
the name Micq. This
program is text based and does not have a GUI (Screeshot).
For this reason Micq is a good choice when ever no x-server is available
and you have to work with an ANSI terminal. Micq
does not support chat but you can request at ICQ with
this tool. The password does not need to be saved in a file,
will ask for it at every login. This tool is small, fast
and stable but you will miss a fronted if you are used to work with
These two clones use the GTK libraries. GTK-ICQ
is further develop than gicq
and offers support for GNOME, chat and a search for other ICQ-users.
Because GTK+ (version 1.1.12 or higher) supports skins GTK-ICQ
supports it, too.
bases on micq and also needs the library offered by micq.
Requesting at ICQ is not supported and just a few functions exist like
adding people to the contact list, sending and receiving
is not so well known and stays in a deep state of development. The frontend
has already been completed but the biggest part of the network
code is still missing. The name tells us the motivation for this
product: The frontend has to fit to a NextStep surrounding and therefore
it fits perfectly to window managers like WindowMaker or AfterStep.
But it seems that we have to wait a little bit longer before this
clone will be useable.