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GNOME multi-protocol chat and call client

see also : empathy-accounts



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function empathy {
apt-get install -y empathy

Auto login for gtalk

First you'll need a way to schedule tasks. If you're not familiar with cron, and you're using Ubuntu/GNOME then sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule. Then you can open Scheduled Tasks from the System >> Preferences menu and use the GUI to set a specific time for a command to run.

The simplest way to schedule a time for Empathy to connect and disconnect is to just schedule jobs to start and stop the program (just use the commands empathy and killall empathy). The problem is that if we kill Empathy without logging out then you'll still appear signed in for a few minutes until Google discovers that you've timed out.

To get around that problem we can use D-Bus to send a signal to Empathy's backend that asks it to disconnect. There are lots of ways to do this including with dbus-send from the command line, but since I'm more familiar with Python I used that.

Instead of configuring your sign-off task to call killall empathy, save the following script somewhere (e.g. ~/ and then schedule your task to call that (python ~/ Replace the string EXAMPLE in the fourth line with your Google Talk account name before you save the file.

#!/usr/bin/env python
# Disconnect Empathy from Google Talk and kill the program.

# Replace EXAMPLE below with your account name (whatever is before
google_acct_name = 'EXAMPLE'

import os
    import dbus
except ImportError:
   exit('You need the Python dbus bindings,'
        ' type "sudo apt-get install python-dbus".')

wkname = ('org.freedesktop.Telepathy.Connection.gabble.jabber.' + 
          google_acct_name + '_40gmail_2ecom_2fTelepathy')
pathname = '/' + wkname.replace('.', '/')

bus = dbus.SessionBus()
conn_obj = bus.get_object(wkname, pathname)

os.system('killall empathy')

This script could be tweaked to avoid the hacky guess of the account name path component, or to sign on also (If quitting the program is a problem). Take a look at the ConnectionManager interface in the Telepathy D-Bus docs if this stuff doesn't frighten you.


Clearing empathy IM client previous conversation

Logs for empathy are stored in /home/<username>/.local/share/Empathy/

Hope this helps :)


How do I show the Empathy icon in the menu bar's notification area?

you may be interested in this bug report at Launchpad.

It's not a bug, though.


GNOME multi-protocol chat and call client Instant messaging program supporting text, voice, video, file transfers and inter-application communication over many different protocols, including: AIM, MSN, Google Talk (Jabber/XMPP), Facebook, Yahoo!, Salut, Gadu-Gadu, Groupwise, ICQ and QQ.

The main user interface consists of a contact list window and an icon in the notification area.



Don’t connect on startup


Don’t display the contact list or any other dialogs on startup


Show version



If set, debug output will go to the given file rather than to stderr.


May be set to "all" for full debug output, or various undocumented options (which may change from release to release) to filter the output.

see also

empathy-accounts , The Telepathy project (, The Empathy project (


This manual page was written by Laurent Bigonville (mailto:bigon[:at:]debian[:dot:]org), for the Debian GNU/Linux system (but may be used by others).

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