If you are looking for an extremely lightweight but full-featured IM/chat client for your old Linux box, or if you are just feeling geeky, then you should try CenterIM. --It's a text mode but user friendly menu and window-driven instant messaging interface that supports major chat protocols like ICQ, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, and many others.

Getting and installing CenterIM is pretty easy. In Ubuntu, you can have it via Synaptic Package Manager by searching for "centerim". Or, you can install it via the command line:

sudo apt-get install centerim

After installation, you can run CenterIM inside the terminal with this command (duh):

centerim

Then, you will be prompted to configure your accounts:


You can also manage your accounts later on when inside the main chat window:


For Google Talk (GTalk) users, they should configure it this way:

Server: talk.google.com:5223
Secured: yes
Login: yourusername@gmail.com
Password: yourpassword
Priority: 4
Request receipts: no
Send OS info: yes
OpenPGP key: none


Note that once you are logged in, you may see this message on the status area:

+ [jab] error 404 (Must be a bug or something)

Just ignore it because you are already connected, and you can now start chatting.

The chat window is basically divided into three parts: On the left side is the list of contacts; At the bottom-right part you will see the status messages; At the top-right corner is the chat area where you can send and receive messages:


In addition, CenterIM has a built-in RSS reader. It's quite handy if you are like me who wants to keep up to date with the latest news.


CenterIM is really very easy to use. Just follow the list of commands and keyboard shortcuts that you will see at the lowermost area of the screen and everything will be OK. All in all, CenterIM is a fast, reliable and lightweight IM/chat client. And be happy and thankful because it's free :-)

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