The 12 best chat clients for Linux

Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time communication between two or more individuals based on typed text. The text is transmitted through devices connected through a network such as the Internet.

There are a large number of different instant messaging protocols. The main ones are XMPP (used by Google Talk, Jabber, etc), AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), ICQ, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger (formerly called MSN Messenger), and the venerable Internet Relay Chat (IRC). The instant messaging clients that appear in this article support one or more of these protocols.

To provide an idea of ​​the quality of the software that is available, we have compiled a list of 12 free high-quality instant messaging clients. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to chat with other people.

Now, let's explore the 12 instant messaging clients by hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a complete description with an in-depth analysis of its characteristics, a screenshot, along with links of interest, etc.


Pidgin is an instant messaging program that allows you to connect to AIM, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo !, and other networks. He was previously known as Gaim but recently changed his name to avoid confusion with AOL's instant messaging (AIM) client.

Pidgin integrates very well with the system bar GNOME 2 and KDE. This allows you to work without being forced to have the main screen (where the contacts are listed) open all the time. You just need to minimize it and that's it.

There are a large number of plugins available to add new functionalities to this program. Some examples are Album (which stores your contact icons), Plonkers (post your ignore list to a chat room), Talk Filters, XMMS Remote, etc.

There is also a non-graphical version of Pidgin with support for the same instant messaging networks. This program is called Finch.

Pidgin supports the following instant messaging services:

  • AIM
  • Hi
  • Gadu-Gadu
  • Google Talk
  • Groupwise
  • ICQ
  • IRC
  • MSN
  • QQ
  • SILC
  • Sametime
  • XMPP
  • Yahoo!
  • Zephyr


  • Support for access to multiple accounts.
  • Tabbed message windows.
  • Support for "groups".
  • Record of conversations and chat.
  • Pop-up notification windows.
  • Support for NSS, and client-server message encryption for the protocols that support it.
  • Create aliases.
  • Integrated spell checking.
  • Integration with the task notification area. 

Official Website.


    Kopete is the instant messaging client for KDE. It allows you to communicate with your friends and colleagues using various messaging services, including AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, IRC, Gadu-Gadu, Novell GroupWise Messenger, and more. It was designed to be a flexible and extensible multi-protocol system for personal and commercial use.

    The goal of Kopete is to provide users with an easy way to access all instant messaging services. The interface shows your contacts first and is integrated into the contact book system that comes with KDE so that you can access the contacts saved with other KDE applications. Kopete's notification system can be optimized so that only important contacts grab your attention and "bother" you while you work. Kopete also comes with tools to improve your instant messaging, such as message encryption, archiving of your conversations, etc.


    • It allows to group messages within a window, with flaps to be able to change the conversation easily.
    • Support for multiple accounts.
    • Support for the use of Aliases for your contacts.
    • Allows you to group your contacts.
    • Integration with KAddressBook and KMai
    • Keep a record of your conversations.
    • Allows you to change the style of the chat window through XSL and CSS
    • Support for custom emoticons
    • Custom notification pop-ups
    • Webcam support using MSN and Yahoo!
    • Spelling checker
    • Support for file transfer using AIM and ICQ
    • Support for multiple "identities" for a single user.

    Official Website.


    Psi is an attractive cross-platform instant messaging client, based on the open source protocol known as Jabber (XMPP).

    Fast in its functionality and restrained in the use of system resources, Psi is a good alternative when it comes to chatting with all your friends through instant messages, regardless of the network they use. That is, with this single program you can talk to friends who use ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or AIM.

    Psi sports an attractive design and has a wide range of functionalities specially designed to meet your communication needs: private messages, chat groups, sending files, various connection states, text format, and much more.


    • Highly customizable
    • Profile support
    • Chat windows with flaps
    • Group chat support
    • Service Discovery allows you to:
    • chat with friends who use other instant messaging clients
    • find friends who use Jabber
    • create or join a conference room where multiple people can chat together
  • Support for encrypted conversations
  • File Transfer
  • Advanced features:
    • XML console
    • Message encryption using GnuPGP
    • SSL certificates
  • Language pack.
  • Official Website.


      Jabbim is an instant messaging client for the XMPP / Jabber protocol written entirely in Python language using Qt, PyQt and the Pyxl library, which is part of the program.

      The goal of Jabbim is to bring the Jabber protocol to everyone, which is why it was designed to be a client for ordinary users and beginners.

      Jabbim can be used to connect conventional Jabber servers and Google Talk. It also offers access to "closed" messaging services such as MSN, AIM, Yahoo! IM, ICQ, Gadu-Gadu as well as IRC.


      • Tabbed chat windows
      • Themes for the application and chat windows
      • Animated emoticons
      • Visual and auditory notifications
      • Support for formatting conversations (XHTML-IM)
      • Notify when contact is typing
      • File Transfer
      • Support for group chat and chat room administration and moderation.
      • Groupchat bookmarks and auto-join.
      • Privacy lists.
      • Support to put yourself in an invisible "state" so that your contacts don't see you.
      • Extended contact statuses (User Tune, User Mood, User Activity, User Chatting)
      • Plugins to extend its functionality.
      • TLS encryption 

      Official website.


        Gajim is a Jabber client written in Python, with a GTK + frontend.

        The goal of this program is to provide a complete XMPP client for GTK + users.

        Not precise GNOME for running.


        • Flap chat windows.
        • Support for group chat (using the MUC protocol)
        • Emoticons, Avatars, PEPs (user activity, status, etc.)
        • File transfer.
        • Favorite chat rooms.
        • Support for metacontacts
        • Icon on the taskbar.
        • Spelling checker.
        • Advanced chat history.
        • Support for encryption via TLS, GPG and SSL.
        • Service Discovery including Nodes, user search
        • Integrated Wikipedia, dictionary and search engine
        • Support for multiple accounts.
        • Support for DBus.
        • XML console
        • Gajim is available in 24 languages. 

        Official Website.


          Empathy is a powerful instant messaging program. It is based on Telepathy and Nokia's Mission Control. It also uses the Gossip user interface.

          The main objective of this application is to allow seamless integration with the desktop. The libempathy-gtk library, the "heart" of the program, is nothing more than a set of widgets that can be embedded into any GNOME application.

          Empathy was included in the desktop GNOME since version 2.24.


          • Multi-protocol: Jabber, Gtalk, MSN, IRC, Salut, and all protocols supported by Pidgin
          • Account editor (specific user interface for each protocol)
          • Auto away and extended away using gnome-screensaver
          • Automatic reconnection using Network Manager
          • Private and group chat (with emoticons and spell checker)
          • Endless themes for chat windows.
          • Record of conversations.
          • Add new contacts and view / edit contact information.
          • Audio and video calls using SIP and Jingle.
          • Python bindings for libempathy and libempathy-gtk.
          • Support for collaborative work using Tubes. 

          Official Website.


            BitlBee is an IRC gateway for Jabber, ICQ, AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo, and Google Talk.

            This program acts as an IRC server, creates an IRC channel with all your contacts and allows you to chat with them as if they were ordinary IRC users. It is also possible to combine BitlBee with IRC clients from web browsers, such as cgi-irc.


            • Supports the following protocols:
            • Windows Live Messenger (formerly known as MSN)
            • Yahoo! Messenger
            • AIM
            • ICQ
            • XMPP (Google Talk, Jabber)
          • Groups of chats, only with MSN and Yahoo!
          • Themes / Skins
          • Plugins
          • Record of conversations
          • Unicode
          • Official Website.

              Gyache Improved

              GYachI is a client for the Yahoo! Messenger, written using GTK +.

              This program includes both the possibility of having voice conversations, through GYVoice, and using the webcam, thanks to GyachI-Webcam. In addition, the program includes GyachI-Broadcaster to send video streams from the webcam.


              • Chat Client
              • Voice chat
              • Faders
              • Nicknames
              • View and send video streams from the webcam
              • Avatars
              • profiles 

              Official website.


                Emesene is an open source instant messaging program. It is a "clone" of Windows Live Messenger.

                The objective of this soft. is to replicate the functions of the Windows Live client that all Windows users know, but polishing its interface and making it simpler, beautiful and easy to use.

                There are a wide variety of themes, including MBISM, Live theme, and MSN.

                This program is written entirely in Python and GTK +.


                • Simple and easy to use interface
                • Tabbed chat windows
                • Customizable emoticons
                • File Transfer
                • Offline messaging
                • Personal messages
                • Music player personal messages
                • Jerking or Nudges
                • Webcam support
                • Access the list of contacts stored on the server
                • Customisable
                • Themes
                • smileys
                • Sounds
                • GUI
                • Conversation format
              • Plugins (YouTube, songs, MSN Premium, Gmail checker, POP3 mail checker, spell checker,, Wikipedia. XKCD, Last Said, Countdown and others)
              • MSN Plus!
              • LaTeX support
              • Emoticon themes
              • Record of conversations
              • Multi-language interface.
              • Official Website.


                  aMSN is another clone of Windows Live Messenger. It allows you to stay in contact with your friends and exchange messages and files.

                  Its main objective is to assist users who use WLM, a program only available for Windows and Mac.

                  To achieve this goal, aMSN attempts to emulate the "look and feel" of WLM and includes almost all of its features. Additionally, aMSN has some specific features, not available in WLM. Among other things, users can set alarms, see who removed them from their contact lists, and are allowed to open multiple accounts at the same time.

                  aMSN is very customizable, with extensions and themes to download from its official website. 

                  Main features:

                  • Offline messaging
                  • Voice clips
                  • Customizable emoticons
                  • Allows you to login to more than one account at the same time
                  • File Transfer
                  • Group conversations
                  • Animated emoticons
                  • Record of conversations
                  • Alarms
                  • Webcam support
                  • Conversation history, separated in colors
                  • Plugins
                  • Skins in the chat window
                  • Automatic update of glossaries and plugins
                  • Support for MSN Mobile service
                  • Tabbed chat windows
                  • Display contact avatar in notification messages
                  • Allows you to log in and start in a certain "state"
                  • Verifying an email account
                  • Timestamping
                  • Multi-language interface.

                  Official website.

                    Mercury Messenger

                    Mercury Messenger is a popular MSN clone written in JAVA.

                    With Mercury you can do the same things as with MSN. However, Mercury has some extra features that are not included in MSN.

                    Mercury has a switchable interface, and includes some Java Looks, such as Metal, CDE / Motif, and GTK +.


                    • Allows login using multiple accounts
                    • Fast file transfer
                    • Video conversations
                    • Offline messaging.
                    • Detailed Notifications
                    • User defined events
                    • Tabbed chat windows
                    • Customizable contact list
                    • Customizable message view
                    • Customizable status icons
                    • Customizable emoticons
                    • Allows you to save the webcam stream
                    • Avatars, emoticons, etc.
                    • HTTP proxy
                    • Yahoo! Contacts
                    • Audio / Video conference
                    • Portable, runs from a USB memory.

                    Official Website.


                      KMess is another good alternative to MSN Messenger. It allows you to chat with your friends ... even if they use Windows or Mac. = (

                      The strong point of KMess is its integration with the desktop KDE, be focused on MSN Messenger and a very simple and powerful user interface.

                      If you only use MSN, this program is for you. If you also use ICQ or any other chat protocol, then you should choose Kopete or Pidgin.


                      • Chat groups
                      • Fast and reliable file transfers.
                      • Support for direct MSN6 + connections, with file preview
                      • Customizable emoticons.
                      • Support for MSN7 + status messages
                      • Choice of fonts and colors.
                      • Allows you to log in and start in a certain "state"
                      • Support for "Now Playing"
                      • Offline messaging.
                      • Support for Microsoft Live Mail. Incoming mail counter, notifications when new mail arrives, and direct links to the mail inbox
                      • Nudges and winks (for winks, Adobe Flash player and cabextract are required)
                      • Support for NetMeeting and GnomeMeeting
                      • Multi-language interface.
                      • Contacts who did not add you to their contact list appear in italics.
                      • When contacts write, their avatar "lights up"
                      • Show / hide offline contacts
                      • Organize the contact list by group or by status. 
                      • Support for aliases.
                      • Notifications
                      • Support for the use of multiple accounts
                      • Emoticon themes.
                      • Record of conversations. 

                      Official Website.

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                          1.   michel said

                            people are the best for their qualities

                          2.   alexis garcia recinos said

                            Afternoons I need a client to install it on my website and thus have a chat via the web to see if someone can support me

                            1.    KZKG ^ Gaara said

                              If you use WordPress there are several plugins that are a WebChat, look on the WordPress plugins page to see which one you prefer

                          3.   juan jose muñoz rivera said

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