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Terminal Tips: Centericq open source chat aggregator on OS X


In my everlasting quest for the best multi chat protocol client, I decided to check out Centericq. The Centericq chat client, despite its name also supports aim (and .mac accounts), yahoo, jabber (and therefore peripherally, irc, gadu gadu (the polish chat protocol), and msn. The client is purely terminal based. After trying Centericq for a few days, I must conclude that there are a few things left to be desired. I didn't enjoy the annoying key combos to bring up menus (Esc-Esc [wait then] b for the basic menu) or the mislabeled menu keys that obviously are already assigned in OS X (F9, F2 etc). To change between chat conversations, the key combos actually work on OS X (Ctrl-B or Ctrl-N to scroll forward or backwards).

The msn compatibility, incidentally, is broken on OS X and other BSD systems for some reason: no m$ chat for you! Other downsides for Centericq are the lack of accented character support (even though my terminal supports it) and some irc anomalies. All things considered, I've decided that Centericq is the most stable and intuitive terminal based chat client.

Read on for installation instructions particular to OS X after the jump.

I tried grabbing a pre-compiled package with fink (even added the unstable branch) or finding it elsewhere, with no success.

To install on OS X you are best off compiling the application yourself. You'll need a copy of the Apple Developer Tools, available "free" with registration as a 751MB download (thanks Apple) from the XCode Tools section.

When that's squared away, grab the Centericq source from freshmeat or from Centericq's site. We used Centericq 4.21.0. In the main source folder run:

./configure --disable-msn

Now run:


And then:

make install

Finally copy the application to your favorite path location (e.g. /usr/local/bin) and launch it. Configure and then enter the login data for each chat client and irc server/channel you use. Esc-esc brings you back to the top level and q quits the application from there. Documentation for Centericq is on their project page and in the README included with the source code.

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