Kopete saga

I have spent a good part of today trying to configure Kopete to my likings. Kopete is an instant messaging client that supports a number of protocols – ICQ, IRC, Yahoo, MSN, Jabber, and others. It is also integrated into KDE, which I am using for a few years now.

Out of all the IM protocols I mainly use only two – ICQ and IRC, and have a registered account in another one – Yahoo. Before my today’s saga with Kopete I was using Licq for ICQ and XChat for IRC. Both of these programs work fine, but lack any serious integration with KDE. So I decided to try Kopete 0.9.1, the one that was shipped with updates for my distribution – Fedora Linux Core 3.

So, I fired up Kopete and configured my ICQ, Yahoo, and IRC accounts. Account configuration dialog is pretty straight forward so this part was fast and easy. The moment I asked Kopete to change status of all accounts to ‘Online’ I found the first problem. IRC account couldn’t connect to the server. It was repeating that I was ‘marked as Offline’. Fortunately, I knew about this problem which was related to small socket timeouts settings. To fix this problem, start kcontrol, select Internet & Network menu and click on Preferences. There you will find four timeout settings: Socket read, Proxy connect, Server connect, and Server response. Probably you need only the Server connect option, but I went as far as increased all four of them to the value of 1800 seconds. After that my IRC account started working just fine.

Now I was ‘Online’ with all three accounts. It was time to look closer at what I get. Immideately I found the second problem. My ICQ contact list wasn’t syncronized with the server. I searched the web for a bit and browsed through all the menu items, but for no avail. I have about 30 people in my contact list and I almost thought of importing them manually. Not with my hands, of course, but with a script which could read Licq format (a bunch of plain text files) and write Kopete format (XML file). But the problem is that I also use ICQ from my mobile sometimes and there is no way I can syncronize the ICQ contacts with that device. Also, why should I do it when it is supported by the protocl itself? Anyway, I decided to deal with this later and imported about 5 contacts by hand just to play with Kopete.

I sent a few messages in Englinsh to the friend of mine who was online and it was working just fine. Than I tried to use Russian with another friend of mine. Somehow, he could read my messages fine, but I was recceiving garbage when he was writing to me. I played with fonts and encodings a bit, but nothing helped. I decided to leave this out for some time and continued with other things.

While playing with encodings, I was also going online and offline back and forth. I also closed Kopete a few times. And there I go with another misbehavior. Kopete couldn’t determine the status of my ICQ contacts correctly, showing a small error icon near all of them and marking all of them as ‘Not Available’. That was bad. I messaged one of the contacts asking if he was available and he said that he was Online. I double checked it with Licq and indeed he was. A bug. A really bad one, driving the whole ICQ support to unusable.

Fine. I proceeded with IRC. IRC worked good, but I wanted to configure it to look and behave like I wanted it too. Basically, I wanted something very similar to what XChat offers. The XChat theme was shipped together with Kopete so I tried it. It was good but not perfect. I tried to play with colors, but it wasn’t enough. So I copied the XChat theme to Leonid and tried to Edit

At this time I was pretty disappointed with Kopete and there was only a small chance that I would continue to use it. The last thing that I tried to configure was notification management. What I tried to do is not to have any notifications for IRC, but have immidate focus switch and raised window for ICQ. That proved to be impossible. The best I could do is no notifications for IRC and a ‘New message’ ballon from the taskbar for ICQ.

That was enough. I closed Kopete, fired up Licq and XChat back again and decided that I will not touch Kopete for another couple of years, until it will get much better. Sad but true.

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