Pidgin introduces support for Audio and Video Chat in 2.6.0; what about Adium?

Dear Adium community,

As some of you may have heard, the Pidgin Project has just released Pidgin 2.6.0 which supports audio and video communication (commonly referred to as A/V or V/V) over XMPP (Jabber, Google Talk, etc.). First, a huge congratulations to the Pidgin team, for whom this is a major milestone!
Knowing that Adium and Pidgin share the same backend, libpurple, the logical question is:

What will happen in Adium? Where is Voice and Video support in our favorite Mac OS X chat client?

Some history

In October 2007, hopes were raised by two Adium team blog posts:

Happy Leopard Day!” and “A/V Questions Answered

A small team volunteered then to tackle the great effort of implementing Audio and Video chat, using the partially-developed support found in libpurple at that time. It made a limited amount of progress, but two major barriers were encountered: First, libpurple wasn’t ready to provide reliable voice & video support. Second, the scope of the project far outweighed the available manpower. The project stalled before it even really took off.

The team at present

The Adium team currently has a fraction of the manpower it once did.  We throw ourselves into this labor of love when possible, but the number of people who have committed code in the past 3 months can be counted on one hand.  Adium has been, perhaps, its own worst enemy in terms of maintaining the team, as our developers commonly step from here to excellent but demanding jobs within and without the CS world (including multiple at Apple). We have even less manpower now than when efforts failed in late 2007.

We’re not complaining, we’re not offering excuses, and we’re not asking for donations of money or server resources.

We are seeking interested developers and designers!

Join an exciting, popular open source project with a proven track record of being both successful worldwide and a fantastic resumé builder. Voice & video offers a huge new domain to explore.

The state of the code

We have successfully compiled libpurple and its dependencies with voice & video support. What remains is implementation of libpurple’s media API and production of an Adium-quality UI for it. That will include a lot of code, though hopefully we’ll find that the QuickTime and Core Graphics frameworks in Mac OS X 10.5 can do much of the heavy lifting for us. We’ll also need icons. More development thoughts can be found on Adium’s VoiceAndVideo page.

Want to help?

Developers and designers, feel free to join us on IRC or email the Adium development mailing list… or dive right in and start contributing!


  1. I’m glad that the Adium team is communicating clearly the challenge it faces and is also considering carefully the steps to follow to make voice and video a reality. I can’t wait! (but I promise not to pester for updates)

  2. What about the security vulnerability? Will you be able to produce a new build anytime soon?

  3. Pidgin 2.6.0 also introduces a number of other features such as better file transfer. Are you planning to include the latest libpurple in a future release? I’m not asking when, just what milestone might that be? Any chance of 1.4? 🙂

  4. Hope you guys find those people soon. I’de really love to use Audio and Video kinda like I once did in iChat. I dont know that the majority of users would benefit from XMPP support. But A/V on AIM would be just what Adium needs to make it the Firefox of IM software, for the Mac anyway. Hopefully it would slowly begin eating away at the iChat camp of users. Adium is really an awesome program though.

  5. the XMPP protocol is also what Gtalk uses… so not only will it allow private/public jabber servers to AV chat, but also gtalk users. and there are quite a few gtalk/gmail users out there 😉

  6. I don’t have time to help Adium by code, but my 2 cents:
    – Like twittie, adium could add ads in the middle of talks, and take some money from it(and make possible to have a full time team)
    – Launch Adium as a “open source commercial”, for some bucks (for the same reason – make possible to have a full time team).

    I really would buy adium if the price is something < $30. And looking at the mac users that I know, I think that most they will too.

  7. I don’t see how to begin to be a paying apps will help…
    BTW, everyone can help by relaying this job announce (which is attractive).
    I hope it will work, it’ll be much more useful than Twitter.

  8. Well, once my SL upgrade disc arrives I’ll install the new XCode and start doing some tutorials and I really really want to help this project out ASAP.

    I just attained a master’s degree in Computer Engineering, but for the coming year I’ll be participating in an additional management-orientated master course. Of course, i want to keep my coding skills up-to-date and also learn some new tricks. That + Adium is my favourite app in the whole world, so you can bet I’m pretty motivated.

    However, I have no XCode, svn, Cocoa or Objective-C experience whatsoever, so it might take a while to get me up to speed…

    Hope to be contributing to this awesome project soon though.

  9. @Laurens
    We’d certainly love to see that happening. Looking forward to having you on board! 🙂

  10. @Laurens @robby

    There are a lot of developers who would love to get into Mac/OSX development, who don’t have prior experience. A lot of them have moved from other platforms to the Mac and are taking a while to ramp up their knowledge, not to mention that getting started with open source projects is difficult in general. The Adium site has a pretty good getting started guide for people interested in contributing, but a lot of it is old and out of sync. Perhaps, the best way to solicit more developer interest would be to provide some resources that could help aspiring developers?

    It took me more than a year of coding to read the point where I can look up most stuff and write meaningful Mac apps. If I can get more guidance, I’d be one of the first people to also start contributing to the project. Any ideas?

  11. I think the Adium team should go ask about developers in a few forums (a.k.a. do some advertising!). I mean, the project is great and everything, if it’s manpower that it needs, I’m pretty sure it can be found with some research. I don’t mind posting for instance a news in Mac forums saying “Adium 1.3.6 released!” and then add “the team is currently looking for experienced developers to help them for this and that”, I think it wouldn’t mind anybody either. It’s not like I’m advertising just to advertise, and I think the team should start doing it. Then it can grow and we can count the members on two hands 🙂 Otherwise the project becomes too big and it does a major fail.

  12. A few months ago I talked with Eric and told him that I want to contribute. I am a student for applied computer sciences in Germany. But Cocoa and Objective-C is a complete different world than Java is. I will tell you that I am ready as soon as I think that I could contribute useful stuff! Hopefully this won’t take me that long anymore..

  13. I’ve been looking forward to this since I switched to Mac OS 4 years ago. Is it time to start getting excited?

  14. Hi. Nice post there. Good to know that pidgin released audio and video chat for XMPP. Good for Gchat users.
    Here’s my post regarding the off the record plugin for Pidgin, where users can encrypt incoming and outgoing messages, to give themselves total privacy while chatting:

  15. I’m sorry to hear about the lack of development 🙁

    Don’t worry though, I’m sure you’ll rally!

  16. I’d love to contribute to Adium! I have some basic Objective C and Cocoa experience (work in progress), but my strongest point would be UI designs and Icons and all that lark.

    A mockup for possible video conferencing with Adium. Just let me know how / what I can help with.

  17. Wow phillip, that UI looks v v neat . Interesting.

    I hope you follow for any source/details you need and Also someone from talks with you about this as they need 🙂

  18. Hi there,

    I have absolutely no developer experience (go figure!) but i would be happy to test a beta or help in any way i can, giving detailed feedback from an end-user’s point of view! 😀

    @ PsykX i totally agree with you, i really think the adium team would benefit from a little advertising, i’m sure the folks at or pidgin wouldn’t mind helping you guys out??

    it really is time that the mac got a decent IM client THAT CAN BE USED ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD SO THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE AIM FOR US BRITISH USERS!! (We are so victimised lol!!)


  19. I don’t code, but I could help with some design of icons and UI in my spare time. You can see me design logos here

  20. Maybe you should port Adium to iPhone, and make money of it, so you can support the OS X development. However a few ads won’t bother me in Adium, and I’m also willing to pay for it, but I suggest most users won’t.

    I wish you the best guys!

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