With the ‘ Installing your own Ubuntu Server” series running on KWTV I
have gotten several questions about “what can you USE that SSH
(featured in episode II) for ?” Today i’ll give you a little
explenation of one of the applications i’m running with a simple
command line interface (like for example putty) over such an SSH
connection. In short : What application do i use using the command line
either locally on my server , or remotely connecting using the SSH

Centerim : Chat using the command line.
One of the applications I want to feature today is CENTERIM. Centerim
is, in short, a command line based version of Pidgin, a multi protocol
chat client. In short , CENTERIM can connect to ICQ, MSN, Jabber
(googletalk) and AIM talk. The interface is very simple to use (your
contacts on the left, your chat window on the right) and you can sort
your contact according to protocol or online status. You can send and
receive messages (duh) send and recieve files etc. In short ,
everything you can do using Pidgin or MSN Messenger minus the heavy
graphics and annoying flash animations.

Why should I use it.
Well first of all, chatting via the command line is just fracking cool
! If you are a self respecting geek its uber-cool to swap in that
graphical chat like Msn Messger for a black and white terminal screen
that gives you the same possibilities. If you are running Linux (for
example on your netbook) you can install Centerim and run it in a
command line window. That way you save processor cycles and screen
space. The OTHER option is that you install Centerim on your home
server (or wherever you have it running) and connect from wherever you
are using your SSH tunnel. For example : Firewall at work blocking Msn
and stuff ? No matter. Install centerim at home, connect in via putty
and run it from there. Your traffic is tunneled and encrypted all the

How do I install it.
Installation is dirt simple. If you are using ubuntu just go to the command line and type ‘ sudo apt-get install centerim.

Ok, now what.
After installation type ‘centerim’ in the command line to start the
application. The first time you’ll be presented with the configuration
screen where you can setup various accounts (your msn account, icq etc)
just enter your password and you are good to go. Watch out for the
configuration option that says “ENTER SENDS MESSAGE FOR” and make sure
to select all the protocols you have configured. ( that way, hitting
ENTER at the end of a chat message will send the message, otherwise its
SHIFT-ENTER). I have turned OFF showing Offline contacts and enabled
contact sorting according to status.

Using Centerim.
Once you have centerim setup you’ll find your contacts on the left. To
scroll through them press “CTRL V” and use the arrow keys to scroll up
and down between them. Once you have selected a contact you want to
talk to you can hit ENTER to go to the chat window or M to pull up the
contact menu (for extra options). Once you are done chatting to the
person hit “CTRL V” again to go back to the list. Hitting G will bring
you to the GENERAL menu where you can configure your online / offline
status etc, monitor file transfers and configure Centerim. To quit the
application hit Q. And that is basically it.

Centerim and googletalk.
If you want to use googletalk on centerim you need to watch out for the
‘special’ settings googletalk uses. Select the “jabber” account in the
“configure accounts” option from the general menu (you get there by
hitting G) Make sure you use the following settings.

Server :Talk.google.com:5223
secured: yes
Login : your google account
password : your password
priority : 4

Happy chatting.
And that is about all you have to do to start chatting from the command line.

Centerim Wiki :

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