I have both Skype and Pidgin set up to automatically launch and sign in at startup and I do want that.

However, what I hate is that every time I boot or reboot, both window show up open and I have to manually close them. I just want the two programs to launch silently and only show up as tray icons, without opening their windows every time at startup.

I can't seem to find any such option in either of them.


Skype has an option to start minimized, which can be reached by clicking on your options menu and activate the appropriate checkbox as shown here:

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Pidgin is working in a different behaviour and no "start minimized" checkbox somewhere, insted you can define the opening behavior by closing pidgin in the desired way, it means: close pidgin while minimized to tray and it will open the same way it was when closed. The same when closing with the contacts list open as mentioned here: http://developer.pidgin.im/ticket/1888

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Quoted for your convenience:

Change History

Changed 5 years ago by nosnilmot pending changed from 0 to 1

Pidgin will start minimized to tray if it was minimized to tray when it was last exited. Isn't this sufficient?

Anyway, if that's no sufficient for you, you can dive into coding and use tricks like this:

Pidgin does not have an option that allows a user decide whether the Pidgin buddy list window starts minimized or not. It just remembers the state of the window when it quits, and restores the last window state.

The last window status is stored in $HOME/.purple/prefs.xml:

<pref name='pidgin'>
  <pref name='blist'>
    <pref name='list_visible' type='bool' value='0'/> <!-- 0: invisible, 1: visible -->
    <pref name='list_maximized' type='bool' value='0'/> <!-- 0: normal, 1: maximized -->

When the list_visible property is set to 0, you will see Pidgin minimizes its buddy list window into the system tray (or the notification area). How can we make sure it’s always set to 0 when Pidgin updates it when it exits? Let’s write a shell script:

perl -pi -e "s/pref name='(list_visible|list_maximized)' type='bool' value='[1-9]'/pref name='\$1' type='bool' value='0'/gi" ~/.purple/prefs.xml
/usr/bin/pidgin &

The first perl command searches the list_visible and list_maximized properties and replaces their values with 0 before Pidgin starts. Problem solved!

Not that I like this workaround. I still just can’t believe there is no option about this.

Source: http://planet.jboss.org/post/how_to_start_pidgin_minimized_or_always_start_pidgin_with_its_buddy_list_invisible

Using Plugins is also valid, like the "Buddy List Options 2.6.3" (normally installed in the plugin package), which features the "Hide the buddy list when it is created",

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The same as "Extended preferences 0.7", featuring the "Hide buddy list at startup" among other useful options. Extended Preferences 0.7 can be easily installed via "sudo apt-get install pidgin-extprefs" in a terminal.

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Fortunately this is about Linux, almost everything can be achieved :) so...

Good luck!

  • Thanks a lot. How could I miss Skype's option :$ Regarding pidgin, in my case (and it seems in ubuntu in general because of a bug) it does not remember its closed status. It always shut down my system with pidgin's window closed, but it always pops up at startup. However thanks to the information you provided I guess I'll be able to manually edit the xml. Thank you – matteo Mar 27 '12 at 18:21
  • sorry I can't vote this up, not enough reputation – matteo Mar 27 '12 at 18:24

While some windows management rules can be configured inside CCSM there are few that still does not exist there. One of them is minimizing a window of an application that was just launched.

To fill this gap there is a nice additional tool that can execute those kind of rules. It is called Devilspie (Devil's Pie) and has two parts: rule engine and graphical rules editor.

Install both by executing sudo apt-get install devilspie gdevilspie.
Once installed, just launch gdevilspie and create two new rules that will minimize both Skype and Pidgin windows.

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