In general, I prefer Unity to Gnome Shell, but the latter's chat popup and inline responder thing (video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lepXx1kDelo) is more or less a killer app for me and is the only thing preventing me from switching to Unity.

Are there any existing apps/plugins that offer similar functionality that can be used in Unity?


It is my Pidgin Show Conversation script alpha 0.1.2. It is not perfect, but has functionality.
It works well with Pidgin. See this video.

obs.: if you are lazy you can just run this at terminal and skip to step "5"

sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get install xdotool compizconfig-settings-manager && cd ~/ && wget http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4098082/.pidginfocus.sh && sudo chmod +x ~/.pidginfocus.sh  

1) We will need XDoTool and Compiz.

You can install these from the software center (or by clicking here)

2) Make a file .pidginfocus.sh in your home folder.

3) Paste this into it:

# by desgua
# To focus at conversation when the mouse is at botton
while [ "$var1" != "end" ]
eval $(xdotool getmouselocation --shell)
echo $Y
if [ "$Y" -gt "680" ] ; then 
    xdotool search --class Pidgin windowmap ; else
    xdotool search --class Pidgin windowunmap ; exit 0 
sleep .5
exit 0  

4) Make it executable (Here's how to do that)

5) Open Compiz (Menu > System > Preferences > CompizConfig Manager)

6) Go to Commands and add ~/.pidginfocus.sh to one command

enter image description here

7) And use Edge Binding (Botton) to run it.

enter image description here

8) Now go to Compiz > Enable Place Windows and set the role conversation to be opened at botton:

You may need to adjust the numbers according with your screen resolution.

enter image description here

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  • Wow nice, any workaround to get this working with empathy ? – sagarchalise Apr 25 '11 at 11:04
  • If you change Pidgin for Empathy at script and role=conversation for class=Empathy it will somehow work. I'm at mobile right now, when I get home I will try to improve this ;-) – desgua Apr 25 '11 at 12:24

The launcher Kupfer http://kaizer.se/wiki/kupfer/ has a pidgin plugin which allows you to begin typing the name of a contact and send them a message all inline of the launcher itself.

This may not be "single use" enough for you and it being a launcher may get in the way, but I guess you could disable all of the other plugins.

Kupfer also has themes now, making it much prettier, http://www.webupd8.org/2011/04/kupfer-v206-released-with-improved.html

EDIT: It is possible to type into an exisiting message.

  1. Bring up Kupfer: I have F1 bound to bring up Kupfer.
  2. Type the name of the contact
  3. Tab once and you'll be hovering over the open chat launcher.
  4. Down Arrow to "Send Message"
  5. Tab again to get to the input box for sending a message.

The launcher has a context dependant number of panels. You can set default actions, which I have.

My standard flow is: F1 name Tab Tab message Return. As even if a chat isn't open this "send message" action does it for you.

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  • Thanks, that's nice for initiating new conversations but not so much for typing in existing ones. – Mike Crittenden Apr 21 '11 at 13:57
  • It can and its really quick too, check my edit. – poulter7 Apr 22 '11 at 19:52
  • Yeah thanks, it's just that hitting Alt+Tab to switch to the IM window would be quicker. – Mike Crittenden Apr 22 '11 at 21:35
  • 1
    That's probably fair. Kupfer remembers the last written items etc. so it normally cuts down on that. But I can see where you're coming from and at the same time would like to see something similar myself. :) For me its about not changing workflow (alt-tab breaks my flow). – poulter7 Apr 22 '11 at 22:17

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