Empathy is an open source instant messaging client application that provides users with support for text, voice, and video chat (with file transfers) through a multitude of protocols. It integrates well with the GNOME and Unity desktop environments.
It is popularly known as the default chat and IRC client of the GNOME desktop environment, with which integrates very well. In addition, several well known Linux distributions use Empathy as their default IM application, including Ubuntu.
Powered by Telepathy
The application uses the open source Telepathy communications framework and features a graphical user interface (GUI) based on the Gossip instant messaging client for UNIX-like operating systems.
It also includes support for a serverless communication service called People Nearby, which enables users to easily communicate with each other without having to connect to a specific instant messaging server.
Supports a wide range of IM protocols
The software runs only on the Linux platform and provides users with a modern and multi-protocol instant messenger that supports the Jabber/XMPP, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, AIM, Gadu-Gadu, GroupWise, ICQ, IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Windows Live (MSN), Mxit, Myspace, SIP, Yahoo!, Yahoo! Japan, and Zephyr IM protocols.
All the IM protocols supported by the popular Pidgin IM client are also available in Empathy through the libpurple library. It allows users to transfer files on the XMPP/Jabber protocols and local networks, as well as to make voice and video call using the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and Google Talk protocols. Additionally, the software allows users to view and share their current location, log conversations, create private and group chats, and supports collaborative applications.
Designed for GNOME
If you use GNOME, clicking on the panel entry will give you quick access to contacts, rooms, file transfers, previous conversations, accounts, and the app’s main preferences dialog, from where users can enable spell checking, GPS locations, echo cancellation for voice calls, and sounds, as well as to change the theme.
Overall, Empathy is a good instant messaging client for Linux-based operating system that use the GNOME desktop environment. Otherwise, you can use the open source Pidgin application.