How to Add Steam Chat to Pidgin or Empathy on Linux

Chat With Your Steam Friends in Pidgin or Empathy on Linux

Have you ever wanted to chat with your friends in Steam outside of the client on Linux? If so, we’ve got the perfect thing for you: Open Steamworks. It’s a simple bit of code that takes the Steam mobile chat API and wraps it up into a Pidgin plugin for you to use on your Linux desktop.

Arch Linux AUR Package

If you are an Arch Linux user interested in using Open Steamworks on your machine, someone has taken it upon themselves to make this awesome plugin available in the Arch Linux User Repository.

Arch Linux AUR Package

If you want to use it, all you have to do is point your favorite Arch User Repository client at this package to install it. Do you not have an AUR client? You might want to check out some of these.

Installing the Plugin Manually

Download the 64 bit plugin here or the 32 bit plugin here, then extract it to your Downloads folder. You’ll also need to download the icon package for Pidgin to use. You can get it here.

Steam Friends plugin for Pidgin.

When you have everything downloaded and extracted, it’s time to install the plugin to the Pidgin plugin directory. Open up a terminal window and enter the commands below.

mkdir ~/.purple/plugins

For 64 bit system:

mv /path/to/extracted/file/  ~/.purple/plugin

for 32 bit system:

mv /path/to/extracted/file/  ~/.purple/plugin

Doing this will install the Steam chat plugin into Pidgin’s user plugin directory. This means that the Open Steamworks plugin will only be accessible by your username on the system. After doing this, we’ll need to install the icon package.

Install the icon package to this location.

mv /path/to/extracted/folder/icons  /usr/share/pixmaps/pidgin/protocols/

Once the plugin and icon package has been installed, restart Pidgin. It needs to reload the plugins directory. When it’s opened again, you’ll be able to log in to your Steam account in Pidgin.

Log into your Steam account in Pidgin.

Note: once you’ve entered your login details, you’ll need to check your email and input your Steam guard code (if you use it).

Running the Plugin in Empathy

Do you want to use Steam chat on Linux but are not a fan of Pidgin? Don’t worry! You can easily get all of your favorite Pidgin chat plugins working in Empathy by installing one simple package. Using your Linux distributions’ package manager of choice, search for the package known as “telepathy-haze”. After that, just install it and restart Empathy. Everything should be there after that.

Get Pidgin chat plugins working in Empathy.

From there you’ll be able to go to the accounts section of Empathy and then add your Steam account to it. Please note: if you use Steam guard, you’ll need to go to your account settings in the Empathy client and apply the security code that was emailed to you.


Steam is a great service, but it’s kind of a pain to have it open all the time, especially since Steam can sometimes be CPU intensive. That’s why I think this plugin, which allows you to chat with your Steam friends in Pidgin, is awesome. It takes one of the best parts of Valve’s service and allows you to use it in your favorite instant messaging client.

Derrik Diener
Derrik Diener

Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.

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