How to Sync Your Empathy Logs Across Various Computers [Linux Ubuntu]

Since Empathy became the default IM app in Ubuntu 9.10, it has also replaced Pidgin as my default IM app. Empathy is simple to use and the version in Ubuntu 10.04 come with a nice interface. So even though Pidgin is functionally better, I have no compelling reasons to switch it back. There is one problem though. As I have several computers, both at home and office, I have no ways to access to the conversation logs if the conversation occurred over another computers. That means, if I am using the computer at home, I won’t be able to access the conversation logs which take place when I were using the office computer.

The solution to this is, of course, upload the logs to the cloud and sync it back to every computers you are using. Needless to say, Dropbox is the best for this.

Previously, we have mentioned the various uses of Dropbox and one of them is to sync your IM logs. What is not mentioned in that article is how to do it. In this article, I will show you how to get it done in Ubuntu.

1. The following steps work for Pidgin (or any other IM app) as well, as long as you are able to locate the location of the logs file.

2. This tutorial assumes that you are using Ubuntu 10.04

Let’s get started…

1. First set up Dropbox in all the computers that you are using. (You can also use Ubuntu One if all your computers are running Ubuntu)

2. From any computers, create a new folder “logs” in the Dropbox directory.

3. Open your Nautilus, press “Ctrl + H” to display hidden files.

4. Navigate to .local -> share-> Empathy. You should see a logs folder. Copy all the content of this logs folder to the Dropbox “logs” folder.


5. Delete the Empathy “logs” folder (not the one in Dropbox).

6. Open a terminal and type the following:

ln -s ~/your-dropbox-folder-location/logs ~/.local/share/Empathy/logs

This will create a symlink from the local folder to the Dropbox folder. All your current and future conversation logs will now be synced to the cloud.

Combining and accessing the conversation logs in another computer

1. In another computer, open the Nautilus and navigate to .local -> share-> Empathy (You need to press Ctrl + H to display hidden files).

2. Copy and paste all the content in the “logs” folder to the Dropbox logs folder.

Important: When prompted, select Merge files.


When prompted again, select “Skip” (instead of Replace)


3. Similarly, delete the logs folder within the Empathy directory.

4. Create a symlink to the Dropbox logs folder.

ln -s ~/your-dropbox-folder-location/logs ~/.local/share/Empathy/logs

Do this to all the computers that you want to sync your IM logs. That’s it. You should be able to access all your conversation logs no matter which computer you are in.


  • To sync Pidgin logs, the logs files are located at “.purple -> logs
  • To access your Empathy conversation logs, right click at the contact and select “Previous conversations
  • empathy-access-conversation

Let me know if this works for you, or you have any other ways to sync your IM logs.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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