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MacOS integration plugin for Pidgin

Pidgin is a multiprotocol communicator based on libPurple with GUI created using GTK+. There is no official support for macOS as there is an alternative written using native frameworks - Adium. Sadly, Adium seems to be nearly abandoned. It means that there is no native libPurple client for macOS. This plugin tries make Pidgin feel as native as it is possible.

Basic Integration

I suggest to create app bundle (or use mine: Pidgin Bundle) for Pidgin as it adds dock icon and hides Terminal window. It's REQUIRED for notifications and possible future translations to work properly.

Homebrew has a formula for gtk-chtheme which makes theme change easier - and macOS themes for GTK are easy to find.


There are currently following features implemented:

  • Menu integration - all buddy list and conversation menus moved from window to menubar, moved standard macOS options: preferences, about to application menu.
  • Notification Center integration - every message received shows native macOS notification and requests attention (jumping dock icon), plays configurable sound (currently only built-in seem to work).
  • Built-in GTK shortcuts mapped to ⌘-based from ⌃-based (limited to built-in, not Pidgin-defined) through GTK OSX Application. Includes support for ⌘-Q (check issues section).
  • Partial workaround for GTK2 Mojave rendering issues - Mojave changes AppKit's redrawing logic and breaks some redraws for GTK2. In Pidgin it's reflected by not refreshing conversation on tab switch and so on. More details

Implementation details

Plugin is written in Swift. As Pidgin is written in C, bridging is needed. That's done by Objective-C to Swift bridge. Only things that are really hard or impossible to do via bridging (varargs functions, some type casting like callback registration) is done in Objective-C. It's mostly just an ocasion for the author to learn Swift and Cocoa.

Issues and TODO

  • GTK OSX Application does not provide any way to cleanly deintegrate it from running GTK application. It means that plugin unload leaves Pidgin with some integration intact. Window menus are made visible again and callbacks are deregistered but that's all.
  • No clean build procedure. Project is currently hardcoded to Homebrew-installed libraries in enabled version. Probably should be changed to pkg-config.
  • No prebuilt libraries - see previous point.
  • Protocols are missing icons in Conversation Send To menu. They need to be added manually.
  • Notifications are displayed for receiving-im-msg and receiving-chat-msg instead of displayed-im-msg and displayed-chat-msg (I had some issues with text pointers for this one callback type) which means that filtered messages can still send notifications. It can lower your privacy!
  • Currently using NSUserNotification api which will be deprecated with the release of Mojave.
  • Help menu does not stay visible all the time (it's still connected to Buddy List window).
  • It seems that preferences menu option is only available for last opened window.
  • ⌘-` seems not to work.
  • ⌘-Q seems not to call proper Pidgin termination callbacks. Some settings may be lost when used!
  • Application starts in background - that's actually issue with every GTK+ based app. Fixed with correct Info.plist entries.
  • It's possible to add some kind of Touch Bar support.
  • Custom notification sounds are palyed correctly when tested but don't work for notifications.


Build using XCode.

Homebrew dependencies:

  • Pidgin
  • GTK+
  • gtk-mac-integration
  • GLib
  • Cairo
  • Pango
  • Atk
  • Gettext