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Licq: A solution for your Linux ICQ needs

Instant Messaging makes staying in touch with friends via the Internet, a much faster and easier process. No longer do you have to patiently read and write e-mails or try and co-ordinate rendezvous timings at chat servers. All you and your friends have to do is to get an instant messaging program. Add your friends to your 'contact list' and whenever one of them logs onto the Internet you can send them messages, files or even play multi-player games. Several Instant Messaging programs exist, with ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger being among the more popular ones. Some of these do not have native versions for Linux (not counting Java versions). However there are several clone clients available for Linux, which do the job very well.

Licq is one of the most popular and complete ICQ clients available for Linux and includes most of the features of the Windows version, including my favorite -- Floating Users. Licq is a completely modular client, with the engine and interface independent from one another. The default download includes a console interface and a QT interface. It can be downloaded from www.licq.org. If however you are a Gnome user and you would prefer a GTK interface (like me) you could always download the GTK interface from gtk.licq.org

Both sites will include versions appropriate for your distribution (or you can download a source tarball). Install it and you will soon be on your way. For the purpose of this article we will be working with the GTK version. Although the basic functions remain the same across all interfaces, there may be variations in the menu layouts and options available.

To launch the client, type licq -p gnome_gui. The first time you run it, a sleek wizard will guide you through the process of creating a new account or filling in the details of an existing account. It will also help you with searching for users and adding them to your contact list. (See image below)