With Pidgin and Empathy both kings of the instant messaging arena on Linux one could be forgiven for forgetting other options exist.

Goober, a “multi-protocol” messaging client and VoIP application available for Windows, Mac and Linux, is one such alternative.

Goober main window


Much like Pidgin and Ubuntu’s default messaging app Empathy, Goober lets you add and multiple chat accounts at the same time.

Currently supported services are: –

  • MSN
  • Yahoo!
  • GTalk
  • Jabber
  • ICQ
  • AIM

Multi-account support in Goober 3.0 on Linux

Social Networking

Goober also supports Facebook and Twitter, which are accessed via separate tabs in the main window. Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger also integrates with Facebook so this approach isn’t without merit, however I prefer to keep my Twitter, Facebook and general chit-chat on MSN separate from each other.


Whilst Goober provides a stack of featuresotherclients lack, listed below, note that some only work with contacts also using Goober.

  • HD video chat (although 6 person videoconferencingnot supported in Linux)
  • VoIP services, including calling out (requires purchase of special credit)
  • 200MB free space in a ‘virtual folder’ to share files with contacts
  • Screenshot tool
  • SMS out (requires small fee)
  • Customizableinterface

Is it any good?

The short answer is “Sort of.”

Whilst Goober has some impressive features the interface feels confused. The default ‘theme’ is ugly, and although it can be customized it still sticks out like a sore thumb in Ubuntu.

Default Goober theme is ugly

For Unity users the pleasure of Application Menu (global menu) integration will be welcome, and whilst the video chat or VoIP features weren’t working for me I can admit that they are sure to court interest from Linux users.

The ‘need’ for Goober will likely depend on two things: the first being that you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with Pidgin or Empathy, the second being that most of your ‘VoIP’ contacts don’t use Skype.


Goober is a QT4 application, and is provided as a .Deb installer for Ubuntu 32bit and 64bit atgoober.com/en/messenger.

The installer should work with Ubuntu 10.10 upwards, although I have only tested it on 11.04 and 11.10.

Apps Download goober im