Using BitlBee with the libpurple IM backend
Since version 3.0, BitlBee can be compiled to use libpurple for all communication with instant messaging networks, instead of the built-in code. libpurple is the library of instant messaging modules used by Pidgin/Adium/Finch. Using it has a few pros and cons. In short, it offers a few extra features (like file transfers on pretty much all IM networks) and support for many less common IM networks that are popular in certain regions (like GaduGadu and QQ). The downside is it adds a lot of dependencies (on most Debian systems it means installing around 100MBytes of extra packages), and it makes the program more resource-hungry at runtime. Also, its huge codebase may have more stability/scalability issues when running on large installations.
For these reasons, libpurple will not be used on public servers. You can use it yourself though, if you install your own BitlBee instance. Either compile it with --purple=1 or if you're using Debian/Ubuntu, install the bitlbee-libpurple package if available. (If it's not, you can try the nightly builds.)
The libpurple variant should be mostly compatible with the normal version (so your old account files should just work), but most settings will have different names. Most settings also won't be documented in the usual extensive on-line help. To get a simple list of protocols supported by your installation of libpurple, use the help purple command:
1 19:24:28 <@wilmer> help purple 2 19:24:28 <@root> BitlBee libpurple module supports the following IM protocols: 3 19:24:28 <@root> 4 19:24:28 <@root> * aim (AIM) 5 19:24:28 <@root> * bonjour (Bonjour) 6 19:24:28 <@root> * gg (Gadu-Gadu) 7 19:24:28 <@root> * novell (GroupWise) 8 19:24:28 <@root> * icq (ICQ) 9 19:24:28 <@root> * irc (IRC) 10 19:24:28 <@root> * msn (MSN) 11 19:24:28 <@root> * loubserp-mxit (MXit) 12 19:24:28 <@root> * myspace (MySpaceIM) 13 19:24:28 <@root> * qq (QQ) 14 19:24:28 <@root> * silc (SILC) 15 19:24:28 <@root> * simple (SIMPLE) 16 19:24:28 <@root> * meanwhile (Sametime) 17 19:24:28 <@root> * msn-pecan (WLM) 18 19:24:28 <@root> * jabber (XMPP) 19 19:24:28 <@root> * yahoo (Yahoo) 20 19:24:28 <@root> * yahoojp (Yahoo JAPAN) 21 19:24:28 <@root> * zephyr (Zephyr) 22 19:24:28 <@root> 23 19:24:28 <@root> For used protocols, more information about available settings can be found using help purple <protocol name> (create an account using that protocol first!)
This list may or may not be the same on your installation, as it's generated on-the-fly based on the protocols reported by libpurple.
NOTE: seems purple still doesn't handle SRV records properly, so if you use a Google apps acount with jabber, you need:
acc jabber set connect_server talk.google.com
Even if this step is not necessary when using the native Jabber module.