I was a big fan of Tril­lian because dur­ing my 15 year his­tory of using the internet—it’s even longer if you count my bulletin-board days—I’ve acquired mul­ti­ple IM accounts from dif­fer­ent providers. I’m in the process of tran­si­tion­ing my mul­ti­ple com­put­ers away from pro­pri­etary OSes that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily worth the money spent. (That’s not to say there aren’t OSes worth pay­ing for.) How­ever, since Tril­lian is plat­form depen­dent, it was out. I needed a multi-network IM client that would work on mul­ti­ple plat­forms. Enter Pid­gin. It fit all my needs, except…

Despite being a rel­a­tively robust release, Pid­gin 2.0 cer­tainly wasn’t bug free. I man­aged to encounter a major bug. In my par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, I reor­ga­nized some MSN con­tacts into dif­fer­ent groups on my lap­top (Xubuntu) after orga­niz­ing them on my desk­top (Win­dows). This caused a syn­chro­niza­tion problem:

Buddy list syn­chro­niza­tion issue in xxxxxx[at]hotmail[dot]com (MSN)
blah_blah[at]hotmail[dot]com on the local list is inside the group “Indi­vid­u­als” but not on the server list. Do you want this buddy to be added?

Unfor­tu­nately, no mat­ter how you answer the dia­log Pid­gin crashes. Some­times Pid­gin just pukes at startup. Other times just try­ing to disable/enable the account causes a crash. Pid­gin is just hosed. If you can man­age to delete the account (because even attempt­ing that can crash the client), then the prob­lem goes away. How­ever, recre­at­ing the account in hopes of start­ing from scratch doesn’t work. That’s because delet­ing the account doesn’t purge the data files of the old data.

The good news, the Pid­gin devel­op­ers have already fixed this bug. The bad news, there are two dozen or so more bugs to squash before 2.0.1 is released. For­tu­nately, I man­aged to find a workaround. Since the prob­lem is a cor­rupt buddy list, you just sim­ply have to delete the blist.xml file. Pid­gin is smart enough to rebuild the file. This won’t pre­vent future cor­rup­tion but at least the workaround is mostly painless.

One Response to “Pidgin Went Cuckoo”

  1. Trond said on June 15th, 2007 at 3:49 pm:

    Thank god it was only a delete­file. But then the pidgin-coders should find out a code that checks if the file is cor­rupt and delete it, then rebuild it. This should hap­pen on startup.