ubuntu - tips & tricks

Set up Pidgin messenger and Office 365 Lync

Office 365 is proving to be a popular cloud collaboration service offered by Microsoft.  Lync 365 is a great communication tool which enables you to make voice calls, send chats , conference calls and even enable share screening with colleagues.

One of the drawbacks of Office365 and Lync, is that it is pretty dependent on you using Windows and Microsoft Office. Lync works really well, if you have the Lync Client installed on your machine. Microsoft do offer a Web Client for Lync but unfortunately this just doesn’t work for Linux computers,

I have managed to get Lync to work with Pidgin, a chat program which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously, albeit with some degradation of features.  I can make voice calls, video calls and send text chats. Unfortunately I am not able to do screen shares or conference calling. Which if you’re working in a distributed remote team is essential.  However, been able to communicate with colleagues from my ubuntu machine while working is still a convenient , even if I have to temporarily have to connect to a windows machine, to Remote Desktop to my Linux machine in order to screen share!

Here I’ll provide some details on how to get set up with Pidgin on your ubuntu desktop and connect to Office 365.

Install Pidgin on ubuntu

In order to get pidgin to work with lync you will need SIPE plugin, therefore install it. The SIPE plugin will enable add an office communicator option to the list of applications your can use pidgin with.

Install Pidgin-Sipe

Sipe Project

You can now start Pidgin

If you click the Add… button.

Select Office Communicator in the Protocol list box and enter your Office 365 Account details. i.e. Your Email address and Password.

Click on the Advanced tab and enter the following details;


Then Click Add.

This will enable your Account and should populate your “Buddy List” with all your colleagues who are within your organization.

You can now start using Pidgin as it is connected to Office 365.

Gary Woodfine

Founder & CTO of threenine.co.uk. Experienced full stack software developer well versed in delivering web & mobile applications utilizing cloud architectures. Areas of specialty include cross platform development in .net , PHP, JavaScript.

  • Evangelos

    Unfortunately, you cannot call from Pidgin to a normal Lync client..

    • threenine

      It certainly does seem to be a current limitation. This feature used to work in Pidgin, but I think there must have been a protocol change in Lync since.
      Microsoft have made a number of changes, so it may have had an adverse effect