Splert: Shantz Pidgin Away Alerts

This is a simple tool I wrote a few months ago to turn Pidgin, everyone’s favourite multi-client Instant Messenger (works with gtalk, msn, yahoo, aim etc), into a customized answering machine (and more) when you are away from your computer. Basically it allows you to divide up your contact list into groups based on email IDs and execute actions based on when someone from a particular group messages you while you are away. e.g. For general friends, you can keep a message like “Will talk to you later when I come back”, or if someone from office IMs you, it’ll send them your phone number “Call me at XXXXXX if urgent”. And if you boss is the one pinging you, you could direct the message towards your twitter account so that you get it as an SMS on your phone immediately.

Time is short, so here are the details:


  • Group based rule execution, each group can contain any number of email IDs

  • Custom replies for each group.

  • Integrates with twitter and will forward the message to your twitter account (or send a direct message to some other account) if you so desire. (Temporarily disabled since Twitter has blocked their IM bot)

  • Runs as a separate process over d-bus instead of running as a pidgin plugin, so much lesser chances of crashing.


  • Pidgin > 2.4.1

  • Linux



  1. Unzip the attached package anywhere.

  2. Either install using the deb package or just copy the splert binary and config.txt to a folder of your choice

  3. Modify the “config.txt” file according to your needs.

  4. Run splert. (or run splert -h for checking out the available options though you wouldn’t need them most of the times)

Config File:

Config file fields and formats are explained fully in the sample config file included in the attached file. However, here is a very basic sample configuration:

[Friends] user = [email protected] message = “Not Here. Will talk to you later”

[VIP] user = [email protected] message = “Got your message. Will Contact you asap” twitter = 1 twitterto = my2ndtwitteracct

ChangeLog: 0.03 - Oct04 2008 -

  1. Added option to specify twitter bot id (e.g. [email protected]) using option “-t/-twitterbot”. However, you need to do any “extra” stuff manually. e.g. logging in using twlogin command with twitterspy.
  2. Added option to specify the status when you want to send messages instead of just when being away. Use “-s/–status” option to do this.

0.02 - Aug25 2008 -

  1. Fixed bug where response was not sent for 1st message received
  2. Added 32 bit package

0.01 - Aug15 2008 - Initial Version

Please let me know if you like it or found some issues with it. Also, let me know if you would like me to add any features to it.

See also