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Pidgin integration with MS Lync Server Instant Messaging

CERN uses Microsoft Lync Server as the base of instant messaging services. While this platform is well integrated with Microsoft Windows clients and with Apple Mac OS X ones, integration was lacking for Linux clients.

This documentation outlines the setup process allowing Linux clients to benefit from integration with Microsoft Lync instant messaging using Kerberos authentication.

While the initial installation of required software is specific to CERN SLC6 and SLC5 Linux distributions, following configuration steps shall be applicable on any modern Linux platform - running at least Pidgin 2.7.X, Pidgin-SIPE 1.15.0 plugin and configured for CERN Kerberos realm.

Software installation

As root on your SLC6 or SLC5 system run:
# yum install pidgin-sipe
(it may already be preinstalled on your system: SLC 5.9 and SLC 6.3 versions include pidgin-sipe plugin in default install) once installation of required software packages finishes, please restart Pidgin.

Configuration

  Start pidgin (Menu Applications -> Internet -> Pidgin Internet Messenger)
Select Add Account ( or if you already have configured pidgin - select Manage accounts from Accounts menu and click Add.)
In Basic tab
Select Office Communicator as Protocol
In Basic tab
Enter your CERN e-mail Firstname.Surname@cern.ch as Username
Leave Login field empty
Leave Password field empty
Do not check Remember password checkbox.
In Advanced tab
Select Kerberos as Authentication scheme
Check Use Single Sign On checkbox. Leave other fields empty
then click on Add/Save to finalize account setup.

Note: Kerberos authentication for pidgin sipe plugin works only on enterprise internal networks, internet Lync gateway does not provide this functionality - this is the current Microsoft Lync Server limitation.

Note: While pidgin-sipe plugin supports (to some extent) audio/video calling features of Lync Server (softphone), current pidgin versions on SLC6 and SLC5 do not have support for audio/video compiled in, therefore this feature is not available for now. Audio/Video calling is available on newer pidgin versions but it will not function properly between pidgin and Microsoft Lync clients due to unsupported protocol encryption and incompatible video codecs...