I've been trying to get Finch working on one of my boxes, which I want to use remotely from a secure shell.
Thus, no Gui requirement.
(For the uninitiated, Finch is the commandline version of Pidgin, an Open-Source multi-IM client that can replace MSN, ICQ, etc etc.)
After a bit of searching I found a useful article on how to do it though the article dates back a few versions.
So here's a quick note on what I did.
Firstly grab the latest pidgin source file from Pidgin.IM.
You need bzip2 to uncompress the file using tar -xvjf filename.
Move into the directory created... theoretically the next command you need to run will be ./configure but there's more to it than that, thanks to dependencies. As a CLI only tool that I want to use for ICQ, MSN, Jabber (XMPP) protocols I elected to do the following:
apt-get install gettext libxml-parser-perl libxml2 libxml2-dev gnutls-bin gnutls-dev
./configure --disable-gtkui --disable-gstreamer --disable-meanwhile --disable-avahi --disable-dbus --disable-perl --disable-tcl
The above meeting what I took to be minimum dependencies, and at the same time eliminating some by not installing features I don't intend to use. Note by disabling perl and tcl it's going to be quite hard to add scripted features to it later... should I decide I want them i'll install them later and recompile.
It works, anyway.
Not saying the above is gospel - but it works for me.