Windows Live Messenger contacts showing as online even though they are offline

Maiku cmaiku at
Fri Sep 19 15:01:12 EDT 2008

2008/9/19 Richard Laager <rlaager at>:
> On Fri, 2008-09-19 at 11:37 +0200, Pepijn Schmitz wrote:
>> Ah, yes, I should have clarified that. I thought it would be implicit
>> in my remarks about mobile phones icons, about this behaviour changing
>> in version 2.5.0 and about Pidgin showing them as "online", not
>> showing them period....
>> I already have "show offline buddies" turned off, but Pidgin
>> nevertheless shows some offline MSN contacts in my contact list, and
>> shows them as online and available, with the green icon and
>> everything. I have verified with Windows Live Messenger that they
>> really are offline, and they don't appear to be receiving my messages.
>> The common factor seems to be that all these contacts have a mobile
>> phone icon next to their buddy icon in Pidgin.
> I'm seeing the same thing: users are NOT online, but are showing as
> online/mobile in Pidgin and don't receive messages I send them.
> How exactly is this mobile stuff supposed to work?
> Richard

As of 2.5.0, MSN has two ways it does mobile messaging. The first is
when the contact sets up their mobile phone with MSN, possibly through
an MSN client on their phone, and they will be able to log on and off
with it. The other method is done when you set a contact's mobile
number. Then you can send text messages to their mobile phone, but
they appear always online.

I'm starting to think there ought to be a distinction between the two
modes as not everyone wants to use the latter mode. Also, there's no
way to tell between a contact which is mobile through the first method
or the second method (except possibly by the way it sorts by status).
I'm not sure if the other protocols handle just one or both types of
methods. With the first, it implies they're there. With the second,
their phone could even be off.


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