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While I'm able to install pidgin, I'm only after the CLI variant of finch for IRC.

More generally, I don't recall the specifics of how to add a repo, nor would I know which repo.

Primarily: how do I find the repo which would have finch for CentOS?

[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ 
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ sudo yum install -y finch
Last metadata expiration check: 0:13:32 ago on Sun 07 Jun 2020 05:07:27 AM PDT.
No match for argument: finch
Error: Unable to find a match: finch
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ 
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ lsb_release -a
LSB Version:    :core-4.1-amd64:core-4.1-noarch
Distributor ID: CentOS
Description:    CentOS Linux release 8.1.1911 (Core) 
Release:    8.1.1911
Codename:   Core
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ 
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ cat /etc/yum.conf 
[main]
gpgcheck=1
installonly_limit=3
clean_requirements_on_remove=True
best=True
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ 
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ yum repolist
CentOS-8 - AppStream                                                                                4.6 MB/s | 7.0 MB     00:01    
CentOS-8 - Base                                                                                     1.3 MB/s | 2.2 MB     00:01    
CentOS-8 - Extras                                                                                    27 kB/s | 6.7 kB     00:00    
Last metadata expiration check: 0:00:01 ago on Sun 07 Jun 2020 05:23:35 AM PDT.
repo id                                                  repo name                                                            status
AppStream                                                CentOS-8 - AppStream                                                 5,318
BaseOS                                                   CentOS-8 - Base                                                      1,661
extras                                                   CentOS-8 - Extras                                                       20
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ 
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ yum repolist enabled
Last metadata expiration check: 0:00:17 ago on Sun 07 Jun 2020 05:23:35 AM PDT.
repo id                                                  repo name                                                            status
AppStream                                                CentOS-8 - AppStream                                                 5,318
BaseOS                                                   CentOS-8 - Base                                                      1,661
extras                                                   CentOS-8 - Extras                                                       20
[nsaunders@rolly ~]$ 

On Ubuntu, yum install finch works fine.

2

According to rpmfind, Finch is not available for CentOS 8. Pidgin is available, as you have already noted in your question.

Since the Pidgin project does not provide pre-built packages on their own, you can consider building it from the source. See this page for instructions: https://pidgin.im/development/building/2.x.y/

As noted on that page, you can compile only Finch and exclude Pidgin by passing the --disable-gtkui parameter during the build process.

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