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Pidgin – Instant Messaging for the masses! February 16, 2008

Posted by oktyabr in cross platform, open source, other cool stuff, software, web.

Doesn’t everyone instant message nowadays? Seems like you are offered a new protocol every time you turn the corner… sign up with a major ISP, get a new webmail account, whatever… but what about an open source, cross platform chat client that does it all? Pidgin comes pretty darn close to filling that bill!

Now the truly geeky among my readers are likely to send me flaming emails if I don’t at least toss a couple of buzz words into the mix once… those words would be jabber and meebo! There! Are you happy?!?!

Look, jabber is certainly a great protocol. It does nearly everything Pidgin does and certainly has the framework in place to do much, much more. Meebo is maybe the ultimate “chat client without a client” software. It’s the cat’s meow… “Webware is the future baaaaBEEEE!” But this post isn’t about either of them, mkay? Why? Well, because while both have great things to offer neither of them is as easily usable or as quietly unobtrusive (when not in use) as Pidgin, that’s why.

Pidgin, the chat client formerly known as GAIM, is the chat client you should install for grandma. By default it supports no fewer than 16 different chat protocols, including yahoo, aim, msn, icq, irc, even myspaceIM and more, all in one client! Pidgin is the *only* open source, cross platform IM client (at the time of this writing) that also supports both Lotus Sametime and Novell Groupwise “out of the box”. Pidgin not only offers chat but also (limited) whiteboard support, logging and file transfer (per protocol) and the whole works is extendable with plugins!

Buddy list

Want to theme it? No problem. How about tabbed conversations? Yup! Got that too! Spell checking? Of course! How about from a command line? Well… Yeah! Sure! The command line version is called “Finch”! Oh, and you Mac people don’t worry… it’s there too… better known as Adium!

No other chat client, open source or not, cross platform or not, free or commercial, can claim the huge list of features found in Pidgin which is why it easily belongs in my top… something or other… list of “best open source cross platform software of all time!”

Shared with Flock – The Social Web Browser



1. Erin - March 15, 2008

Does Pidgin provide any additonal features not found on more common IM programs, as well as being able to integrate and send messages to people using one of the more mainstream IM programs

2. oktyabr - March 16, 2008

@Erin — I’m not sure what you mean?

As I said in my post Pidgin has LOTS of features and that is probably the “feature” that makes it stand out from other IM programs the most. No other IM has the extensive feature set that Pidgin does… 16 different protocols for instance, and again, the *only* chat client that offers *both* Lotus Sametime and Novell Groupwise… and that’s “out of the box”. I haven’t even started on plugins yet 😉

Integration? Again, I’m not sure what you mean here. I can exchange messages with *any* of my contacts from just about *any* other “mainstream” IM program… AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, etc. That is what is meant by “protocols” (16 of them!)

Give it a try and see what YOU think.

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