I’ve been a Pidgin fan since it was called “Gaim”. This multi-protocol chat client is not as feature heavy as some of the others out there, like Trillian, but gets the job done efficiently and wrapped in a pretty package!
Pidgin is an instant messaging program for Windows, Linux, BSD, and other Unixes. You can talk to your friends using AIM, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr.
Some of my favorite features include the updated interface – instead of having little AIM “running man” icons next to all of my AOL instant messenger buddies, I now have a green circle (indicating they are available) and if they are away, a blue and white clock.
When I move my mouse over a buddy’s name, I can see what IM client they are connected to, how long they have been online, their buddy icon and if they are away, their away message. Saves me plenty of clicks!
The buddy list can also be customized, so you can either see the full information as you see in the graphic to the right, or a condensed list without the buddy icons.
Pidgin is lightweight, but has plugins, so you can modify the client to add functionality or just plain fun to the Pidgin program. Unlike Firefox, however, Pidgin comes with some plugins already installed/available to enable in its Tools > Plugins menu.
You can enable, disable and configure (most) of Pidgin’s plugins to do things from logging conversations, adding timestamps, notifying you that someone is about to send you an IM, and more!
My only problem with the Pidgin software is that I cannot install any version after 2.0.2 onto my laptop. I’ve tried removing ALL traces of Pidgin, and nothing works! It crashes every time!
But, I found a great work around – Pidgin Portable!
Pidgin Portable is a “portable” version of the popular Pidgin program for those Pidgin users who don’t always use the same computer for chatting! It is quickly installed on USB (flash) drives and you can use it anywhere that you have an internet connection and an available USB port.
I have installed the latest version of Pidgin Portable onto my laptop and it works GREAT! Now, I have access to all of the features of Pidgin and it has a small footprint! It is easily removable, and all of the files can be deleted at one time for ease of uninstallation.
This special feature, Geek Girl, appears every Monday. Subscribe to the Geek Girl feed to get new installments in your feed reader.