Using Pidgin

By: Mary Riley

Let's be honest: managing multiple instant messaging accounts on different services can be a pain in the neck, especially when you need a different program for each account. That's not fun, even if your dream is to have your system tray touch your Start menu (or your System menu, GNOME folks!). Ignoring that fact, IM programs tend to be buggy, slow, and bogged down with advertising. Plus, most multi-protocol clients tend to cost money. I don't have money. But I do have a solution. Read on, kind person who reads thy articles.

Everyone, meet Pidgin. Pidgin is an open-source instant messaging client that allows users to connect to a wide variety of Instant Messaging clients. Don't believe me? I don't blame you, so here's the supported list:


  • AIM

  • Bonjour

  • Gadu-Gadu

  • Google Talk

  • Groupwise

  • ICQ

  • IRC

  • MSN

  • QQ

  • SILC

  • SIMPLE

  • Sametime

  • XMPP

  • Yahoo!

  • Zephyr



That's pretty cool, no? The best part is the interface, which is built with GTK2. It's really, really lightweight, so it won't be a nasty little resource hog. The Away and Available messages are a breeze to set, and you can use one message for all the networks you are currently logged into. And you can be logged into all of your accounts at the same time.

Also, Pidgin supports all the other stuff you've come to expect. It will rest in your system tray. It has buddy icons. It has sounds. It will notify you when buddies come online. It will check your e-mail. It won't do your laundry.

Oh, and it doesn't have ads in it. Nice!

Pidgin is an open-source program, meaning that it's created, written, and maintained by a group of volunteers who do it with a not-for-profit mindset. The code is freely available, and the program is free to use and to edit. The application recently changed its name from Gaim, and has been around for quite awhile now.

How can you get Pidgin? Easy! It works on both Linux and on Windows, and Linux users can get installation directions from this website. All those using other operating systems can get more information from the Pidgin project website.

Interested in switching to Linux? You can find the list of applications that work with Linux here in order to help you with the switch.

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