Sunday, May 27, 2007

10 reasons to use pidgin as an instant messenger

Cio has an article running explaining the 5 reasons to use mysql for development. I thought i would follow it with my own article outlining 10 reasons for using pidgin (previously gaim) as an instant messenger. You can read what pidgin is and what it is used for at the pidgin website.
  1. Pidgin is multi-protocol and multi-platform:- The first and the foremost reason for using pidgin is that it is multi-protocol supporting virtually any messaging protocol a user requires plus it is platform independent. You can run it on linux, windows, bsd any platform you want.
  2. Large userbase:- Pidgin is the most popular instant messaging protocol and included as default messenger in many bsd and linux distros. It has been time tested by a large user base and once you start using it you rarely go back to using another messenger (i have been using it for over 3 years and rarely use any other messenger).
  3. Multiple login support:- Most of the time users have multiple logins available for a particular service which they use it for different purposes(home, business etc.). Most of the messengers don't allow multiple logins(without using some kind of illegal hacks or patches). With pidgin this is natively supported. You can login in any number of accounts you want to login to at the same time(more then 10 accounts are logged in on the same computer at my home all the time and i have tested it by logging in for 120 accounts which included the accounts of all my classmates in my college and it worked like a charm).
  4. Large developer base and actively developed:- There are numerous developers all over the world actively maintaining pidgin and squashing bugs whenever they are found. Although, pidgin has a long way to go we are moving ahead by leaps and bounds :). They are soon going to get one more developer!!! Me.
  5. Free support:- Support for pidgin is free. Whenever you have any problem you just have to join the irc network here and here in case of any problems and i am sure you will find somebody to help you out immediately.
  6. Sharing of profiles over multiple platforms:- You can share your profile over multiple operating systems effectively having a common configuration over all the systems. You change one configuration and the change is reflected to all the installations. To some this might mean nothing but it is a boon for developers like me who frequently hop between multiple platforms. Although a very convenient feature the documentation for this is very hard to find. Just use the following line to launch the application pidgin --config="your configuration directory".
  7. Scripting and plugin support:- Pidgin has native scripting support. You can write scripts in perl and as of version 2.0 in python. Using these scripts you can make pidgin dance to your tunes. There is a plethora of plugins available for pidgin which you can use to extend the functionality of this wonderful messenger.
  8. Encryption support:- Many people know it that using any kind of sensitive infomation while chatting is very dangerous for privacy. With the encryption plugin you can use any kind of information with no worries whatsoever. You can read more about privacy issues here.
  9. Anonymity support:- With the off-the-record messaging plugin you can hide yourself completely so that the person at the other end doesn't know where you are chatting from. This is a state of art plugin and i believe it is one of it's kind and available for pidgin only.
  10. Finch:- Finch is the text base pidgin which can run on many linux and unix variants. It is very easy to use and the best availabe text based messanger out there. Although lots of people love GUIs but believe me this works just fine.
  11. Tabbed GUI(Added):- The browser wars have proven how important a tabbed interface is for the overall functionality and usability of application. Pidgin has an easy to use tabbed interface (windows easily traversable using CTRL+TAB) which makes chatting much more fun.
Like many messengers pidgin has some bugs but i think that it has too many merits which outshine any bug which exists. Just give it a try and i am sure you will love it.


Thor said...

By "any platform", I assume you mean "any platform but OSX".

sandeep said...

Pidgin does work on MAc and it has although i have not tested it on mac as i don't own one. I have successfully tested pidgin on BSD, linux and windows systems (several variants of all of these)