It was originally created in 1998 with the name: Gaim. It’s completely free and open source. Did I tell you that its available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris and even Amiga!
The best part of Pidgin is that, unlike other desktop clients such as Digsby,Yahoo! etc. which show nagware and spam you to the core, Pidgin lets you do what you intend to: Chat Peacefully! It sits quietly in the tray so that it won’t come in your way.
The internet is full of flash-in-the-pan desktop IM’s lost their users shortly due to spyware and spam. Digsby is a infamous example
During my 3+ years of usage, Pidgin has never crashed, by never I really mean never, whether it’s on Windows or any Linux distribution. Oh, and the memory consumption is shamelessly low on multiple platforms. Not to forget mentioning, it is totally void of any malware .
Download: Pidgin. It’s installation is a routine next-hit-next-ok method.
Pidgins user interface consists of two major parts:
- Buddy list, which allows you to group friends, remove unwanted friends(!) from chat without going offline or creating a seperate list, set your status, group the same buddy from Gtalk, Facebook as the same.
- Conversations, which can either be grouped in the same windows in tabs or each one can be put in its own seperate window.
Exploring its Features & Plugins :
You might be now wondering why am I harping so much about a chat client. Well to give you an example, imagine typing “wer r u?” and your chat client smartly translates it into “where are you?” while it sends the IM.
Yes pidgin has huge bunch of cool plugins which can be downloaded from the Pidgin plugins web-page and applied just easily. For example, if you like the emoticons in Facebook, you can use this icon theme pack for Pidgin. Further, some neat themes can also be found on DeviantArt.
To install any plugin (icon themes are an exception) copy the dll file to:
X:\\Program Files\\Pidgin\\plugins (or C:\Program Files (x86)\\Pidgin\\plugins on 64-bit Windows).
To configure plugins, just press Ctrl+U or go to Tools > Plugins
Now here comes one of the best concepts ever implemented in a chat client: Text Replacement where you can add shortcodes such as “b4” which will automatically be converted into “before”. Turn it on and it can save a real lot of typing effort and time while chatting. You can customize it further it by selecting the configure plugin option.
This Windows 7 extension plugin is a must which enables you to enable better integration with Windows 7 and to use features like aero peek, jump lists , progress bars with pidgin.
There are several dozen more plugins which are beyond the scope of this article, feel free to explore them here.
Have fun with pidgin!