Jan
02
2011

[Review] Pidgin

This is a review of the Software product Pidgin, an open-source instant messenger client.

Contents of this review:


The Basics

System Requirements:

Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / 7; and numerous Linux/Unix variants including Ubuntu and Fedora.

No other information supplied by the developer.

Price:

Free!

Software description as per the developer:
(Note: Developer software descriptions are copied directly from the developer’s websites, so all spelling and grammar mistakes are taken in context)

Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.

Pidgin is compatible with the following chat networks out of the box: AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MXit, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr. It can support many more with plugins.

Pidgin supports many features of these chat networks, such as file transfers, away messages, buddy icons, custom smilies, and typing notifications. Numerous plugins also extend Pidgin’s functionality above and beyond the standard features.

Pidgin integrates with the system tray on Windows, GNOME2, KDE 3, and KDE 4.

Pidgin is under constant development. Releases are usually frequent and driven by user contributions, such as bug reports and patches.

Pidgin is free and contains no ads. All our code is open source and licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means you can get Pidgin’s underlying code and modify it to suit your needs, as long as you publish the changes you make for everyone to benefit from as well.


[easyreview title=”The Ratings for Pidgin” cat1title=”Ease of Use” cat1detail=”Fairly straightforward, with a minimalistic look, and chat windows just like what you may be used to in other applications (if smaller). However, it can be hard to understand the menus and find certain settings on occasion.” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Performance” cat2detail=”Pretty breezy with little lag, although File Transfers are notoriously hit and miss. Pidgin can start to drain RAM after a while of usage though – though it never gets to the massive waste level of, say, Firefox. Much will depend on the system being used in question.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Usefulness” cat3detail=”With so many IM networks supported in one program and the ability to add more via plugins, a wide variety of network features supported for many of the networks, simple chat interfaces and full logging, among so many other features, Pidgin is a must for anyone who has lots of different Instant Messenger accounts and lots of friends spread over them.” cat3rating=”5″ cat4title=”Price” cat4detail=”Can’t argue with free!” cat4rating=”5″ cat5title=”Editor’s Thoughts” cat5detail=”This category stands for nothing. Rather, the score here is an additional rating reflecting the views of the editor towards the program after all of its pros, cons and features have been examined. This allows for adjustments to the score when the final score isn’t clear after all of the previous categories.” cat5rating=”5″ overall=”true”]



Full Review

To be posted at a later date…



Verdict

Pidgin is one software I heavily recommend to anyone who uses more than one IM network on a regular basis. Its small size, simplistic nature and the huge amount of IM services supported is a massive productivity booster and also means you don’t have to have loads of different IM software products cluttering your computer. Its extensibility is also a massive plus. However, you may need to take a fair deal of time just finding everything and getting used to some more complex features. It’s worth it, though!

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