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I and a friend need to start to use some instant messaging and it seem like pidgin is a nice program to use. However it supports quite a lot of different protocols.

So my question is witch to choose?

Since both parties can use the same program we don't have to use the same protocol as "all the rest", but can focus on what is best to use.

As a side note both parties will be using Ubuntu based computers.

Thanks Johan

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Since this question is so subjective (of the "What is the best X?" variety), it would make sense to flag it as Community Wiki. – Stephen Jennings May 31 '10 at 7:45
up vote 5 down vote accepted

use xmpp (formerly known as jabber). open protocol, you can setup your own server or use one of the bigger ones (gmail). lots of extensions for all kind of data transfer besides text: video, files, encryption etc.

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+1 for XMPP. It's particularly nice if you already use (or plan to switch to) gmail, since you can then chat from the web interface when on someone else's computer, you can access your logs online, and it's encrypted to the server. Furthermore, there's some encryption plugins for xmpp over pidgin if you don't want google to see your chats, either. – nhinkle May 31 '10 at 6:18
+1 I like the idea with a open protocol :) – Johan May 31 '10 at 7:50

You can use AIM with pidgin, and its super easy to setup. If you want something a little geekier, try ICQ

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Well I do have a old ICQ account (since way back), my question is more like -"what does the others do?" – Johan May 31 '10 at 5:59
icq was "geekish" long time ago (around 199x), now it belongs to .. whom again? – akira May 31 '10 at 6:08

In my experience using the msn protocol can be flaky. Sometimes it sends the same message too many times. Sometimes messages are lost in transmission. I have not used AIM in a long time but they seemed to do a pretty good job last time I checked. I mostly use Googles IM services now (which uses xmpp). It seems to be the most reliable so far. You can log into gmail and view historical conversations. This is both cool and creepy.

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