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People are always hounding about how everybody should use Pidgin or Adium or messenger-of-the-week 'x'. But why? For users who only use one or two services, is there any reason to switch?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

No advertising and a ten-fold improvement in application startup time are my reasons. The plugins and themes with Pidgin are attractive, as well.

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Depending on the operating system, there may or may not even be an official client. In the case of Mac OS X, the official client may not have the features you want, or simply you don't want to have 6 different IM applications open.

Programs like Adium and Pidgin allow you to customize and bring all your IM accounts together in one (usually much faster loading) program that makes it easier to handle. Your downside is some features aren't supported but I'll gladly give up nudges, winks, and handwriting for good old text based IM any day of the week.

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I switched away from pidgin; I now use google talk and an MSN transport for my MSN chatting because

  • I can use it on any PC with a java-script enabled browser by simply opening gmail
  • I can connect to Google Talk with my smart phone by running fring
  • The chat logs are safely stored in gmail rather than scattered around all the devices I use
  • I can search the logs the same way I search my mails
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I prefer PIDGIN because I can integrate all my other IM accounts, and for the 'alias' feature to rename all my buddies to the nickname of my choice.

AIM is so bloated I hate even seeing the UI.

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I would suggest that a strict multi-protocol messaging program (like adium) is not that big a jump for someone who's on pure MSN (or whichever program), but that they should consider Digsby (or something similar), which also handles Twitter and Facebook updates.

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I use Miranda IM instead of MSN Messenger because the UI is a lot smaller and cleaner looking. And mainly when it's up on my screen at work, it doesn't look like I'm fooling around. Also, it has a bunch of plugins, adding features the other clients don't have.

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I use Adium on OS X for the following reasons:

  • Better integration with Growl for message notifications
  • Much more themeable, I have very good control over the chat UI
  • Feels more like an OS X app

I only use MSN with it as all the people I need/ want to IM are MSN users so I could use the Mac MSN client, but I have more options now ;)

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