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On: 2006 / 05 / 04 Viewed: 162376 times
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Eight or nine years ago, I was using a fun little proggie named ICQ. It was fun, showing me when friends were coming online and sending little messages. Quickly though, I started to pretty much hate the whole IM concept, and at the same time all the people I was doing online stuff with were part of the same community, gamers, so I moved onto IRC as my last messaging tool. Or so I thought :)

Lately, I've been in need to keep more or less in touch with two friends who happen to use IM. One is on MSN, the other is on Yahoo. I played a few minutes with Yahoo Messenger and when it became obvious that this kind of bloated over-featured software is exactly what I don't want to use, I thought : "hell, someone smart must have made something that would allow me to connect to MSN and Yahoo with the same tool". A google query later, I found about words like "gaim" or "trillian" I had heard about for years without even wondering what these would be for :)

So here it is : a biased, superficial, unneeded and quick review of Gaim, Trillian, Miranda and Instant-T.

What I needed

I want something that allows me to write, read, send and receive messages. And that's about it. I don't need something that allows me to make up fancy avatars, change my status every time I go to the bathroom, listen to music, watch videos, do the laundry. Well ok, I wouldn't mind a plugin for the laundry.

There are gazillions of multi protocol IM clients, but it seemed to me that the most popular ones for Windows were, in no particular order : Gaim, Miranda, Trillian and Instant-T. Feel free to bitch about your favorite software I'm not mentioning here :)

Download

IM client installers downloaded Duh. I think I might have already found a winner. Ok, what is my spare Windows box for if it's not for useless and redundant sofware installs ?

Gaim

At first glance from their web, I was not convinced : I usually not really like Windows ports of linux softwares, which always come with their special needs for some awry GTK or Cygwin library.

Gaim was quick to test : it simply refused to stay in my process list for more than 2 seconds. No visible crash, no message, no alarm, just… nothing.

Trillian

I think their motto must have been something like "let's make a client for 12 protocols… and build every single feature from AIM MSN and Yahoo in it !". Bloated. Yikes.

Instant-T

Actually I almost liked it, but little touches like the skinned interface and the lack of options and control over it made the software last no longer than 5 minutes on my computer. Bye bye.

Miranda

IM client installers downloadedFrom the first click I knew I would love it. It's a plain zip, not an installer, it's lightweight, it's compact, it's tiny, it's simple. It's an IM client, nothing less, nothing more. And there are a very lot of options to configure and control it.

Even if I was using only one protocol, say Yahoo, I would recommend using Miranda instead of Y! Messenger. It's so much faster, smoother and cleaner you just can't dislike it if you don't love it.

Conclusion

Miranda pwnz them all.

On a side note, I think I really should try Bitlbee someday. It's an IRC to other protocol gateway, hence allowing you to chat with buddies from IM networks within your regular IRC client. The usage looks a bit tedious to get started, but since I generally have an instance of mIRC running and I really need IM for one or two friends, it could be quite cool.

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This entry "Instant Messaging Clients : Mini Review" was posted on 04/05/2006 at 9:48 pm and is tagged with , , , , , , ,
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3 Blablas

  1. Polo says:

    Je vais tester ca, vu que j'utilise gaim actuelement :)

  2. Dx says:

    Miranda pwnz them all.

    LOL! Yeah, Miranda IM is somewhat lightweight.. but what happened with GAIM????

    I'll try it…

  3. armouf says:

    tu devrais peut etre tester wengo qui est parait compatible avec tout ca + skype …

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