RealTime IT News

Former GAIM Takes Flight as Pidgin 2.0

Weathering a year-and-a-delay and legal entanglement with AOL, the leading open source instant messaging client has completed its makeover.

Pidgin 2.0 is now officially available, taking over where its predecessor GAIM left off, with an overhauled user interface and status system, as well as numerous bug and feature improvements.

Pidgin is a multi-protocol instant messaging client, that lets users access the MSN Messenger, AOL AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu and Zephyr networks. It also runs on several platforms, including Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

The official 2.0 release has been along time coming thanks to technical and legal challenges.

In October of 2005, Sean Egan, then GAIM's lead developer told internetnews.com the 2.0 release was expected at the end of November of 2005.

But Egan had just been recruited by Google to help on Google Talk-related efforts, and users attributed the delay to Google, with one community member accusing Google of calling the shots.

However, it turns out AOL was the reason GAIM version 2.0's release was delayed. AOL had threatened legal action against GAIM developers because GAIM has AIM, AOL's acronym for its instant messenger service, in its name.

In response to legal threats from AOL, GAIM changed its name to Pidgin and the developers pumped the release is out.

Apparently, demand for the 2.0 release was pent up. The Pidgin Web site on which the Pidgin project is hosted was down for most of the day Friday.