I was an MSN messenger user for years, I was very angry everytime they ask me for a new version. They did it very often and I was obliged to download the new version with my slow network connection. Actually, MSN messenger developers found many bugs to correct, there is no harm with that but what is so annoying is to publish the new version without taking all the time to explore more bugs and correct it. The worst is to oblige people to download the new version. What if they're using dial ups and they can't afford the dowload time ! When MSN messenger 8 beta was released it was a real mess. It was like almost every week a new version to download !!
So MSN was very buggy, bugs in instant messengers are fatal! Because any privacy intrusion could turn your life to a nightmare. ( hacked bank accounts, hacked email passwords etc..) So we should put our security in the first place.
How many popular Instant messnegers? let's count : Msn, Yahoo!, ICQ, Google Talk, AIM ... and more. Imagine if you got friends in all these and you want to load them all together in one contact list. Would it be possible with Yahoo messenger or MSN messenger ? NO, or at least let's say not yet. I think these guys are more thinking about competition than satisfying their clients. Ok, you'll say yahoo messenger is compatible with MSN messenger and yahoo seems so happy with it he keeps on announcing " Yahoo is compatible with your msn !!" But let me tell you this : They are not 100% compatible. They're just talking about importing your msn contacts to yahoo! (and the oppositec) the IM software showed many bugs. Like the emoticans sending : If you put an emotican with your MSN messenger to a yahoo messenger he will recieve nothing !
Ok, enough talking about these bugging IM. Let's find a solution for our needs. You want to load all your contacts for ICQ and GoogleTalk and so on in one list you should use GAIM : it's the former name of the Pidgin free software. It's a multi-platform instant messaging client using different messaging protocols. Chatting is more interesting with Pidgin. I recommend it to every body. It's free software under the GNU General public liscence. click here to download.
Supported protocols ( by Wikipedia) :
- .NET Messenger Service (a.k.a. MSN)
- OSCAR (AIM/ICQ/.Mac)
- XMPP (Jabber, Google Talk)
- Internet Relay Chat
- Novell GroupWise
- Lotus Sametime (previously supported by the third party gaim-meanwhile plugin)
- QQ (previously supported by the third-party OpenQ plugin)
- Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) (at the moment only with chat function)
Limits and criticisms:
Pidgin is almost perfect, it doesn't support Video and audio conversations. Actually it's planned by pidgin authors. We can imagine how difficult this task to accomplish with all messaging protocols but still as dark point of this software. It's also criticized for saving password in readable text files which could put the user privacy at risk but the authors are convinced that "they won't give a false illusion of security" by doing encrypted files ( because they can be broken too).
Pidgin official website
Wikipedia Pidgin article