Beginner Builder series 75% done! will probably never be finished. :(

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pidgin: delivering your messages, purple style.

Ok, seriously, over the years, I've met alot of people online and in person, and alot of times, they use different IM services, but I want to talk to them. So I have two choices: run AIM, YIM, Windows Live, Gtalk, etc, or use Pidgin. Hmm....

Some features:

-Support for clients:
  • AIM
  • Bonjour
  • Gadu-Gadu
  • Gtalk
  • Groupwise
  • ICQ
  • IRC
  • MSN
  • MySpaceIM
  • QQ
  • SILC
  • Sametime
  • XMPP
  • YIM
  • Zephyr
  • Lesser known Facebook chat, Skype, and others.
I don't even know what the heck some of those are! That's a ton!

-Plugins: they're all over the place. Alot come with the install, and you can get others, such as the
  • Plugin Pack - Just a ton of fun plugins.
  • Guifications - Pops up whenever you want, like when a buddy goes away, comes back, etc. Customizable, and skinable!
  • Music Tracker - Make your now playing your status! Support for a variety of players such as Amarok, iTunes, and even Songbird (with a little tweaking...or should I say "tweating"...)
  • Physic Mode - Comes with Pidgin, but I just have to say, I love it. I like being in the know of when someone is talking to me, and this plugin actually pops up a window when someone starts typing to you, before they even send the message! Most of my friends don't know that I'm eagerly waiting for their message, knowing they're typing before they even send it. Or you can message them with something like "You were just about to message me, weren't you?" and totally freak them out.
Unfortunately, the plugins are spaced out all over the internet, and are not collected neatly like Firefox's addons. But if you find know what you're looking for, they're pretty easy to find, and totally worth it.

-Status saves: statuses are important for me. Pidgin lets me save and manage saved statuses! You can select "Available" and then type a message, or leave it empty. When you click the status button, it shows the 6 (or so) most recent statuses, saved or not. By "saving" a status, it saves to a file, and shows up when you click "Saved Statuses." When "using" a status, it stays in your recent statuses for a while, but then disappears. But I mean, I love song lyrics for most of my statuses. So rather than having to enter in the same lyrics over and over again, I save them all. I'd say I have about 30 or more statuses saved up, and that's awesome.

-Smileys: That's right! Download smileys and use them, or make smileys and use them! That means if you like Yahoo smileys, use them! If you like Gtalk smileys, use them! And you can easily switch between them.

-Logging in HTML: First off, Pidgin has the functionality to log chats automatically, and group chats, and even status changes. But the really nice thing is that it has the option to log as HTML. No offense, YIM, but I like my logs to not be plain text files. But if HTML are using too much space, Pidgin gives you the option to save as txt also. But I like to save conversations and go back and look at them, or if my comp crashes or pidgin crashes (it's not perfect), I can go back to the log and see what we were talking about. Lovely.


-No webcam support: And apparently none for a while. According to ticket #34 on the Pidgin website, webcam and voice support "WILL happen eventually, but it is a rather large undertaking and very few core developers are interested in working on it."Still, until then, it's pretty annoying...

-Not very skinnable: Pidgin can only be "themed," and not skinned. Pidgin developers explain this better than I could or even understand, so you can check their site to find out more. It can be skinned by the GTK Theme Control, but that honestly really screwed up my display a ton. However, you can download GTK Themes (which is different), and help it look a little more homely, but it still isn't as skinnable as some would like. And I think, but not sure, that if you adjust GTK skin for Pidgin, it could effect other apps that use it such as GIMP and others...

-Avatars failing: This really ticks me off. When I select an avatar, it doesn't always show up, and even when it does, and it appears in the box, and even next to your name (I add myself so I can see my status....and so it looks like I have friends...), but other people say "Why is your avatar blank?" or "Why is it that picture from 2 months ago?" It's frustrating to say the least. But apparently, it's off and on because it works sometimes and doesn't others, and it doesn't for some people and does for others. The most annoying thing is that you never know when it happens. Frustrating.

-Messy lists: It seems to mess up my buddy lists. I used to have it really messy, but then I spent like 2 hours cleaning it up, confining it and deleting duplicates and old buddy accounts, and then when I signed on a different computer (even after I copied blist.xml, the buddy list file), it apparently downloaded it from the server or something, and messed it up. So it might not be the best for multiple computers if you are really picky with buddy lists.

It's Portable. Most excellent.

Overall, though, it's very enjoyable. I love having all my buddies on one list from all over the web. Is Pidgin perfect? No. Does it do everything I want an IM client to do? No, but pretty close. Pidgin is good because it's pretty lightweight, pretty reliable, and just good. It's good for if you want, like I said, multiple types of IM in one window and one program. If you only have one IM, you might consider going with that original client.

No comments:

Post a Comment