I used to think Pidgin was the funny English hybrid language spoken in far-flung lands. However, I’ve now re-discovered it as the best IM client there is. If there is one thing I can’t stand with IM clients it’s having too many of them. Although most of my contacts are on either Windows Live Messenger or Google Talk, it’s still annoying having two clients running, especially Windows Live Messenger which is getting increasingly sluggish and is absolutely awful at managing contacts.
Pidgin is therefore a breath of fresh air and the most recent updates make it now one of the best cross-platform, multiple client IMs out there. It’s just simply what every good client should be – simple, lightweight and bundled with only those essential functions that you need. However, what really makes most people fall for Pidgin is that it’s highly customisable with loads of great plugins.
One of the best features for me is that you can organise conversations in tabs. Tabbed browsing was one of the best innovations to come out of the browser wars but Pidgin is one of the few to have successfully implemented it in an Instant Messenger. It’s also fantastic at managing contacts allowing you to assign aliases to them (like you might on your mobile phone) and it comes with an automatic spell checker which is great news for me because I usually type in IM’s clients faster than my fingers can keep-up with me. The only real downside at the moment is that it doesn’t support audio or video conferencing although I rarely do this with my contact so it’s no big deal to me personally and I’m sure the developers will eventually implement it. Whether you are a Mac, Windows or UNIX user, catch this Pidgin while you can and you’ll never look back.