A coworker has recently recommended new multi-protocol IM application to me called Pidgin. I was a bit skeptical because I have tried other IM applications that claim to support all chat networks. However, when I use them, they were all disappointments.
According to the Pidgin website, it supports a long list of chat networks (AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpaceIM, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo, Zephyr) . It also works on Windows and Linux.
So, I've decided to give it a try.
Now, I've been using it for a week. It's not the greatest and most beautiful IM application out there, but it does the job. The GUI is simple. It is fast. It works well with Yahoo, MSN, and Google Talk. I especially like the fact that it's free and open source. ;)
There are a lot of plugins on the website, but I haven't try any of them. I've only played around with some of the plugins that come with Pidgin but are not enabled by default (e.g. conversation colours, etc.).
The only disadvantages with Pidgin are that it is very hard to change skin/theme and there aren't many theme choices. The main reason being Pidgin uses the GTK+ Toolkit for creating its GUI. Having been using Google Talk (desktop version) for a while, I can live with this simple, ok looking GUI. ;)
I've found a site that tells you how to change the look & feel of Pidgin: