Pidgin is a multi-service messenger app that lets you chat with users from MSN, AIM, Gmail, ICQ, and more, all from a single app. Users can keep their modern clients but also keep in touch with their old-school friends and family who just refuse to get off AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. It also supports lesser-known protocols like Jabber, MySpace, and Gadu-Gadu.
Installation was pretty straightforward: You'll be taken through a series of standard confirmations for install directories and then be introduced to an initial setup process to have your accounts synced up. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, we were unable to get Facebook Chat to work, due to some XMPP validation error. It's okay, though; you're probably on Facebook right now, anyway.
Users can create custom responses, or "pounces," for notifications from specific parties or IDs. That means that if you receive a notification from an important friend or family member, you can create custom triggers and alerts. Other options include mail notifications (as for Gmail users) and custom add-ons like transparency effects, buddy tickers, and more.
The interface is very minimal and clean, with a standard green/red/yellow dot to indicate user activity or idleness, followed by the name and avatar. You can set your own custom notification and status message on the bottom and change your own avatar directly from the main menu. It's as simple as it gets.
Pidgin is free and open-source. We recommend it especially for users who want to use a single message client for multiple services. In the meantime, tell your friends stuck in the 1990s to discover Gmail or Facebook.