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Developed bySean Egan
Latest release2.2.1 / September 27, 2007
OSCross-platform (Windows, GNU/Linux, no Pidgin for u if u use Mac).
TypeInstant messaging client

Pidgin (originally known as Gaim) is a multi-platform instant messaging client which allows you to connect to all the different IM services. It is free software available under the GNU General Public License and works on all the popular operating systems used today


[edit] Supported protocols

You can use Pidgin to talk to anyone using the following protocols (and thus, all services using them):

  • .NET Messenger Service (a.k.a. MSN)
  • OSCAR protocol|OSCAR]] (AOL Instant Messenger/ICQ/.Mac)
  • Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (Jabber, Google Talk)
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • Internet Relay Chat
  • Gadu-Gadu
  • MySpaceIM
  • Novell GroupWise
  • OpenNAP
  • SILC (protocol)
  • Zephyr protocol
  • Lotus Sametime
  • QQ
  • Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) (chat function only, no voice)

[edit] Third-party protocol plugins

There is also plugin-support' for the following protocols. They do not work out of the box, you need to get hold of the plugin and install it to get support for these protocols.

[edit] OS availability

You can use Pidgin on GNU/Linux, BSD, and Windows.

[edit] Security

You absolutely have to be very aware that most IM protocols are based on plain-text.

Middlemen can and do listen to your IM conversations unless you use a plugin which provides encryption.

A huge issue with Pidgin in terms of security however is that ALL OF YOUR ACCOUNTS AND PASSWORDS ARE STORED IN A PLAIN TEXT XML FILE. This is horrendous and the Pidgin developers need to stop doing this.

[edit] Encrypted Anonymous Conversations

The Gaim extention gaim-otr, available from, is essential if you are considering making Gaim your primary IM client. This plugin provides Off-the-Record Messaging support, which means that you can write what you want without having to worry about the small data-transfer specific link in the chain of events who take place when you are carrying out your conversation. Realize that end-to-end encryption of your IM conversation does not prevent Xiando(tm) - nor anyone else - from placing a bug inside your computer keyboard, a microcamera directed at your computer screen and so forth.

[edit] HOWTO resize the buddy list window

You can not shrink the main buddy list window beyond a ridiculous huge width by default. The solution is to active the extended preferences plugin. Click configure to change this plugins optinos and check the box for "Allow buddy list to shrink below normal size constraints". This will allow you to resize the main pidgin window to a sane size.

IM-Client Type Rating OTR .NET (MSN) AOL GG ICQ IRC Jabber (XMPP) Jingle LS NG SMS Winpopup Yahoo!
Bitlbee IRC 7 N Y Y N Y N Y N N N N N Y
Pidgin GUI (GNOME) 9 P Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Gnome Jabber GUI (GNOME) 2 N Y Y(j) Y(j) N N N N N N N N N
Kopete GUI (KDE) 8 N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
  • P = Available using a plugin
  • (j) means the (Jabber) clients supports this protocol of the Jabber server supports it using an extention such as pyicq-t or pymsn-t.
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