I moved on from dial-up BBS systems to Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and have continued to use IRC for the last 14 years near-daily for personal and professional business needs with a program called Bitch-X (text-mode) and then later a program called X-Chat (gtk+ based with support for lots of plugins).
A few years ago there was some controversy about the licensing of X-Chat, specifically for Windows. If you want a completely free, unencumbered version of X-Chat for windows, use the version from Silverex instead.
Then I moved on to using Instant Messaging (IM), via a program called ‘gaim’, which was a multi-protocol IM client. Within the same interface, you could aggregate your AOL AIM, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber, ICQ and other accounts into one place. Life was good.
Then the developers began having internal turf wars, and they broke it. Badly.
Then they renamed it.
Then they removed all of the previous gaim releases (which is actually a potential violation of the GPL licensing which binds gaim and is also directly violating the Terms of Service of Sourceforge, ahem).
Then they began removing more and more of the useful features of the client.
Then they broke it again. And again. And again.
Then they closed off their irc channel and began banning people who differed with their philosophical opinion on what features should and should not be allowed in the client. Right now there are 172 users in the project support channel (##pidgin on Freenode), and 45 of those users are permanently banned.
Now they’ve removed the ability to let the window manager decide where it should place the application’s windows and you can no longer resize the edit box. Because of all of the turf wars and in-fighting, Jabber servers outright block pidgin clients from connecting (but those same Jabber accounts work fine from other IM clients; Linux, Windows and Mac OSX).
And now there are enough pissed-off users of pidgin that a group of developers have released a project called “Funpidgin“, which puts back most of the features that the core Pidgin developers removed, and Funpidgin promises to remain in lockstep with the core pidgin releases.
Open Source projects like X-Chat and Gaim should not undergo this kind of turmoil. We’re here to HELP, and to create communities, not to act like children and crack and sever communities apart.