I am a long-time fan of Gaim, the multi-service IM chat client. With it, I can chat with friends and colleagues on MSN, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Jabber, Google Talk, ICQ and so on. I’ve used it for years, and it works great.
Then the developers decided that it had too many useful features, so they renamed it “Pidgin” and ripped out just about everything useful about it. Now it’s just a pile of broken garbage, and I’m not the only one who is upset about the changes.
I’ve tried to talk to the developers with a sane, logical line of reasoning, but you can’t reason with people who just care about standing on their own soapbox. There’s absolutely no reason why they’ve made the choices they’ve made, other than to piss people off. Seriously. They’ve turned a useful client, into a crippled, GTK+ version of Adium.
My biggest problem is that the children maintaining Pidgin right now, seem to think its an IM client for “geeks, gamers, and nerds”, but not one that is used by business professionals and corporations. One major feature that was removed, was the ability to see which members of your buddy list were on which IM services.
For example, if “Mike Smith” is on Jabber chatting with me, I know not to send him Not-Safe-for-Work links or images or files. If however, “Mike Smith” is on AIM chatting with me, I know I can send him whatever, because he’s using his own machine at home, not his work machine at work.
With Pidgin, two “Mike Smith” names will appear, both with the identical green dot next to the username. I can’t tell which one is on which service.
They’ll argue that I can hover over the buddy name in the list, and it will show me which service they’re on… but that doesn’t work if “Mike Smith” pops up a chat with me, since I won’t know which “Mike Smith” in my buddy list it came from.
I’ve actually asked them why they’ve made some of these changes, and they claim its simpler and easier to just have one icon for all people in the list. I just can’t see that as being easier, since now it takes either 3 clicks, or an [Esc] + double-click + hover to discover which IM service a particular buddy is using.
Oh but I can go to “Send To” in the “Mike Smith” active chat window, and it will show me which service he’s coming from. Sure, so instead of an at-a-glance, I either have to shut down the chat window and open one from my buddy list, hoping to get the right “Mike Smith” service, or I have to click into a menu option to see which service he’s talking to me with.
It’s stupid, assinine, and ludicrous. The last time I tried to ask for the location of the last gaim source, the children in the #gaim (redirected to #pidgin) irc channel on Freenode told me to basically pound sand, because there was nothing requiring them to grant me access to the source, since I did not have a binary.
If you try to pull the svn source to Pidgin, you get the same sort of treatment. No source, no svn access, no downloads that are not releases.
Maybe some day when they realize what a real development environment, supported by a real development community is about, they’ll pull their heads out of their asses. Until then, I’ll just use some other IM client through Wine, or I’ll use KDE’s client.