I realize that this announcement may stray a bit from the “web 2.0” theme of Rev2, but I feel that Pidgin and the open IM platform it supports do play an important role in the “new” internet. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pidgin, it is the open source IM application formally known as Gaim. Pidgin works with Windows, Linux, BSD and other Unixes, and supports many networks including AIM, ICQ, JABBER/XMPP (includes Google Talk), MSN Messenger, Yahoo, Bonjour, and IRC.
The wonderful thing about Pidgin is that it supports logging in to all of these networks at the same time. In addition to the traditional instant messaging functionality, Pidgin also offers many network specific features like file transferring, and status messages.
Thanks to the Google Summer of Code program, many new features are included in the latest version of the software. The most exciting feature for a lot of users will be the MySpaceIM integration. Now in addition to all of the other networks, MySpace addicts can use Pidgin to communicate with other MySpace users. Other great projects sponsored through the Google Summer of Code include a virtual classroom plugin, and improved SSL support. Yahoo IM now works with Pidgin as well.
For users who prefer a web based platform to handle some of the same networks, I recommend Meebo. Services like Meebo and software like Pidgin will hopefully push the big IM networks towards a more unified solution, where users can communicate with each other regardless of platform. Google and AOL teased users before when Google announced the eventual compatibility of Google’s Jabber platform and AOL’s instant messaging platform. Although this has not come to pass, Pidgin provides a great interim solution.
Interesting Note: “A pidgin is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups who do not share a common language, in situations such as trade.” – Source: The all-knowing Wikipedia