Which IM client should I choose?
October 20, 2004 1:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about finally using an instant messenger. Any suggestions on which I should choose? [MI]

I plan on using it very sparingly (no, really), but I'll need to be able to use it at work (Win98) and at home (Mac OS X.2).

Is there any discernable difference between clients? Do I need to worry about not being able to talk to users of a different system?
posted by me3dia to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
posted by agregoli at 1:54 PM on October 20, 2004

Gaim is open source/multi-platform/multi-protocol and spyware-free.
posted by mookieproof at 1:58 PM on October 20, 2004

I suggest Trillian at work and Adium X at home, and sign up with AIM and/or Yahoo.
posted by brownpau at 1:59 PM on October 20, 2004

Users of one IM network cannot, as a general rule, talk to users of another network. The only slight exception to this rule is AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), and ICQ, which are both really the same network, since AOL bought Mirabilis, the original creators of ICQ.

Since your home system is a Mac, it makes sense to choose iChat on that system, which you should find pre-installed in your Applications folder. However, by upgrading to Mac OS X 10.3, you will also be able to use iChat AV, which is a better, cooler version of iChat, that also happens to support audio and video. It's worth upgrading even if you don't want the AV functions, however.

iChat uses the AIM network, and lets you talk to AIM users as well as other iChat users, and also ICQ users. You can grab AIM for your Windows box here.
posted by Mwongozi at 2:03 PM on October 20, 2004

Use the IM client that all your friends use, so that you can speak to them and there is an actual point to it. Or use Trillian, which can connect to all networks, and IRC.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:35 PM on October 20, 2004

also a trillian fan.

at work you probably want to turn off the logs, which are on by default.
posted by fishfucker at 2:51 PM on October 20, 2004

like everyone else says, you need to use all of them. Some people use AIM, others MSN, and still others use Yahoo!. Very few non-spammers use ICQ anymore, but some do. Adium and Fire are both nice on OS X. Trillian works well in Windows.

Financial service companies, and anyone under a court order to retain documents, will record all your IM conversations regardless of whether you have logging on or off.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:00 PM on October 20, 2004

I'm not concerned about logging. I'm going to be on so irregularly, it seems silly to set up multiple accounts, so it sounds like Trillian is the one for me.

Thanks everybody. I heart AskMe.
posted by me3dia at 3:11 PM on October 20, 2004

You still have to set up multiple accounts with Trillian, you can just access them all with one client.
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:01 PM on October 20, 2004

I use AIM with AIMutation on top of it, that or DeadAIM is cool, but DeadAIM is like $5 now. But that's because ALL my friends are on AIM, so there's no point in really accomodating other protocols.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:09 PM on October 20, 2004

On MacOSX, Proteus and Fire are excellent multi-protocol messenger clients.

Both are based on the GAIM libraries, and neither does well with attachments or do audio/video chat.

But, if you like to see all of your contacts from all of the services in one list, they (like trillian on the PC) are the way to go.
posted by tomierna at 8:27 PM on October 20, 2004

Adium X for the Mac is a good Trillian-like option which I have been enjoying. The speech feature is a lot of fun too as it will read what you type, what your "buddy" types or both. Hillarity ensues.
posted by terrapin at 9:14 AM on October 21, 2004

Adium X is one of the best apps I've ever used. I love that damn thing.

Never really got into Trillian on the PC, though.
posted by jragon at 9:25 AM on October 21, 2004

I second GAIM. You can even make it secure with the gaim-encrytion plugin.
posted by Hackworth at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2004

I... fourth? AdiumX. Fantastic support and very customizeable.
posted by papercake at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2004

« Older Help me buy a new car.   |   Sports superstitions: What nutty stuff do you do... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.