Pidgin 2.0 Offers New Name and Interface

Version 2.0 of the free open-source Gaim instant-messaging client was released Friday under its new moniker, Pidgin. The name change was necessitated after a drawn-out scuffle with AOL over their “AIM” trademark.

After the original name of “GTK+ AOL Instant Messenger” created a stir with AOL, the developers switched to Gaim in subsequent releases, but the battle persisted. Following the advice of their lawyers, Gaim developers kept quiet about the struggle until recently, when they changed the name after working things out in a settlement with AOL.

Besides the new name, Pidgin 2.0 also sports a brand new interface. The buddy list now has compact and detailed modes, and the icons next to usernames no longer vary depending on what instant-messaging service a buddy is using. A green dot is now the universal sign for “logged in.” A whole new visual theme, including the icons, has also been introduced, and small additions like smooth scrolling, which slides in new messages instead of just dropping them, round out the new features.

The surge of traffic from the release seems to have killed Pidgin’s site at the moment, but the release is still available for download through SourceForge.