I just today switched IM clients. For awhile now I’ve been using Trillian Pro. Been with them for awhile. Yesterday I started looking at something else due to the ICQ protocol problems Trillian has had over the last week or so.
What’s #1 to me is my IM client has to be multi-protocol. There’s NO WAY I’m running all the individual clients – that’s just stupid. I have a lot of industry connections on every client there is, so I have to have them all. That’s why using the “real client” was never an option.
Two choices for replacements were Gaim and Miranda. I ended up going with Miranda, as I liked it’s interface better than Gaim’s. Gaim was nice, but it “felt” to me like a Java app. Standalone Java apps have an odd “feel” to me, and while Gaim may or may not be one, I have to like the programs I use regularly, otherewise I feel like I’m fighting the program, and I have enough going on to be worrying about that. It’s a nitpicky thing I admit, but it’s my reason. That was not the only reason, but it was one of them – another is listed below.
One thing my Trillian suffered from was bloat. I looked at my installation, and it was 114Mb. Miranda is 5. Now, of that 114Mb, 48 of it was my log archives. I was stunned to find I have 48Megs of IM logs. I didn’t realize I was on it so much. Anyway, take away logs, and it’s still 55Mb or so, Miranda is about 1/10th of that size. Tons of the features from Trillian I never used, nor would I ever use made up all that space. Trillian was taking over a minute just to start, and Miranda is instant.
So after giving Miranda and Gaim a drive through I decided to go with Miranda. It’s fast, quick, and it’s sorting of server side contact lists is something that Cerulean should have had in Trillian. It’s far superior than anything else, and was my primary reason for switching to this program vs Gaim. I had about 215 contacts on my list when I started this – some I had forgotten about, and several I had no idea who they were. Miranda’s tools allowed me to clean that up and have it stick. I tried it a couple of times with Trillian, but my changes always were reverted for some reason I could never find out. Hell, Miranda doesn’t even have a splash screen – you can add one as a plugin, although I don’t know why you’d want to do that.
Another thing I wanted was my contacts to have the images for the individual service next to their name. Some folks I have 3-5 contacts for the same person, so I’d need to know which service they were on (one guy I know has 8). Gaim may have had this option, but it wasn’t easily accessible, and Miranda did it out of the box, so that was a big deal to me. As I recall, Trillian didn’t do that by default either, I had to add it in a skin, which was more bloat – I prefer not to use skins if I don’t have to, as they just add to the overall memory usage of the program.
I basically use IM for chat only. I know there’s other things you can do (video chat), but none of that interests me. Out of the box, Miranda is “no frills chat”, which is exactly what I wanted. There is a plugin system to add things, but to me, that’s why I left Trillian. If I wanted to junk up my im client, I’m sure I could bog down Miranda the same way Trillian got with RSS readers, weather plugins, and Gmail checkers. I’ve added only a few plugins to Miranda. The ones I added are:
1) Sounds – Out of the box, Miranda is mute, and I’ve gotten used to hearing a sound when something comes in. With so many windows open at once, a sound is necessary. It’s not technically a plugin, but since it’s something I added manually, I wanted to mention it. There’s all kinds of goofy sound packs at their site, but I went for a really basic one with just a few beeps and boops.
2) Metacontacts – That was one thing I liked in Trillian. For the guys that have 3-5 (or the one with 8), having multiple names in the same group is a waste of space. This is a good way to have those 5 accounts for the same guy appear as one.
3) History++ – The one thing that’s the biggest negative with Miranda is it’s history. I’m sorry, but it’s complete ass. It will only let me look at one line at a time – what the hell is with that? Fortunately, someone has written a decent history viewer. I can’t believe the people writing Miranda think that allowing you to look at just one line at a time in history is acceptable. Here’s the built in history – no way was that acceptable.
Anyway, the change is done. Trillian Pro (which I actually paid for awhile back) is gone from my machine, and in it’s place is a really streamed down copy of Miranda which has functionally the same featureset I had in Trillian Pro 3.1. Miranda is free, is a good slick program, and something I can definitely recommend.