How important is instant messaging (IM) in your online life? For me, I don’t spend much time at all on IM. However, it is an important communications medium for me as a lot of my colleagues, friends and clients use it as the main method of staying in contact.
There are many popular IM protocols; Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Google Talk (which actually runs on the Jabber protocol) are among the more well-known. I have contacts on all these protocols, but running dedicated IM clients for each of them would be out of the question.
When I’m using Linux, Pidgin (formerly known as Gaim) would be my IM client of choice. However on Windows, I feel that getting it to run is overkill. Just to run that one app, I have to install GTK for Windows… a library that none of the other apps I use require.
That’s not the main reason why I don’t use Pidgin on Windows. I only use Windows on my company assigned notebook computer; a Dell Latitude D505. It has good battery life but is lacking on the processing power front. Therefore, having an IM client that consumes too much processing power is a big no-no for me.
Mind you, running Pidgin is less resource intensive compared to running four or five IM clients; it’s just that I can’t afford to allocate even that much for an IM client. I needed a replacement multi-protocol IM client on Windows that is lighter than Pidgin.
For about six months now, I’ve been running Miranda; a multi-protocol IM client that claims to be smaller, faster and easier than any other. Well, from my experience that claim is justified!
I only have good things to say for Miranda. In most instances, it occupies under 2MB of RAM. Although lightweight, Miranda is no slouch. It supports all the protocols I’m subscribed to and virtually any function that is not supported out of the box can be added via plugins. I like to think of it as the Firefox of IM clients. Light and functional default installation, yet extensible to your heart’s content.
So if you’re looking for a robust but light IM client, you can’t go wrong with Miranda. I wished Miranda had a native Linux build though. I’d dump Pidgin for it in a heartbeat.