domingo, 7 de noviembre de 2010

IM clients and possibilities

Most Windows users are familiar with MSN Live Messenger, which they call "the chat program" (not accurate technically speaking because MSN Messenger is an instant messaging (IM) service, not a chat). They believe that it is the only way you have to communicate with friends who are away if you do not have Skype.

However, thanks to the proliferation of botnets and MSN viruses, Windows users might have noticed how their sessions with MSN are plagued by unwanted messages ("See this video", "click here for an offer", blah, blah) and by unreliable log in time.

When I migrated to Linux, one of the first things I discovered was that you can keep using MSN Live although you are not running Windows. You do it with one of the many Linux IM clients...and the beauty is that you do not get the problems that are associated to MSN Live Messenger. You have to learn to compromise, though, as their functionalities are different.


This program is an MSN Live Messenger clone. It can enable video calls, but not conferencing. For those who like IM with a cam, this is a good option. I have tried it from Mandriva to Mepis (Linux-Linux) and it works. The cam feature does not seem to work from Mandriva to Windows, but it is OK with me because I was never fond of the video cam sessions anyway. As MSN Live Messenger, this IM client works only using MSN network. That might seem obvious, but I said it because most Windows users think that they need an independent program for each different account they have. So, most Windows users have a program for MSN, Skype, etc.

This is the default IM client in KDE. This Linux program is simple and supports many more accounts. One interesting feature is that this little program lets you know when one of your MSN contacts is in invisible mode: that's right, no hiding from the eye of Sauron. The problems: no video.

This is a simple but extremely powerful IM client. Because of the possibility to extend its functionalities, this IM program can control your MSN, Yahoo, and even your Skype account without any hassle. Yes, you log in and you can communicate with all of your friends and contacts with this little thing. It also has a fun feature called "psychic mode" that lets you know some seconds in advance when one of your contacts is typing a message for you before he or she sends it (you read something like "You perceive a disturbance in the force").
This program can also run in Windows. Again, it does not support video but for that's fine with me because I like IM to be fast and reliable. Video is a nice add on, but not an indispensable one for communication.

As I said, the IM experience in Linux can be a little different if you learn to compromise: there are features that you don't get, but there are many others that you were not even aware of and that might enrich your IM sessions, such as data encryption, effects, plugins, etc.

4 comentarios:

  1. If all you need is IM, those programs are fine. It seems, though, that the trend is taking basic IM to the cloud. That saves time and installation.

  2. Are you sure about Kopete and video?

    im pretty sure you can use it with Yahoo. At least it did
    last year when I last used it.

  3. I have a Datacard connection to the Internet which is unstable by nature (even more in my country because that service is just beginning); in addition, MSN Live Messenger is not a stable IM Service as many friends and my own experience have shown. Sometimes I sent messages and my friends didn't receive them, or more often, I didn't receive the messages from my friends or receive them 30 minutes later. I tried AMSN in my Windows operating system, and it is working very well. Besides being more stable in terms of connection, the problem with the undelivered messages stopped. As you mentioned, it doesn't offer conferences, but because of my experience with MSN Live Messenger and the fact that I didn't use that option very often, I don't have problems with that. In the same way, if one is not used to talking with friends through video, Kopete and Pidgin are still useful. And one of the most important elements which made me prefer AMSN has to do with viruses. With AMSN I don't have to run programs that try to clean the viruses of my IM program nor to receive messages from my friends asking me for a message I didn't send. I have tried AMSN and it works better than MSN Live Messenger in terms of the basic uses that I need it for.

  4. "You have to learn to compromise, though, as their functionalities are different."

    I think that many people (and I must be honest: I tend to be one of them) do not go for a change, even if that change will bring some advantages, because they simply do not like to compromise. It may result "uncomfortable", boring, or complicated to take some time to open ourselves to change. In our country, there's a saying that reads: "Más vale viejo conocido que nuevo por conocer". Many people stick to that saying, and I feel that they do so because that's the perfect excuse to NOT do anything. Sadly, with this attitude we might be letting good opportunities vanish in front of our eyes. I have experienced all those problems with MSN Live Messenger, too; and now that I find these other instant messaging options, I think it's the perfect time to forget about being afraid of changes once and for all, and start adopting some new, beneficial changes...