I started this post thinking that I had found the latest and greatest of Multi-Network Messengers but after a little research I’ve found so many new ones that I haven’t even heard of. Even though it doesn’t have a linux version yet, my new favorite is Digsby. Remember back when Trillian came out, back when it was free and that was still all we had if we didn’t want to run 3 or 4 different messengers side by side? To be fair, I’ve only used Trillian, Pidgin, Empathy, Nimbuzz, and now Digsby.

So far, for the features and the price, Digsby really does it all and does it better just not on the operating systems I want. When I’m done getting everything setup I’ll never have to do it again though because all my settings are saved with my Digsby account, another program called Instan-t appears to go this route as well. Let’s also not forget I mentioned that it’s completely free, unless you want to donate… You want to donate right? You want to donate *Jedi hand wave*.

Trillian has been around for years and as such is probably the most used MM out there… OK, well maybe it used to be. I kinda turned my nose up at it after they started charging for the full version, which of all things included technical support. Who the hell is going to use that?? <blasphemy> If you can’t google your problem in the first place you only need Windows Live messenger so you can talk to your coworkers in the sysops department at Microsoft. Windows Live does everything and has everyone on it, right? </blasphemy> Over the past few months I’ve found no greater resource for fixing any technical issue than the user community. Most the time I don’t even need to make a post, only careful and sometimes multiple searches will point me in the right direction.

Trillian also includes access to their web-based IM client if you purchase the full version… ohh boy. I can honestly say that I haven’t used such a feature in a number of years, the AIM web-based client was the first and last I’ll ever touch (save Meebo of course). It’s great in a pinch, I suppose, but with phones these days and the increased mobility of personal, full desktop operating systems (netbooks/nettops) I doubt it’s used frequently. If someone does use it, take it away and I bet they’ll find another, perhaps better, option. I have much less trust in the security of a public computer than I do of software companies in general so I wouldn’t want to type in any passwords unless it’s on a device I own and know anyway.

I’ve never found myself harping on Microsoft that much but I can’t say I expected I’d be saying this since using Ubuntu either: I miss how everything just works in Windows and what a wide variety of (sometimes free) software is available for Windows. Just to be clear, Ubuntu has been my best linux experience by leaps and bounds but there are always those one or two things that you run into that Windows handles better. Now, I’m glad I adopted Pidgin long before I even switched to Ubuntu since it was the default messenger installed before Ubuntu 9.10. Pidgin still doesn’t save my accounts or my settings like Digsby but I can’t get Digsby onUbuntu… le sigh. I shouldn’t have forgotten those passwords in the first place but that can’t be helped and also stay efficient.

To sum up my use: Nimbuzz on my iPhone, Digsby on anything Windows and Pidgin (or Empathy someday) on anything Linux. If I ever make my way to a OS X enabled machine I’ll then look into Adium. What I really want is Digsby though! Its integration with social networking and email on top of the multi-protocol IM blows all the others out of the water.

Check out the Multi-Protocol IM Comparison Chart