Adium: IM client for the Mac

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Adium is an instant messaging client for MacOS X. It was first written in 2001 by Adam Iser, a college student at the time, and has progressed through incremental improvements and complete rewrites (to make use of more capable libraries) to the point where it is now a very popular tool.

Its particular strength vs. iChat (the IM client that's built into MacOS X) is the number of protocols that it supports, and therefore the number of IM services that it can communicate with. These include AOL, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Jabber, and Google Talk. Technically, the fact that it relies greatly on plugins rather than its own hard code makes it easy to extend and expand. As well, "xtras" defined by users can be applied to change the emoticons the program uses, Dock icons, contact list styles, message styles, and sound sets; AppleScripts can be used to alter the program's response to certain trigger events.

There are literally dozens of free IM clients out in cyberspace and a review such as this can't possibly compare them all. There is an article in the Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_instant_messengers which goes into a very comprehensive comparison. Adium makes the grade as one finds evidence of great user and developer activity.

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