Pidgin, formerly known as Gaim, is a multi-protocol instant messaging (IM) client for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows. It is compatible with AIM and ICQ (Oscar protocol), MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC, XMPP (Jabber), Gadu-Gadu, SILC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, Lotus Sametime, and Zephyr networks.
Pidgin users can log in to multiple accounts on multiple IM networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on AOL Instant Messenger, talking to a friend on Yahoo Messenger, and sitting in an IRC channel all at the same time.
Pidgin supports many features of the various networks, such as file transfer, away messages, and typing notification. It also goes beyond that and provides many unique features. A few popular features are Buddy Pounces, which give the ability to notify you, send a message, play a sound, or run a program when a specific buddy goes away, signs online, or returns from idle; and plugins, consisting of text replacement, a buddy ticker, extended message notification, iconify on away, spell checking, tabbed conversations, and more.
Pidgin runs on a number of platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Qtopia (Sharp Zaurus and iPaq).
Pidgin integrates well with GNOME 2 and KDE 3.1's system tray, as well as Windows's own system tray. This allows you to work with Pidgin without requiring the buddy list window to be up at all times.
Pidgin comes with a set of plugins that can tweak Pidgin's appearance or workings. They can also download plugins from the internet if they want more.