I’ve been an instant messaging fan for years, but I quickly grew tired of having three different clients open in order to connect to everyone. At work I, and others, have been using Trillian and Trillian Pro for some time to enjoy an ad Free, multi-protocol, IM experience. Trillian is great, but it isn’t available for Mac.
So, I’ve been using Fire for the better part of a year on the OSX side. Fire is great. Although, it is missing a couple features I had come to rely on in Trillian Pro. The first one that comes to mind is the way that Trillian inserts the last several lines of IMs to and from a buddy into new chat windows. Fire logs messages, but you have to look at them in a separate file.
A week or so ago, I ran across AdiumX, which is another multi-protocol IM client. AdiumX gives me everything Fire did, plus it sports a few other nice features. The user interface is a little sleeker and more customizable than Fire. The tabbed chat windows are a great addition and really cut down on desktop clutter. The integration with Address Book is also nice, it can display a person’s real name as opposed to their buddy name so you don’t have to remember that Mad$kilz872 = Jim.
Overall, AdiumX gets my vote. Of course, if you are a Windows users, you won’t be able to use AdiumX. In that case, I would go with Trillian over anything else I’ve seen or used. All three of the clients mentioned here are freely available for download. AdiumX is free, but accepts donations on their web site. Fire is also free and I can’t seem to find a place to send donations to the developers. Trillian offers a free basic version, and a slightly more advanced Pro version which is worth the $25 price tag in my opinion.