- dotTech - https://dottech.org -

Pidgin, Trillian, Miranda or Digsby: “Which IM app should I use?”

bestimapp [1]Lets be honest here: who does not instant message (IM) nowadays? Heck, I walked into the advising office at my university and the front desk secretary was IMing my adviser to see if she was available. So most of us, if not all of us, IM. The problem is the whole world can’t agree on which IM service to use. AIM? MSN? Yahoo? Gmail? [Insert IM service here]? To address this we-can’t-make-up-our-minds issue, programs where created where you could use multiple IM services in one program instead of having to download the client for each service individually. If you ask in public “What IM application should I use?” a turf war will be started between the Pidgin, Trillian, Miranda and Digsby fans. All this fighting prevents the important question from being answered: “Which one should I use?”. Well I am here to try to help you solve that problem.

Each of the four mentioned above have their advantages and disadvantages:



  • Universally supported – works on more then just Windows.
  • You don’t need to create a server side account to use.
  • Has intensive plugin support.
  • Supports many IM services out of the box.
  • Fairly lightweight.


  • When it comes to Windows, it lacks basic functionality without plugins.
  • File transfers do not work a lot of the time.
  • Does not have an eye candy interface.



  • Works out of the box.
  • A good balance between computer resource use and aesthetically pleasing interface.
  • You do not need a server side account to use.
  • Good plugin support.


  • Free version has limited support when it comes to IM services.
  • File transfers usually never work if other person does have not Trillian.
  • Only for Windows (have a Mac version in the works).



  • Very lightweight.
  • Extensive plugin and skinning support.
  • Fully customizable.
  • Supports many IM services out of the box.
  • You don’t need to create a server side account to use.


  • Takes a lot of customization/setting up to get it to be how you want it.



  • Beautiful interface.
  • Supports many IM services out of the box.
  • Has intensive support for emails and social networks.
  • Fully featured out of the box – no need for plugins.
  • File transfers usually work even if the other person does not have Digsby.
  • Developers are constantly releasing patches and updates.


  • Has its fair share of problems every now and then with email notifications.
  • Uses slightly more computer resources then the alternatives.
  • Only on Windows (a Mac and Linux version are in the works).
  • Little to no plugin support.

I have used all four mentioned about so I know for a that, as mentioned earlier, each of the four have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for an IM application that is very light on computer resources, go with Miranda. If you want an IM application that is light on resources but needs less customization then Miranda, go with Pidgin. If you want a good-looking application but would rather not have to create a server side account, go with Trillian. If you want an application that is very aesthetically pleasing, supports more then just IM services out of the box go with Digsby.

If you want my personal opinion, I say while all of the IM apps are good, Digsby is an awesome IM application that surpasses all the rest. Sure it may use a little more computer resources then the rest, Digsby is very easy to setup and works out of the box – no need to install plugins or anything. Also, besides allowing you to connect to AIM, Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, ICQ, and Jabber IM services, you also have the ability to monitor multiple emails from different email services (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL/AIM Mail) or even a custom email service (via IMAP or POP) and social networking (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn) accounts. Digsby is very easy to setup and works out of the box – no need to install plugins or anything. It has a very aesthetically pleasing interface and file transfers usually work no matter what IM application the other person you are talking to is using. The only drawback to Digsby is that you must create a service side account. However if you ever travel anywhere if you download Digsby and login to your account you don’t need to readd all your IM services – they are already there. As you can tell I currently use Digsby :). My favorite feature in Digsby is the ability to have Digsby monitor my @dottech.org emails and alert me when I get new ones.

Here are download links for all four:

Pidgin [2]

Trillian [3]

Miranda [4]

Digsby [5]

Which application (if any) do you use? Post below so we can segregate dT readers by their choice (or lack of choice) of IM applications and start our own sectarian violence.