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Gaim Renamed — Now Pidgin IM 498

An anonymous reader writes "Announced on the Gaim mailing lists earlier today, the Gaim project is being renamed. This follows a lengthy and, unfortunately, secret legal process with AOL, which also prevented any code releases except betas. The project will now be known as Pidgin IM. Development is being migrated off of as well and is now being hosted on"
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Gaim Renamed — Now Pidgin IM

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  • by thephotoman ( 791574 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:34PM (#18651721) Journal
    I've been playing around with the 2.0 tree of Gaim for a while now, and now that the legal issues are fixed, it'll be nice to finally see a stable release version of Gaim with a reasonable feature set. I don't care what it's called.

    Also, AOL needs to go off and die. The previous sentence is nothing but pandering to the /. crowd.
  • april fools (Score:2, Insightful)

    by minus_273 ( 174041 ) <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:37PM (#18651765) Journal
    this should have been posted on april first.
  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:41PM (#18651791) Homepage Journal
    Very sure.

    AOL gives away their services for free right now, mimicing Yahoo and Google, trying to get by on having a large network of users they can direct targeted advertisements at.

    If people opt not to use AOL products and services, AOL loses money.

    If the project has an obscure name, people are more likely to never hear of it, or pass it over.

    GAIM sounds like an AIM replacement.

    I nominate that we all say a big fuck you to AOL and forever refer to Pidgin as the Program Formerly Known as Gaim.
  • You do realize that if AOL goes of and dies then AIM will stop working, right?
  • by ancientt ( 569920 ) <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:42PM (#18651805) Homepage Journal

    It seems reasonable that if your product is Product Sucks and you offer Product Sucks Messenger (PSM) and somebody else comes out with something that works like your product, only better and names it GNPSM (GPSM's Not PSM) then you'd have a reasonable complaint. It seems odd to me that this wasn't voluntarily changed years ago.

    I personally have used both products and wouldn't use the "official" AOL client if I had any choice and in fact have never personally installed it on my computers. I've had the misfortune of using computers that had it foisted on them but sometimes its hard to convince people to switch when they already have something they "know how to use."

    I'm sure the new name has wide approval and it's too late for suggestions, but I wish they'd gone with "Nonsucky Chat Client" instead.

    I know it is coming so I'll head it off, yes your client is better for whatever reason you claim. Yes, I've used IRSSI, Zinc, XChat, Mozilla's whatever it was called and others. I like the client formerly known as Gaim because it was always easy to set up and easy to use and easy to explain.

  • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:49PM (#18651849)
    No, it's a perfect name for such a product. They obviously know how the product is used. In fact, I'm rather surprised the name wasn't already taken.
  • by zanglang ( 917799 ) <zanglang@gmail.RABBITcom minus herbivore> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:52PM (#18651875)
    After all that hoohah with Apple's "pods", Google and whatnot I think most of us have already been wondering at some point why Gaim is still keeping that name, especially since AOL isn't well-known as a conglomerate that plays well with this community... At least Gaim, the name, has had a good long run.

    That being said, *Pidgin*? *LibPurple*? That sure sounds... odd. I wished they took up the chance to pick a really good name worthy of one of the best long-time open-source projects around. Now we have to face on onslaught of bird jokes the next time we're sincerely recommending instant messaging software to Linux newcomers. :/
  • by emblemparade ( 774653 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:58PM (#18651901)
    The disgusting legal issues notwithstanding, I have to say I'm very pleased with the change! I really hate all the cryptic acronyms so popular in the free software world. "Gaim," especially, was awkward and ugly. Pronounced like "game", is it? "Pidgin" is a terrific name. It immediately implies what the software does, and rolls nicely off the tongue. I'm also *really* happy with 2beta6 -- it was exactly what I needed to let me leave Windows, where I was dependent on Trillian for far too long. Pidgin supported Unicode correctly, which I needed, and there's a handy plugin that lets me read all my eight years worth of Trillian logs. I'm a very happy Ubuntu user now. As long as I have the stage: I'm sorry that the Pidgin team had to endure AOL's despicable treatment. Big kudos to them for sticking through and listening to their lawyers. I feel like they "took the bullet" for a lot of us who use free software and believe that engineering achievements should be accessible to anyone, period. Y'all deserve a nice big hug for your service and commitment to the free software world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:11PM (#18651997)

    Please let this be a Joke thats a terrible name.

    I don't think its That bad you said The same thing about Firefox youll get Used to it

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:13PM (#18652019) Journal
    Please let this be a Joke thats a terrible name.

    Sadly, that's always the way with open source. I use The Gimp at work. Could you pick a worse name? I mean honestly do you know how hard it is to explain why you're using "The Gimp" or what "The Gimp" is? Until they see it's a graphical editor most people who haven't heard of it think I'm joking or their ears prick up wondering if they're going to have to call HR. You have Photoshop, Paintshop pro, and other well named image editors then you have "The Gimp". I mean honestly who comes up with this shit? Once you get past the name, it's a damn capable product even if it's not a total Photoshop replacement.

  • Re:Damn Shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:17PM (#18652053) Journal

    Then again, if we had a universal standard for messaging, everyone (Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo) could keep their clients, and everyone's networks would grow instantly,

    If you have a universal standard, what reason is there for anyone to use one (official, ad-supported) client over another?

    AOL wants to advertise to people on AIM, ditto for MSN, Yahoo & others.
    The IM client & service is not free.
    It is ad supported.
  • by Tragek ( 772040 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:26PM (#18652109) Journal
    Oh, I know that, intimately. I'm not advocating we abandon Copyright,IP or anything. I just wish that less time would be spent on it, and more time on the development that leads to that IP and copyright.
  • Re:Good name (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MisterSquid ( 231834 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:33PM (#18652149)

    Seriously, Gaim was a terrible name. Nothing against homosexuals, but Gaim -> Gay IM?

    Your comment betrays antipathy toward homosexuality because you bring it up as a reason for a "terrible name." Regardless of your patronizing "tolerance," the complaint you imagine is meaningless because if you're hearing "Gaim" as "gaym" then should also hear "gamers" as "gaymers." I'm betting dollars to donuts you would never advance the argument that gamers is a "terrible" word, whatever you say about having "Nothing against homosexuals."

  • by dysfunct ( 940221 ) * on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:44PM (#18652201)
    And am I the only one who pronounced it as "bitchin' IM"?
  • by Azuma Hazuki ( 955769 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:50PM (#18652229)
    This is yet another reason AOL sucks. Their software sucks, their user support sucks, their users (with a few exceptions) and now their legal department sucks. Seriously, what the hell is the point of doing this, and why do it NOW, after Gaim's been around so long?

    I do have to agree with the person who said #gaim is a hellhole though. I came in to ask a question about a segfaulting beta, got asked what distro I was using, replied "Gentoo," and was instantly kickbanned. The reason? "We don't like your kind here." And I'm not one of those ricing idiots who uses insane CFLAGS either. Now if only someone would write a simple GTK-based IM client, I would happily drop Gaim off by the side of the ditch like a hitchhiker with a massive case of BO.
  • Re:I for one.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jbo5112 ( 154963 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:26PM (#18652467)
    Don't you mean "I prefer pidgin"? *sigh* What good is a name if no one can get it right?
  • OMG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davie ( 191 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:36PM (#18652523) Journal

    Results 1 - 10 of about 3,130,000 for pidgin [definition]
    Please, for the love of God, if you're going to name a piece of software, use some made-up, bullshit name that doesn't produce over 3-fucking-million hits on google.
  • Re:Good name (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Caspian ( 99221 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:49PM (#18652597)
    For whatever reason, among young American males, "gay" means "bad", much like "sucks" (as in "sucks dick") has passed from offensive slang into quasi-respectable common use to also mean "bad".

    I can't think of another case where the name of a demographic group has been made into a common slang term with negative connotations. Some people use "to Jew" as a verb, but that's relatively rare. About the closest I can think of is "to gyp"-- i.e. to swindle like a Gypsy allegedly would.

    But neither "to Jew" nor "to Gyp" have even close to the penetration (ha ha-- no pun intended) of the nearly-universal use of "sucks" to mean "bad" and the very common use of "gay" to mean "bad" (or "I didn't like it").

    Imagine if people used the word "black" to mean "bad". And not just as in "black-hearted", but as in "Man, that play was so black", or "This pizza is black". Can you imagine the outrage? But nobody seems to care that "gay" is commonly used as an expression of disgust.

    This is just another example of the deep-rooted homophobia of modern American culture.
  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:06AM (#18652689) Homepage Journal

    A gimp is something well-formed, or beautiful.

    Yes, well, a faggot is a bundle of sticks tied together to be used as fuel, but that doesn't mean it would be a well-advised name for a package management system.

  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:09AM (#18652711) Homepage Journal

    I nominate that we all say a big fuck you to AOL and forever refer to Pidgin as the Program Formerly Known as Gaim.

    I vote we do it by switching to Jabber/XMPP.

  • Tell it to AOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erris ( 531066 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:22AM (#18652767) Homepage Journal

    saddening to see such a massive amount of resources and time and energy spent on those issues, rather than everything else that should be done.

    Yes, it's sad. That's why I quit giving AOL my money.

    The facts laid out by the Gaim developers were:

    • GAIM had the name first
    • AOL forced them to take the name GAIM because "GTK + AOL Instant Messenger" was too infringing.
    • When AOL decided to trademark AIM, GAIM became too infringing
    • AOL systematically and repeatedly harassed the developers until they gave up

    What a bunch of assholes, but I suppose that's what runs Time Warner. "Ass on Line" sounds like a good name for them.

    Lessons learned:

    • Trademark your name right away.
    • AOL sucks
    • "IP" Law sucks, so the first lesson may also be a waste of time.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:41AM (#18652883)
    It's not Pigeon - it's 'Pidgin', which refers to a number of English-derived dialects spoken in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

    All well and good.

    But the brave and ever-faithful "carrier" pigeon has been in service for over 800 years - and has done his duty in countless cartoons, war movies, spy thrillers, martial arts epics. He had a memorable cameo in Grim Fandango.

    It's the perfect logo for an IM, easily understood, easily pronouced - though just as easily mispelled - one that doesn't need the long-winded explanation that is so typical of open source.

  • Re:About Time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:45AM (#18652907) Homepage
    The pigeon/pidgin mistake is one that is going to be made repeatedly from now on.
  • Re:Thanks Guys (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nezer ( 92629 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:50AM (#18652927) Homepage
    Yeah, that will show em!

    You make some interesting points but... You go off on an obscenity-filled rant that negates your stance to the extreme.

    So far you've been modded up a bit but I expect this will drop down. If you had taken a few minutes and actually constructed an intelligent reply without so many expletives I would bet your comment would be modded to +5 insightful, instead it's likely to float between Insightful and Flamebait resulting in neutral karma.

    If you really want to make a point, lay off the cursing. It just doesn't work unless, like Dennis Miller, you offset them with really large and obscure words and/or references that makes everything think you're reasonably intelligent instead of just being a whiny a douchebag.

    You will catch more flies with honey than you will by calling them "freeloading jerkoffs" wishing they would "die in a fire and of anal rape" in addition to "ass cancer."

    Seriously, who modded this crap as insightful?

    I'm off to meta-moderate now.
  • Re:Careful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:16AM (#18653041)
    There are "creole" languages which did not arise from a pidgin language, however.[...] To differentiate them from the pidgin-creole continuum they are often called "mixed" languages instead.

    Sure, but those aren't creoles. Like you said, they're mixed languages. That some people refer to them as creoles is more sloppy terminology than anything else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:28AM (#18653113)

    "Pidgin" is a terrific name. It immediately implies what the software does

    Now I can only assume that you're aiming for funny mod points. "Pidgin" is not in my vocabulary. Not that it's worth anything, but I consider myself to have an "above-average" vocabulary.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:43AM (#18653175)

    Trademark law is weird... unlike patents, coming up with it first doesn't matter. And once you have a trademark, you must aggressively defend it in order to keep it.

    AOL may have been total dicks in this case, but its not clear that the law gives them a lot of wiggle room in this case. GAIM is a very prominent competing product with a similar name, and so it's quite likely that they could've lost their trademark right without taking this action.

    I'm no trademark lawyer, but it sure seems to me that instead of being total dicks, they could have simply granted GAIM a low or zero-cost license to the trademark. Thus "protecting" their trademark and not wasting anyone's time.
  • by dodongo ( 412749 ) <chucksmith@alumn ... .edu minus punct> on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:52AM (#18653223) Homepage
    But they're not talking about copyrights. They're talking about trademarks. You think any company with an enforceable brand should be forced to abandon that brand on account of arbitrary expiration dates? Twinings, the British tea company, has had an enforceable trademark on their logo for 300 years. Nobody really has legitimate grounds to suggest that's not an appropriate thing.

    (FWIW, I wholeheartedly agree with you on the issue of copyright... but let's not go getting ourselves confused).
  • by HeroreV ( 869368 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:56AM (#18653255) Homepage
    What I'm really tired of is all the bad names in the FOSS world. "Pidgin" sounds terrible.
  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @03:24AM (#18653603) Journal
    Oh please! It was an immature joke on the part of the developers, not some requirement for a unique name that drove them to the name "GIMP". Get a clue. What are you going to suggest next?: That regretably the next text editor will need to be called AnalEdit to avoid litigation?

    Hell you could have named it IMPG to avoid calling it GIMP. If that's taken single person can come up with thousands of names, and if you get a cease and desist you rename your product just as others have before. If you truely have so little imagination that you can't come up with a name, or are so gullible as to think it's impossible to come up with a new name that isn't owned by a megacorp, I suggest you go back to your teachers and request a refund for your education. By defending this kind of stupidity and insanity you're contributing to it.
  • by SillyNickName4me ( 760022 ) <> on Sunday April 08, 2007 @05:32AM (#18654009) Homepage
    What? Without copyright, it would be much more difficult to create these expensive low-return creative works

    Such works were already created before modern copyright existed. They were created with a 14 years copyright term as well, so there is very strong historical evidence saying that you do not need modern virtually infinite copyright for such works at all.

    if copyright as we have it now would have existed in the 1700s and 1800s, there would be a lot of music that would have been way too expensive to perform for many orchestras however, which would ave reduced interest in such music and would have made far less funds available, resulting in less such works being created.

  • by TheVoice900 ( 467327 ) <kamil@kamilkisie ... inus threevowels> on Sunday April 08, 2007 @07:23AM (#18654331)
    More likely the network would get absorbed and integrated in to either Google, MSN, or Yahoo....
  • Re:Tell it to AOL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SillyNickName4me ( 760022 ) <> on Sunday April 08, 2007 @09:21AM (#18654761) Homepage
    First of all, the acronym AIM wasn't that widely used prior to the AOL Instant Messanger.

    As pointed out (with references) by many posts in this discussion, GAIM as a name was in use before AIM.

    Hence, This specific use of a name very similar to AIM predates the use of the name AIM.

    Or a bit shorter if the above statement is unclear:

    AIM was NOT first, GAIM was.

    Second, most product names out there comes out of words or names that were in use before the product came out. Whether or not that move is a wise one is a completely different debate. But if you then come around with a competing product and intentionally name is something similar to the existing product for the purpose of making your product appear as just a version of the existing one (as the makers of Lindows did), then that violates the spirit of the trademark law designed to ensure products can be made distinctive.

    All nice and well, but as mentioned by many people, GAIM as a name existed before AIM as a name, so the situation you describe did not occur here.

    What happened here is this:

    Stage 1:

        AOL Instant Messenger was created.

        Someone created an alternative called GTK + AOL Instant Messenger.

        AOL objected, and the peopel behind GTK + AOL Instant Messenger changed their name to GAIM

    Stage 2:

        GAIM gets some use and a bit of publicity. It becomes a known alternative for AOL Instant Messenger

        AOL Instant Messenger gets renamed to AIM

        AOL trademarks AIM

        AOL starts harrassing the people behind GAIM

    So, it is extremely clear that AIM was NOT the first to use it, and that GAIM did not try to be as similar in name to AIM as possible because AIM simply did not exist as a name at all.

    It is also clear that AOL thought the name change smart, and changed the name they use themselves to become very similar.

    Because of this, AOL is acting against the spirit of trademark law, tho I bet they are within the letter of trademark law still.

    Skipped the rest of your comment because while true, it simply has no relevance for this situation.

  • by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @09:23AM (#18654771) Journal
    I think pidgins a pretty obscure word. I did some linguistics in school, so I my be biased, but I do NOT agree that most people would know what a pidgin is. I would hope a creole would be more known, but even that I have my doubts about...

    I saw at least one or two posts here saying that had no idea how to pronounce pidgin even.
  • by Esteanil ( 710082 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:18PM (#18658123) Homepage Journal
    Something like 95% of the income of copyrighted works happen in the first two years, as far as I can remember. (A quick google search doesn't give me a good source for this, I'd be very grateful if someone could reply with a source).

    Anyhow. Copyright is supposed to be for the benefit of society, and honestly, when the creator has gotten 95% of the income the work will generate, wouldn't it be good it society could benefit?

    Copyright lasted for a long time in the beginning, probably mainly due to the fact that it took a long while to propagate the materials to the intended audience. Today we have the internet. If it's good, it's available.

    Copyright should be 2 years. And fair use should be expanded.

    The copyright battle is as much a generational battle as it is anything else, the "old" are sitting on massive amounts of copyrights, most of them corporations. They bought out the copyrights very cheaply from the actual creator at an early stage.
    So of course the elected officials are getting in line, most of them are "old" too, and the copyright holders are paying their pensions.
    The young people of today are the ones infringing.

    Boicotts generally don't work, since too few people join them. But we do have one weapon. Piracy.

    It's time we made up our minds that sharing is civil disobedience.
    We're fighting copyright holders with a goal to have copyright reduced to two years and fair use expanded. Piracy is a weapon the copyright holders actually fear.

    Don't be a leecher, you're not fighting the good fight. Share.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.