I have been using ICQ since the early days. Well, not that early because my UIN still has 7 digits. For a long while ICQ has been my primary, if not exclusive, instant messenger (IM) client because most my contacts are on ICQ. However, over the last 2 years I have started getting more contacts from other IM networks, and now I am running ICQ, MSN and Yahoo concurrently. Moreover, at work we have also been using Jabber as our internal communication bridge, when the developers chat with other employees in Singapore and Perth. It is just getting a bit messy, and my Windows sys tray can easily cluster with different flashing icons waiting for my response. All of them use a big chunk of memory. All of them have different interface, and all of them keep their own copies of things.
Yuk! And I hate the original clients. Most of them are full of useless bells and whistles that you will never touch. They all pop up advertise, and they all try to make your desktop their own. A few things I have tried previously...
Trillian - a good looking IM client that supports AIM, ICQ, Yahoo and MSN. Nice support of different protocols. Reasonably stable. Good looking skins. However, there are some bugs that really annoys me. It hogs memory. It's history support is pretty basic - all the previous conversations are stored in a plain text file. Vivian is still using it, but I have abandoned it and moved on.
Miranda ICQ - a nice small ICQ client. It is actually probably the best ICQ client I have used because of its plugin architecture that lets many developers contribute their bits and pieces to form an extremely functional Mirabils ICQ replacement. It also has integrated MSN support for a while, as well as a recently developed Yahoo protocol plugin. It is light in memory consumption, and its plain interface suits me well. I have been using Miranda ICQ for more than a year now, and I am still using it at the moment. However, besides ICQ protocol, none of the other protocols support SOCK5 proxy. It's proprietary single-binary-file database format also scares me - what happens if it gets corrupted? Moreover, I think I have found something more suitable for me....
For the past few days, I have been using Just Another Jabber Client to connect to my work's Jabber 1.4.2 server, running MSN Transport, ICQ Transport, Yahoo Transport and AIM Transport (even though I am not using AIM). Jabber is now the gateway to all my IM needs as it handles all the protocols/interfaces I need, centrally. JAJC is nice - good looking, implemented all the features I need (and all the features that I don't need), Unicode supports and yet stay low in memory usage. Jabber protocol is also open - you can implement you own server side features easily, and there are bindings for many different programming languages.
I feel satisfied now :)
Updated 5 April: I've changed the URL for JAJC. Jabber.ru seems to be dead at the moment, and I just realised that there is a new URL for that excellent Jabber client.