Monday, April 09, 2007

Gaim is now Pidgin

Well thats right folks, GAIM has changed its name to Pidgin , LOL

Apparently this was done to offset a suit by AOL.

A pidgin, or contact language, is the name given to any language created, usually spontaneously, out of two or more languages as a means of communication between speakers of different tongues, and usually a simplified form of one of the languages. Pidgins have simplified grammars and few synonyms, serving as auxiliary contact languages. They are learned as second languages rather than natively.

Like Hinglish :P

Here is GAIM's official news release :

Many years ago when this project was first started, it was called "GTK+ AOL Instant Messenger." AOL naturally complained, and Mark Spencer changed the name to "Gaim." AOL was appeased, and no one really ever heard of it because there were very few users back then.

A few years later AOL trademarked "AIM," and started referring to their IM services using that name. They complained. The issue was brought up on Slashdot, and the Gaim developers at the time got some legal support. That legal support advised that the ongoing discussions with AOL be kept confidential until fully settled, and so it remained. The public thought the issue had gone away then. It sorta did, in that AOL stopped responding to Gaim's legal support for a while.

Our legal support has changed several times, and each group of lawyers have recommended silence & secrecy. Around the time of Gaim's first 2.0.0 beta, AOL came back into our lives in a very strong way, this time threatening to sue Sean.

This represents a clear pattern. AOL received more pushback than they expected, and would sort of let things stand for a while. Then they would threaten a different Gaim developer. Each time a new Gaim developer was threatened, we had to look at new legal support, to prevent a conflict of interest.

This process could not go on forever. As a result we ended up forming the Instant Messaging Freedom Corporation, and making it legally responsible for Gaim. We also had our new legal support work to create a real settlement with AOL that would get this issue dismissed from our lives forever.

Getting a settlement with AOL has taken FAR FAR longer than we would have ever guessed. On legal advice, we have refrained from any non-beta release during this process as a show of good faith, and to keep AOL from giving up on it. Again, on legal advice, we have also kept this information closely controlled.

At long last, I am pleased to announce that we have a signed settlement and can release our new version. There is one catch however: we have had to change the project's name.

After a long, and unfortunately secret debate (as we could not say why we were looking at a name change, we ended up just doing this ourselves), we settled on the name "Pidgin" for gaim itself, "libpurple" for libgaim (which, as of 2.0.0 beta6, exists), and "Finch" for gaim-text. Yes, the spelling of "Pidgin" is intentional.

Since so much is changing between the name and the nature of the 2.0.0 release itself, we decided to go ahead with something we have talked about doing for a while now. We have set up our own server, kindly donated by DVLabs. As a result our new home will be www.pidgin.im and developer.pidgin.im We, at least for now, will still be using SF's mirroring system for releases. However, the bug tracking will no longer be on SF, and we will be migrating the mailing lists at some point soon. Also, we have chosen to go with monotone for our revision control, rather than the SF cvs or svn.

In the last week or so, an upgrade to SF's infrastructure caused an old version of the gaim-cabal list to become briefly public. It has always been our intention to end-of-life this list and make its archives public once the settlement was signed. Fortunately, the legal process has concluded, allowing us to make a formal announcement now, instead of months from now.

I, and all of pidgin's development team have deeply hated the need to keep some portion of our work, decision making and discussion secret for a time. I sincerely apologize that as a result of this need, you all have had no chance to help us with it, and to provide feedback.

Now that the settlement is signed, we hope to have the final Pidgin 2.0.0 release late this week or early next.

We are going to release it with a 2.0.0 version number, and an API compatibility layer for plugin authors. The project has not changed; this is our 2.0.0 release, not some new program that requires new version numbering.

3 comments:

Rohit said...

What a pity! Gaim was such a catchy name (hey this rhymes!), but Pidgin? It looks like a misspelt word and an equally horrible sound.

Abhishek Nandakumar said...

Gaim sound much better, it's still installed on my comp. I wish AOL could stop being AOL for a while. They're a bunch of idiots. I can never trust that company after they gave all private details of their users away to the government. That's something Google has always refused and always will. They even won a court case about this subject.

Ankit said...

I believe Google has been recently criticised a lot for its censorship policies, plus google for youtube and orkut has promised to share private details with the Indian Police.