It's that time again-- how could i have forgotten! Since Karmic, the new release of Ubuntu, is in development, it is once again time to talk about Empathy replacing Pidgin. This discussion will keep coming up until it finally happens. [Forum link]
Empathy is great for most users, especially new ones, and it can replace poth Pidgin and Ekiga. It is now the default IM application in GNOME and Fedora plans to make the switch as well. It only lacks a few basic features outlined by Nicolò Chieffo on the mailing list:
- Rich text messages
- Msn chat with invisible users
- Msn send and receive offline messages
- Msn file transfers
These are certainly not showstoppers and including it in Karmic would pretty much guarantee that they would be resolved within the release cycle.
Empathy is simple and integrates well, and we want to make Ubuntu friendly for new users. Old users who prefer the clutter and feature madness of Pidgin will simply install it from Add/Remove (or not even have to if they run an upgrade). If Ubuntu switched to Empathy, it's development is going to get a big boost so the feature gap will close and eventaully reverse. Some people disagree with this reasoning but i also weigh the pragmatic benefits and disadvantages. In this case, perhaps this message posted by Rick Spencer says it best:
I think switching to empathy is a fairly substantial change, and people
in good faith will and should question that change.
However, given Danny's points, the fact that pidgin will stay available
and supported, the responsiveness of the empathy developers, indeed all
the factors discussed at UDS, I see no reason to back off from the
decision made there.
Are people really defending Pidgin for the future of Ubuntu or just as their pet IM client?