So Long Pidgin.

Aug 10, 2008
Updated • Aug 10, 2008

Last week I posted an article discussing some of the issues with messaging application Digsby, and why for now I chose to instead use Pidgin.

My conclusion was that although Digsby is a fantastic messaging client with good design and features, the 70mb+ RAM usage became just too much to put up with.

Only a few days ago however I was excited to see that the Digsby team has released a new alpha build for testing purposes. Apparently the developers have spent the last few months completely rewriting the underlying architecture of Digsby in order to bring RAM usage down to an acceptable level.

“We completely reworked the architecture to use less memory and also improved the memory management by releasing objects when they are no longer needed.  We also hunted down and eliminated numerous memory leaks.  All in all, these changes lower Digsby’s RAM usage by over 50%. It should now hover in the 20MB - 50MB range depending on how many accounts you have and what you are doing at the moment.”

That’s not all, the Digsby blog post also describes these other changes:

User interface should be performing between 2 and 4 times faster then before. That includes things such as menu re-drawing and buttons etc. Promise for future builds to focus on GUI response time, CPU utilization and the like.

Firewalls and Proxy Servers:
IM timeouts where another annoying issue with previous Digsby builds and this one has introduced multiple automatic attempts at connecting through various ports.

Crash Reporter:
This is still a product under development and bug-catching is crucial, this build introduces a ‘crash reporter’ for helping the team locate all the rare and tricky bugs. “The major changes in architecture in this build may introduce a couple of new crash causing bugs and that is one of the reasons why we want to test the build before releasing it to everyone.”

Bug Fixes + Enhancements:
Numerous bug fixes and various enhancements, the full list will be provided with the public release.

I got between 15 (idle) - 50mb with MSN, 2 Hotmail accounts, Gtalk, Facebook + Chat, MySpace and Twitter all running. Some people are reporting Digsby running at as low as 10-15mb, although I have no idea how many accounts they use.

Such was my dedication that I sat here for 4 hours downloading this new build over my crippled Internet connection at around 3kbs and enduring two time-outs halfway through.

It was worth it though, check it out!


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  1. N.C. Weber said on September 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    While I find Digsby intriguing, I plan to keep using Pidgin for what it does. Multi-Protocol IM and nothing else. I’m not much of a multitasker. I tend to focus on one thing at a time. Also, I think social networking sites are tripe, but that’s just me. :D

  2. Mosey said on August 13, 2008 at 3:38 am

    I’m using MirandaIM as well, although the actual Miranda site confuses me in terms of themes and downloads, so I use it ‘as-is’. They really need to consider making it more like the WordPress download site.

  3. Luis R said on August 12, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    If it isn’t open source and cross platform i simply do not use it. I think that cross compatibility is the biggest issue hurting IM clients right now. Open source and cross platform apps are the only way to bridge the gap atm.

    On a related note, Instantbird was just updated. It’s still in a very very early state though.

    Galaxium was also recently updated. It’s an instant messenger protocol for *nix Gnome but it is written in GTK and Mono.

  4. Ajay said on August 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I have major firewall issues out here and Digsby did not help.

    But, I guess I’ll give this version a shot once again.

  5. HEL said on August 11, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Without IRC, it’s still a non-starter. It doesn’t seem to be even a non-priority either. Kudos on the optimizations though…I guess.

  6. -=Ben=- said on August 11, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I still prefer and use MirandaIM.
    It is pretty much like Firefox, with endless Addons and Customizations.
    I personally love programs with a HUGE options window with lots of settings.

    I highly recommend Miranda IM.

  7. b1k3r4ck said on August 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I’d use it but last time I checked there wasn’t an easy way to make it portable and I wasn’t that crazy about their logging.

  8. unruled said on August 11, 2008 at 7:58 am

    this is promising, though I will wait for the final release, ofcourse.

  9. Josh said on August 11, 2008 at 5:26 am

    @b hehe yea my titles do leave a bit to be desired sometimes =P

    @F# have you tried There is a smallish selection there, a few good ones. I like the ‘Alive with Digsby’ theme best.

  10. F# said on August 11, 2008 at 4:33 am

    the only things I don’t like about Digsby is the lack of skins and the small avatars

  11. b said on August 11, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Hey bro, you gotta consider your post titles. I yelled “NO!” at my laptop when i saw the words “So Long Pidgin” in my RSS reader =).

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