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Gaim Maintainer Rob Flynn Interviewed 228

gaimster writes "LinuxQuestions.org just interviewed gaim maintainer Rob Flynn. gaim version 1.0.0 was recently released and it has been the most active project on SourceForge for a while. In the interview, Rob explains what it's like to maintain such a popular project, how he got involved with gaim and what he thinks of some of the IM protocols that gaim supports. He also explains the Ebay auctions that gaim had a while back."
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Gaim Maintainer Rob Flynn Interviewed

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  • Gaim rules (Score:5, Informative)

    by alatesystems ( 51331 ) <chris AT chrisbenard DOT net> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:04PM (#10350687) Homepage Journal
    Gaim is really awesome. We use it internally at work for Jabber(internal instant messenging). It's amazing just how many protocols it supports natively. It is a great client even though it's using GTK in windows. I already donated to the gaim project, and so should anyone else who uses it on a regular basis.

    I love this project and hope it continues well into the future.

  • I love GAIM but ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpooForBrains ( 771537 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:04PM (#10350693)
    GAIM is great, because it keeps pushing the boundaries of IM functionality on Linux, BUT that said, I keep switching back to Kopete [kde.org], mainly because it integrates with KDE. For an IM client, intergration with the desktop is paramount IMHO.
    • For an IM client, intergration with the desktop is paramount IMHO.

      I don't see why. An IM client has fairly unsual UI requirements, so it seems unfair for it to follow the look'n'feel standards of the DE too closely. The only argument for integration with the DE is the contact list (being able to see if the guy who sent you an email is online), which isn't compelling enough IMHO.

      I keep switching back to Kopete
      I think Kopete is nice, but it suffers because its UI is too KDE-ish. Having to follow two le
  • gaim is great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by deviantonline ( 542095 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:06PM (#10350703)
    I have been using gaim for sometime over msn/icq and I think its fantastic! It is very stable and has been a staple of my linux desktop for some time. I have also converted many of my windows based friends to the program as well. One thing that is so nice about open source software is that in many cases it is available on multiple platforms.
  • by Justin205 ( 662116 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:06PM (#10350704) Homepage
    You get beer donated. ;-)

    Seriously, money is overrated. Send food, send beer, and then you'll really motivate many developers. :-P
  • by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:06PM (#10350706) Homepage
    It's the Firefox of InstantMessenging. My friends adopt it quite easy. It's actually a shame it isn't part of the OpenCD. But I guess that's because it uses GTK (wich is great for a Gnome addict such as me.) ;-)
  • The reason (Score:5, Funny)

    by vijaya_chandra ( 618284 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:10PM (#10350736)
    From the interview
    I had met a girl at the beach that used AIM, and I had no way to talk to her, so, I joined the project to help development.

    Now I know why I don't have any good projects to my name.
    Time to spend more time on the beach I suppose.
  • Gaim. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Eeknay ( 766740 )
    Gaim is a good program, I've been using it for a while now, but last time I formatted my computer, it kept dropping the connection to MSN... despite the fact that my ports are forwarded correctly, and it was working just fine previously. So I've had to revert back to MSN Messenger 6.2, where there's no problem. Otherwise, it's a great little program.
    • Re:Gaim. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Whyte ( 65556 )
      You probably didn't have the newest version of GAIM installed, or you were using it right after MSN changed their protocol.

      Since the various IM's keep changing their protocols, GAIM is constently needed to patch those changes. They have a rather quick release cycle though, which is one of the main reason I continue to use it.

      Viva la Gaim!
    • Haven't had this problem.

      I do drop back to tkabber sometimes because advanced jabber features are not really easy or even possible to access from gaim.

      Gaim is really nice for basic stuff with Jabber, but tkabber is much better if you need to do admin stuff, better off-line message/conversation differences, etc.

      Gaim is a great project, but I would like to see a more complete Jabber interface.
  • GTK Runtime on Win32 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by flonker ( 526111 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:20PM (#10350792)
    Since the dropline win32 GTK runtime distribution is no longer maintained, are they rolling their own? They have a standalone GTK installer download, but where did it come from?
    • Since the dropline win32 GTK runtime distribution is no longer maintained, are they rolling their own?

      Yes, they have developed their own gtk installer.
    • http://gladewin32.sourceforge.net/ makes excellent GTK installers for windows, btw. Better than GAIM's imho, because it includes more things you need for Python development :-)

      • by mikefe ( 98074 )
        The maintainer of dropline gtk said:

        "I suggest users instead download the GTK+ libraries Tor Lillqvist builds ands hosts at www.gimp.org/win32. As the leading Win32 GTK+ developer, he is in the best position to release compiled binaries, and users will have the fewest head-aches by sticking with his packages."
        here. [dropline.net]

        Which is exactly what I've been doing, even though I just heard of dropline.

        It would be nice if Tor's gtk would allow multiple generations of the library to be installed at once. There was
  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:22PM (#10350802)
    When I use OS X, I really like Adium [adiumx.org]. It uses libgaim for its messaging, but has its own native-OSX GUI. I think the GTK gaim could learn a few things that are particularly nice about Adium too---I like how it highlights your buddy's names in the buddy list with color codes depending on current messaging status: green if they're currently typing, blue if they've typed something into a window you haven't checked since then, etc.
  • This guy got a job offer (assuming it's IT) out of high school. He officially rules. :)
  • New features? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wicka_wicka ( 679279 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:26PM (#10350829)
    Maybe, before they start adding new features, they should work more on getting the thing completely stable. If I read a couple of my friend's infos, it crashes. If I reconnect and it doesn't work, it crashes. I think that should be a higher priority than a damn webcam.
    • yeah that happens to me too. it's an awesome program but it's still lacking a few things. such as file transfer compatability with the windows AIM client!
    • Make sure you are running the latest version.

      I use Gaim under XP and it has been very stable. Try upgrading your GTK, too, assuming you are on windows.

      My experience with Gaim has been good, once I got used to it and they released a few upgrades. 1.0 is rock solid.
    • Maybe, before they start adding new features, they should work more on getting the thing completely stable. If I read a couple of my friend's infos, it crashes. If I reconnect and it doesn't work, it crashes. I think that should be a higher priority than a damn webcam.

      Demand your money back!

      Oh wait...

      Demand the developers do as you say!

      Uh, hmmm...

      Demand you be able to give developers money to do as you say!

      Or, ummm...

      Do it yourself?

    • ...the webcam version is a fork...it's not being developed in the official code repository by the main developers. But I agree, there are definitely some rought edges that need to be fixed (and i'm sure they are). If they really both you? Learn C and fix them. In the world of open source, you are only at the mercy of the developers if you choose not to code.
  • Anybody else here use Trillian? Besides the fact that it doesn't run on Linux and there's a pay version, how would you guys compare it to GAIM?
    • Re:Trillian? (Score:2, Interesting)

      I like Trillian, a lot, but switched to Gaim as part of a moral stand in support of Open Source, and haven't regretted the switch.

      1.0 is great and stable. I use ICQ / AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and Jabber, all simultaneously and it works pretty much flawlessly.

      My MSN always shows me as offline and they can't send me messages, but I can send them messages. I strongly suspect this is some screwiness with the MSN protocol.

      All in all I really like Gaim, and don't really miss Trillian. At the same time I switched fr
      • Re:Trillian? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kundor ( 757951 )

        but I still use Dreamweaver MX 2004, which doesn't have an Open Source WYSIWYG counterpart as far as I've been able to find,

        Quanta claims parity with Dreamweaver.
        It's part of KDE, so you'd need to switch to linux to use it -- of course, you can always use knoppix to try it out without doing anything to your computer, and see if it meets your needs.

        From what I understand, the next release of Quanta is supposed to be a big leap forward, the php debugger is getting a lot of praise.


  • Ever since they solved a nasty little persistent crash problem that was happening in Windows, Ive become a real fan of GAIM.

    One suggestion I would make though.

    On IRCs make the default character coding ISO-8859-1

    I was on a server that had a channel name spelled with a "tilde e" which was consistently causing problems for UTF-8

  • Ok, so we see "I owned two twin-turboed Mitsubishi 3000GTs" and then we see "We're just poor kids".

    So which is it? And if that's whats classified as poor in your neck of the woods, then damn it I'm moving! :P
    • That's why I'm poor, ha. Actually, I was just young and wasteful with money. I wish I could go back and do it over again and save instead of spending it on everything.

      19yrs old + good job = bad idea.
  • LQ) Having gone through the licensing ordeal with Trillian, do you have any comments on some of the recent GPL-related incidents?
    RF) We're just trying ot handle them as we find out about them. We try to be upfront with the offenders and hope that they "do the right thing" so that we don't have to take more extreme measures. This usually works pretty well.

    Umm, "...licensing ordeal with Trillian", "We try to be upfront with the offenders...", anyone care to explain/elaborate?

    Should I be feeling uncomfor

  • by Anonymous Coward
    GAIM is one of my favorite open source projects, and a wonderful app in itself. However, one thing annoys me: the fact that I have to upgrade the whole thing for every minor protocol change.

    As in, when Yahoo! or MSN makes a switch to its protocols, I can't just download a file and fix it - I have to get a whole new package, or recompile, and so forth. This is particularly frustrating as newer GAIM releases (naturally) use newer GTK libraries and then all the libraries that depends on. Turns it into a Micro
  • gaim, ehhhh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by miseryinmotion ( 615385 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:48PM (#10350949) Homepage
    This will probably be modded as a troll considering it isn't the common Slashdot opinion, but oh well.

    I've used gaim off and on over the past year, (on both Linux and windows) and found that the windows port really doesn't compare at all to the Linux version, and to put it simply, on windows, it's really just a waste of resources.

    For all the windows users that can't stand the bloated msn messenger or latest official aim client, I suggest at least checking out Miranda. [miranda-im.org] I was introduced to it a few weeks ago by a long time gaim user (who was fed up with all the inconsistencies and problems with gaim under windows) and have been using Miranda almost exclusively since then. Albeit, it has some current issues with file transfers, but I'm sure that's only a momentary problem.
  • by xiando ( 770382 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @05:52PM (#10350974) Homepage Journal
    What I really like about Gaim is the libraries, they have been the basis for many other excellent tools. Like BitlBee http://www.bitlbee.org/ [bitlbee.org], a very nice gateway that allows you to talk to anyone using anything through your irc client. Aterm + Screen + Irssi is my personal favorite communication's suite.

    BitlBee Guide - Talk to msn, icq and jabber contacts using any IRC client: http://linuxreviews.org/software/irc/bitlbee/ [linuxreviews.org]
  • Did they ever fix the issue with global away messages? (Issue being that there weren't any!) That was the one thing I always hated about Gaim, and the reason I never even bothered with the Windows version when I switched back to the dark side.
  • Phonegaim? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goonie ( 8651 ) * <robert.merkel@noSpaM.benambra.org> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @06:04PM (#10351038) Homepage
    The Lindows people have hacked voice chat into gaim. They've called it PhoneGaim [linspire.com], and they claim they'd like to merge this into the main gaim tree.

    This functionality would be extremely nice to have. Does anybody know if there actually any plans to make this merge happen?

  • Never tried IM before. Are there some IM test bots around, with whom I could have a little chat to try it out?

    Maybe someone like Eliza [manifestation.com]? My regular therapist being on holidays...
    • Well, I know that AIM has SmarterChild. Dunno about other networks tho.
      • Thanks. Didn't work, though. Maybe because I'm on ICQ, and that is on AIM. Someone have another suggestion?
        • Re:IM test bots? (Score:2, Informative)

          by Minna Kirai ( 624281 )
          Maybe because I'm on ICQ, and that is on AIM.

          If you haven't used IM before, you shouldn't be on ICQ. Sign up for AIM (or MSN, yahoo, or whatever).

          Here's another way to test AIM:
          1. AOLSafetyBot: Hi ya! I'm the AOLSafetyBot, and I'm here to answer your questions about how to stay safe online. Type privacy to read my Privacy Policy. Ask me a question or type menu for a list of options.
          • OK. It worked through AIM. Thanks.

            That SafetyBot is funny. It reminded me of the pre-Windows days, and telnet or Dos menu interfaces. And reminded me of Compuserve (not surprisingly since they are the same company now) in the late eighties, and it's weird universe.

  • It's the same one I have with firefox. I use this on my libretto, which has a 800x480 screen. The hard-coded configuration window is taller than that.

    It would be nice if the config window came up at a reasonable size.

    This seems like it could be an issue as IM seems like one of the 'killer apps' for smaller computers.

  • Why abandon GTK1? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday September 25, 2004 @06:48PM (#10351287) Journal
    I just wonder why the GTK1 branch was abandoned... I'm sure there's plenty of people like myself why use all GTK1 programs, and aren't going to install another library, that uses up lots of memory, needs entirely seperate themes installed and configured, etc.

    It's not as if all projects are getting rid of GTK1 in order to support GTK2. gtk-gnutella is a good enough example of that.

    Also, there are lots of popular programs that are GTK1-only... GMPlayer, Sylpheed, GPA, AxYFTP... I could go on forever. Why force people to load-up multiple toolkits when maintaing GTK1 support wouldn't be terribly difficult? Surely you wouldn't decide to switch to a (dynamic) Motif-only version, and leave GTK1/2 users behind...

    I'm personally sticking with 0.59.8
    • by dmaxwell ( 43234 )
      GTK1 is an unmaintained deprecated toolkit. It has been for almost three years. At this point you have to wonder why projects are still using it. It isn't as though it was a big surprise and they had no time to switch over.

      Without resorting to a hack, you can't have antialiased GTK1 fonts and GTK2 fonts on the same system. The toolkit itself just seems more code rotted the longer it persists. Those apps still on GTK1 really should have started porting their codebases to GTK2 years ago.
      • At this point you have to wonder why projects are still using it.

        Because it's smaller, faster, more popular, etc.

        In any case, the question still stands. Since GTK1 *IS* still being used widely (despite your opinion on the matter) why drop support for it, all at once?
  • MSN webcam support (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Saturday September 25, 2004 @07:18PM (#10351469) Journal
    Apparently no one can get this damn thing working.

    This is really a shame, there are tonnes of features that are kind of useful but webcaming will onyl be useful if it's popularly adopted.

    Kinda like IM...
  • GAIM is nice, but *boy* would I love to see GPG support being available (and in the base distribution, instead of in a plugin that doesn't always build with the current main GAIM release, as the existing encryption support is).
  • by w1z7ard ( 227376 )

    I remember back in the day, probably 3 or 4 years ago, when gaim was a much smaller but up and coming project, I had a stupid issue involving my password not working.

    It turned out that the developer's either forgot to include a key, or there was a little kink left in the reverse engineering procedure. In particular, some code listed all the acceptable characters for passwords, i.e., AOL's protocol accepted the _ (underscore) key, but gaim didn't.

    Conclusion? My password didn't work. I was quite confused.

  • by jimduchek ( 13246 ) on Sunday September 26, 2004 @03:03AM (#10353552) Homepage
    I was the maintainer and lead developer on GAIM for over a year before Rob took over. I will NEVER lead an OSS project again, or even donate my fixes to projects I use (except anonymously), with the exception of some SE or EDA projects that the 13-year-olds will NEVER get ahold of. Why? Because 99% of you all are a bunch of whining, stupid, ignorant bitches. I don't want you contacting me and wasting my time. I couldn't STAND it. _Especially_ on a project that is designed to allow people to get in touch with you, almost all I got to hear was people bitching about this and that. OSS developers DO have a 'real life' and you incessantly bug them about a feature YOU want but are too ignorant/stupid to write yourself, or if you're not, totally ignore the code style used in the project (It makes it a horrible BITCH to integrate.) You drive off talented developers because they don't want to be the whipping boy of the completely ungrateful "OSS community".

    That's why I say that Rob (and guys like Rob) are why OSS works. Somehow (for four years now, I guess ), Rob has been willing to put up with the bullshit involved with leading an OSS project. He's a rare commodity. Most of those of us talented enough to do the development can't (or simply aren't willing to) put up with the crap involved.

    So take some time to thank the guys who write the software you use, send them some beer (I was living with Rob when the beer mentioned in the article arrived -- and it was MUCH appreciated), some cash, some interesting hardware, an email, or in GAIM's case, an IM, SOMETHING just to show that you are at least a little grateful for the hours and effort put in, instead of bitching about one little thing wrong with the software and talking crap about how much better it could be, when you're not willing to lift a finger yourself.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI