text I'm posting to news

Luke Schierer lschiere at users.sf.net
Sat Apr 7 18:17:47 EDT 2007

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 refering 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
compatability 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. 


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