Change the Green Online Icon to an Icon reflecting the IM Protocol?

Kevin Stange kstange at
Thu Oct 11 00:47:57 EDT 2007

Charliep wrote:
> Wow!
> Okay, then forget everything complimentary I just said about Pidgin. What a
> stupid program.

What interesting logic!  If you don't agree with someone, how exactly
does that mean that what they produce is stupid?  Perhaps it's not what
you want, but that doesn't mean it's not what anyone wants, or in fact
in any way bad.

Insulting the project is not going to get you anywhere.  We're not going
to say, "Oh, no, he called us 'stupid,' so we better start doing as he
says!"  We really don't care for, or about, insults, so don't waste your

> After using Pidgin for a few hours I have discovered the incredible penalty
> I pay for the stability and ease of installation for this program: It is a
> memory and CPU resources FAT PIG. It regularly uses around 12% average of my
> CPU cycles for a Pentium M 1.7 GHz. Miranda and Trillian Pro both average at
> around ZERO%.

There are some known resources and performance problems with Pidgin, and
some that are unknown.  You are encouraged to help us find them so that
we can fix them.  If you give up and stop using the problem, that
doesn't help us.  Look for tickets about related issues on our web site
( and see if you can help us track down the
circumstances under which Pidgin behaves badly and we'll try to find the
code responsible.  Alternatively, take the open source mentality to
heart and start digging through the code to help us out.

> I also cannot use a program where the developers burry their heads in the
> dirt and ignore the wishes and the interests of users.

We do not ignore the wishes of users.  We ask them to provide us a good
reason for their desires.  If we are convinced something is justified,
then we will either implement it or solicit patches for it.

If a user asks us to make Pidgin support FTP browsing, we will ask that
user what good that will do in an IM client and to provide a pretty good
use case for it.  Chances are that they're going to have to come up with
a very, very good reason for it.

Even if 300 thousand people ask for pidgin to become an FTP client, it's
pretty likely we're not going to do it.  When we believe something is a
bad idea, since we are the ones spending our time writing the code and
maintaining it, the user better be able to convince the team of
developers that their idea makes sense.  Blindly accepting all user
input and doing whatever they tell you results in CRAP and we don't want

> The 'art' of designing a good UI is to LISTEN to your users and to design
> something that is functional and easy and intuitive to use. If your users
> ask for Skins then you give them Skins. Eventually one user who knows
> nothing about programming will develop a great Skin that will become more
> popular than the original Skin, and then it will become the standard.

Skinning results in an inconsistent user interface.  This is bad for
users and harder to support.  This will never become a feature.

If you want a different UI, libpurple exists so that you can write one,
and we welcome anyone that wants to do so to provide different types of
users and platforms with access to multi-protocol IM clients.

> After skimming the threads Gary pointed out I am just dumbfounded that the
> developers can be so pig headed. The present icons without protocol serve NO
> PURPOSE. They just tell you whether the user is online or away or busy or
> whatever. This could EASILY be done by the color of the text for the name of
> the user, or if you really insist to be graphical, the shade of the Avatar
> or the frame of the Avatar for a particular user.

Using coloring alone causes accessibility problems for people with
colorblindness.  For that reason and due to the fact that colorization
cannot be intuitive, it has been decided that "complex rainbows of
confusion" (at least as the only mechanism for providing information)
have no place in Pidgin.

<snipped rehashing of the same stuff people already complained about>

We did eventually add protocol icons back, for the record, because while
we believe you shouldn't need or want to depend on them, some people
insist that they do.  They're still off by default, but make sure you're
using a recent version of Pidgin and then go Buddies > Show > Protocol

However we're not removing the dot/clock/paper/etc, it's a reliable,
consistent status indicator used throughout the UI.

> It is very unfortunate to see that GAIM has fallen into the hands of a bunch
> of programmers who make design decisions without any regard to the opinions
> of the users. Pidgins are rats with wings! The choice of this stupid name
> accurately reflects the present state of this stupid application.

Pidgins are languages:

If you still think the name is stupid, that's too bad.  It was changed
due to necessity and it was chosen because of how well it fits with our
project, and because it lent itself to a silly cartoon pigeon by way of
a pun.  The developers are many users are quite fond of the new name.
It's certainly to be expected that some people are not, but you can't
please everyone.  You'll go insane if you try, and you'll make a lot
more people miserable in the process.

The people developing Pidgin now are in large part the same people that
were around at the time of the release of Gaim 0.60, the first official
GTK 2.x and Windows release, so it hasn't fallen anywhere.  The hands
are just continuing to reevaluate how to provide the best possible IM
client we can come up with.  If you don't agree, you don't have to use it.

> Gary Kramlich wrote:
> Charliep wrote:
>>>> I have a question about Pidgin: Is there a way to Change the Green Online
>>>> Icon to an Icon reflecting the IM Protocol?
> <snip>
> Please see the ridiculously long email threads in the archives[1] about
> this topic as well as trac[2].
> [1]
> [2]
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