Pidgin usability look on the web

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Wed Sep 3 09:09:39 EDT 2008

Hash: SHA1

Richard Laager wrote on 26/08/08 14:32:
> On Tue, 2008-08-26 at 13:52 +0100, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
>> Even so, Web browsers collect history by default, so it's surprising
>> for Pidgin to take the opposite approach.
> That history disappears after a while, whereas chat logs would not.

Mozilla browsers used to store history for 9 days by default. In Firefox
3.0, this is increased to 90 days by default. I expect this default to
continue increasing, as computers get faster and hard disks get larger.
It's much more a performance issue than a privacy issue. And the
performance issue is less for an instant messaging program like Pidgin
(which would need to traverse the history only when searching logs) than
for a Web browser like Firefox (which needs to retain history URLs in
memory for styling visited links).

Some businesses have retention policies that would require deleting
instant messages past a particular age, so that would be a useful
option. But for home users, I think retaining conversations forever
would be a reasonable default.

> Additionally, I think there's a very real privacy difference between
> the sites someone visits and their conversations.

That difference is lessening, with browsers such as Omniweb and Google
Chrome letting you search the contents of pages in your history, not
just the titles and URLs.

>                                                   Comparing this to
> Evolution saving messages by default would be more appropriate. Do you
> know if it does? I guess it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

Yes it does, and so does every other e-mail program I know of.

> Even if we don't change the default upstream, Ubuntu could trivially
> turn on logging by default in their default prefs. This would probably
> be a reasonable first step. If the Ubuntu users don't freak out about
> it, then perhaps we should do it upstream.

Good idea. I've just suggested this to Pidgin's maintainer in Ubuntu
(who was on holiday last week, hence my delay in replying here). He
approves of the idea, so we may do it for Intrepid and see what the
response is. <>

>> And at the very, very least, the autocomplete menu could autocomplete
>> names from your buddy list regardless of whether they had logged
>> conversations yet, *but* disable the "OK" button for those who didn't,
>> offering an inline explanation above. That would at least save you two
>> clicks/keypresses in opening and closing the error alert.
> What if we did this and when opening the "View User Log" window,
> pre-filled it with the name of the current buddy (and highlighted it).
> Thus, it's just as easy to type new text as now, but you save some
> effort if you want the currently selected buddy. We could probably also
> special-case the "no logs at all" case. This should be relatively easy
> to implement, so we'd get some benefits now. A "Log Manager" could be
> implemented later.

Also good ideas.

- --
Matthew Paul Thomas
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