Popular Instant Messenger, Gaim, Forced to Change Name

It was announced, yesterday, that the popular multi-headed instant messaging client, Gaim, has undergone a name change. The new name, Pidgin, comes after years of secret discussions and legal issues with internet giant, AOL. The issues revolved around the name "Gaim" and AOL's defense of their "AIM" trademark. The developers explain in their blog:

Quote -
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 referring 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.


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They could have renamed it in a more web 2.0 fashion
like

pidgim

And the Site name could have been

pidg.im
:)

AOL Sucks

Geez, the word "gaim" doesn't hurt AOL in any way, so why do they bother to threathen open source devs? Worse than the "aim" in "gaim", doing that makes then even more unpopular.
I just got an image of someone from their PR department walking in the legal department and pimp-slapping the first lawyer they see.

THEY SHUD CALL IT '' FIBER OPTIC MESSENGER'' OR MAYBE '' CAROUSEL'' ....OR MAYBE ''P.I.M.P''


THATS THE NEW IM MESSENGER NAME== P.I.M.P

P= PERSONAL
I= INSTANT
M= MESSEGING
P= PROGRAM


P.I.M.P biatches...hell yeh :nuts:

Take a look at your keyboard. Start on the left, and work your way over to the right. Pass your eyes over each key, and wonder what it's function might be. Stop when you reach "Enter" and go back to the left. Your eyes should pass over a key labeled "Caps Lock". What does it do? You wonder to your self. Curiously, you press it, and are relieved to find you're not SHOUTING at everyone anymore.

Seriously, though. All caps is for 12-yr olds who just learned how to use the internet, and time-travelers from 1994 who are just learning how to use the internet.

PIMP might work as a name, but I think the demographic it would appeal to is too narrow. Namely, just you.

As long as the new version will integrate with Vista a little better. its fine for XP, but the lack of any skinning makes it look ugly in vista

That's why I stick to Miranda for now. I think I might like GAIM because it works better out of the box, but it looks horrible in Vista,

You can always install other GTK themes although I don't know how to do it because I'm satisfied with the theme that mimics your current visual style. I don't like having a skinned application that clashes with my visual style. I regret that they had to change the name but "Pidgin" isn't too bad when you consider the reference that it makes and what that it's an IM client.

Things like this is why I hate AOL and don't use anything of theirs. Sueing over the name when AIM wasn't even trademarked at the time. Complete BS.

You have governments attacking Microsoft and Apple, yet AOL can do what they please it seems like. They ripped off my uncle for 300 dollars a few years ago. He cancelled his account with them to switch over to the high speed our local ISP offers and a week later they took 300 dollars off his credit card for no reason at all. Tried to say it was for late charges. He has reciepts of everything he's ever paid them showing he owes nothing. He's still fighting to get his money back.

Sorry for that man, I have similar story, the only differences was that I tried to cancel my account and they always asking me why and why I want to cancel, they just want to give you a hard time to not cancel your account, I hate this company and hope they burn in hell.

It doesn't matter that they didn't trademark it till after. Gaim didn't trademark their name either. AOL was the first to get it done, and AOL Instant Messenger was around and being called AIM well before Gaim existed. As long as AOL has evidence and facts supporting that they established the AIM name, they have more right to it than Gaim ever did.

This is just a bunch of AOL hating. I can't stand the company, but their time has passed. So honestly, get over it.

Joshie said,
It doesn't matter that they didn't trademark it till after. Gaim didn't trademark their name either. AOL was the first to get it done, and AOL Instant Messenger was around and being called AIM well before Gaim existed. As long as AOL has evidence and facts supporting that they established the AIM name, they have more right to it than Gaim ever did.

This is just a bunch of AOL hating. I can't stand the company, but their time has passed. So honestly, get over it.

There's literally millions of people who hate them. We're allowed to voice our opinions of them. I don't like them because when I first got into computers AIM constantly screwed my computer over. Then as I learned more I saw it's best not to touch anything they make. Then they rip my uncle off simply because he cancelled his account. BTW millions have been trying to sue AOL for doing that for a few years now. I bet a nice large chunk of what AOL is worth is money they've stolen from people's credit card accounts. Why I'm soo upset over them doing that to my uncle is because he didn't actually hate them. He just wanted high speed and AOL didn't have it. So he switched and they had a hissy fit over it and took 300 buks out of his account. How can I and others not hate them for doing things liek that to people?

IMHO...AOL is the most evil company in the world

Don't like what we have to say then get over it

man thats a shame! ... stuff like this gives me more reason to hate aol even more. lol

i never had that problem myself but after hearing it happened to your uncle i hate aol even more now.... besides aol makes crappy software, it's bloated, and installs mass stuff on your pc (especially the real AOL program) WITHOUT telling you about what it's installing.... also the newer version of the real AIM client sucks compared to versions from a couple years ago+.

---------

@lasker i can definitely understand your comment as that happened to me to. cause i remember a while ago my sister used one of those free aol trails and she said when she tried to cancel they basically kept going on and on about a whole bunch of crap trying to get her to not cancel... and i was like man that sucks, but in back of my mind i thought she was exagerating.. but then i got a free aol trail once (cause at the time i could not afford internet, so i figured some internet is better than none at all) and just before the free trail was up i called em up to cancel and after that i found out she was exactly right about what she said about aol!!! ... they go on and on about all kinds of crap, saying anything to get you to stay on there service, the guy i talked to on the phone was even going to extend my free trail period for free but i was like "but then ill have to call up and cancel again which i dont want to do" then he went on and on some more, but eventually said something like "i respect your decision" and then finally canceled it.... my ass he respected my decision , cause if he did he would have canceled it WAY before it got to that point. lol.... and the guy was acting like he was my best friend to!, which made it even worse. lol

---------

but anyways about the topic i think it's just another case of AOL bullying "the small guy" again ... cause it's like someone said, gaim used it's name BEFORE aol trademarked it! ... and i dont see how people would get confused with gaim for the real aim client since im sure when people search for aim they obviously run into the official aim client and NOT gaim... so i dont see a problem with gaim keeping it's gaim name personally.... cause odds are if someone is trying to find "gaim" (or other third party IM clients) they KNOW what it is and what there getting into!

i just hate the name change mainly cause im using to the "gaim" name.... now i gotta get used to this "pidgin" crap.. o well, aint crap we can do about it now anyways

Cuz that would be redundant. It would just be GINA. The M in AIM stands for messenger.

Now if they had used an M word and called it Maim, they'd have no issues at all. Since it's an actual word. Oh well. Pidgin's not that bad.

Just because its a word doesnt mean issues wouldnt exist - they would have to prove they were using it as "maim" and not "M AIM", and probe there would be no customer confusion between the two. However if it was a company that had nothing to do with AIM they wouldnt have to prove it, it would be really easy to use the name.

Similar you can start a shop called Apple with little or no problems - as long as it doesnt make computers (or similar) and compete with Apple computers and cause customer confusion... this is the reason the whole name thing is a problem as companies claim it causes customers confusion between what is offical from that company and what isn't (look up the whole Apple v Apple case to do with selling music problem if so inclined)

Else thats almost like saying I could start a company called "Mirco-Soft" (not Microsoft) selling an OS and other software - after all they are both words.... wrong - however i could most likely start a company called "Micro Soft" selling small soft cushions of something. After all no-one is going to get that confused.

Pidgin sounds much better than Gaim imo.

Gaim made sense, it was originally an AIM client for Gnome. I like it a lot in windows, although tis kinda buggy. Stupid AOL. -idea: ""Gim"

I wish that had made a better name!

'Gaim' is hardly a name which reflects this instant messenger nowadays. It can do a lot more than just AOL's protocol. AOL is being their usual idiot selves again, but maybe a better name will come out of this. One which reflects its current capabilities (a simple, multi-network instant messenger, that is).

Pigeons are associated with disease and vermin in a lot of city centres around the world, not your ideal brand image? Although spelt differently people will still think of 'pigeons' I would assume?

It is nothing to do with Pigeons. From the wiki entry:

"A pidgin, or contact language, is the name given to any language created, usually spontaneously, out of two or more languages as a means of communication between speakers of different tongues, and usually a simplified form of one of the languages."

So, based upon the fact that the software is a way to communicate across multiple protocols (or languages, effectively) I think it's a great choice for a name. Just will take a little getting used to.

While I understand the name change, I think it's a bit unfair. Gaim existed before AOL trademarked "AIM." This whole issue seems similar to the Brit that created itunes.co.uk in 1999, a couple years before Apple even started its iTunes service.

I do not think "Pidgin" is such a great name, as necessary as it may have been. I would have liked to see something with a bit more flair to it. It seems like such a bland, uninteresting title. Not to mention that it doesn't really convey what the program is, at least in my opinion.

drygnfyre said,
While I understand the name change, I think it's a bit unfair. Gaim existed before AOL trademarked "AIM.

Exactly. So how the hell can AOL have any grounds to sue the developers of Gaim, when AOL trademarked "AIM" afterwards.
This also sounds a bit like apple suing people who have the word "pod" in their company name lol.

Colin-uk said,
It annoys me when people use misspelled versions of real names/words as a brand name .. x)

It's not misspelled. It has nothing to do with Pigeon.

Colin-uk said,
It annoys me when people use misspelled versions of real names/words as a brand name .. x)

if you would read what was posted above, you'd know that "pidgin" means "A pidgin, or contact language, is the name given to any language created, usually spontaneously, out of two or more languages as a means of communication between speakers of different tongues, and usually a simplified form of one of the languages."

I can understand AOL's side for the most part. But I have a better idea instead of threatening the developers of Gaim: Make a better damn IM client. One that isn't full of bloat and ads now. Plus, even if Gaim is more popular now, they are AOL for crying out loud. Who DOESN'T know about AIM?

Full of ads? One ad? Both MSN and Yahoo have, not only more, but physically larger ads in their clients. On top of that, bloat is very relative. I've personally used about every feature in AIM at one point or another.

bangbang023 said,
Full of ads? One ad? Both MSN and Yahoo have, not only more, but physically larger ads in their clients. On top of that, bloat is very relative. I've personally used about every feature in AIM at one point or another.

obligatory "But does it run on linux?"

bangbang023 said,
Full of ads? One ad? Both MSN and Yahoo have, not only more, but physically larger ads in their clients. On top of that, bloat is very relative. I've personally used about every feature in AIM at one point or another.

Yahoo Messenger has one ad at the bottom of the main messenger window and one ad at the bottom of the chat window. I think the chat one is still there I don't know because I stopped using their chat over a year ago.

2 ads, big deal

There's also small programs that easily get rid of those

NightmarE D said,
Yahoo Messenger has one ad at the bottom of the main messenger window and one ad at the bottom of the chat window. I think the chat one is still there I don't know because I stopped using their chat over a year ago.

2 ads, big deal

There's also small programs that easily get rid of those


I'm not denouncing Yahoo based on the fact the client has the ads, I'm just pointing out that the people who are continually detracting from AIM because of the one ad it has should definitely look elsewhere and see that they are far from being the worst offender (WLM, in this case).

bangbang023 said,
Full of ads? One ad? Both MSN and Yahoo have, not only more, but physically larger ads in their clients. On top of that, bloat is very relative. I've personally used about every feature in AIM at one point or another.

I hope there have been big changes in this area:

"We shipped 49 services in Triton 1.2.80.1, I am not even sure what they all are for."

http://journals.aol.com/gregsblog/aimInfo/entries/590