i have to admit, my first reaction when i saw the post on the site, and then
this email, was "wow, that's a pretty late april fools day prank."
On Sat, 7 Apr 2007, Tim Ringenbach wrote:
> 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
> 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
> 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, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pidgin
> Since so much is changing between the name and the nature of the
> 2.0.0release 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 http://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
> 2.0.0release late this week or early next.
> We are going to release it with a 2.0.0 version number, and an API
> compatibility 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.