Adium vs iChat: Adium wins by demographics.

by Steve Mallett

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A couple of weeks ago I asked O'Reilly weblog readers to weigh in on their thoughts on using Adium vs iChat as their AIM client. There were opinions that went both ways. Here's a sample:
"iChat is basic but has filesharing, and is also well integrated with other iApps. In Mail, you can see who's online, which is handy if a chat would clear up the query faster than exchange of email."

"Adium is amazing - built-in logging and log searching, tabbed windows for chat, very sturdy... the only place I think Adium is a little clunky is in adding new users, where it's a bit more difficult to do than with iChat."

"Adium: completely noninstrusive. It lets you do other things while chatting and still know whats going on. If people come on/offline or someone messages you, it will show up nicely on the dock icon, using 0 percent of your other precious screenspace. Also, while you are chatting, you can close the window and come right back to it without losing you're chats. Works well while doing lots of stuff and being able to keep on top of instant messaging."

"The one killer feature on a portable is that iChat can tell when you sleep your machine, and tries to reconnect when you turn back on. It also seems to detect when you connect to an Airport network, and tries to connect then. Adium, unfortunatly, doesn't know how to deal w/ the frequent disconnectes, etc."

"... used Adium for at least a couple of months before Apple's iChat came out, and for the most part I had (and have) been totally content with Adium. Its interface is clean and simple, and I find the tabbed conversations to be immensely easier to manage than separate windows. While I occassionally yearn for file transfers, buddy icons, and better access to profiles, I use it to chat, and that it does flawlessly (well...close enough for me)."

"Instead of doing a comprehensive comparison, I'm going to highlight one main issue: the idea of Adium being the power user's preferred choice. I would consider myself a power user (I'm a programmer and designer by profession, and I make great use of the unix-like features in OS X), but after using both clients extensively, I finally decided to go with iChat. It was a tough decision."

That last comment sums up the whole of the opinions on the two clients if you read through all of the comments. Both are good, but for different reasons.

Adium seems to be the power user's choice seemingly for being unobtrusive and handling many chat sessions at once. iChat integrates with other iApps and handles the wireless and power settings for which Apple's portables are known for.

Overall, I'd have to say that the majority of users seem to weigh in as power users and that I'd declare Adium the winner in this bout. Oh, Adium and Josh Lee, winner of the book.


2003-03-24 12:27:12
There more in the world then Adium
Why not look at Proteus or Fire? For people that actually use more than just AIM, they're essential. Even if you only use AIM, one could argue Proteus has a nicer interface than Adium.

Oh, and Fire has the added bonus of being Free, if that kind of thing does it for you.

2003-03-24 12:30:40
There more in the world then Adium
Agreed my friend, but I chose two AIM clients to face off. The Battle of the Apps idea got quite a bit of attention so expect more in the future. Next time, all-round IM clients?
2003-03-24 12:31:56
There more in the world then Adium
Agreed my friend, but I chose two AIM clients to face off. The Battle of the Apps idea got quite a bit of attention so expect more in the future. Next time, all-round IM clients?
2003-03-24 16:10:25
Well Adium is better but 2.0 will be make this lead even further superior
Yes Adium 2.0 will have much much more features that normal AIM has but much less bloat ware.

Adium is quick, speedy and unless you really really need icons and file transfers this is the software for you.

2003-03-25 05:30:50
iChat iNadequacies
I use iChat because of the integration with the OS and of course the utility iChat enhancer which automatically sets up my away message. yet in iChat it's tuogh to iew other's away messages or info and one cannot edit his own info. I've lived without it, but it's just an annoyance
2003-03-29 22:55:51
Real AIM
I work at AOL, so I have to use "real" AIM for full OSCAR compliance. I do like ADIUM's tabbed interface, but truth be told, I still prefer ICQ.
2004-04-07 21:51:34
Proteus is not free. Fire is free but is not that great. Adium supports Jabber/AIM/Yahoo/MSN/Trepia (no good Mac clients yet except adium)/Gadu-Gadu...temp plans for others...not bloated, entirely free, customizable.
Honestly, Adium is better than almost anything else for both Windows and Mac OS X. Only thing it lacks is video/audiochatting capabilities.
Try Adium before you say anything more. :)