"Although AOL and ICQ collectively command the lion's share of
instant messenger users world-wide (AIM in the US, ICQ
internationally), Yahoo! and MSN have actually had more new users
sign up in the last year than their competition (according to Media
"Yahoo! and MSN take advantage of their huge web portals to add
features to their IM clients. Yahoo!, being web-centric, supports
many platforms with official versions of their IM client, including
Linux/Unix. MSN, which is geared toward Microsoft users accessing
the Internet through their MSN dial-up service, supports only
Windows and Mac for their official clients. There are open source
alternatives, but unlike the other members of the "big 4" IM
services ICQ and AIM, Yahoo! and MSN have fewer clients to choose
from. However, because their protocols remain open, several "all in
one" clients can be used to connect to the MSN and Yahoo! services.
We will cover the "all in one" clients in part 4 of this
"First, we'll take a look at the Yahoo! client for Windows and
see how its open source counterparts measure up. We'll look at the
official Linux client for Yahoo! as well as a few open source
clients. Next, we'll take a look at MSN and see what is available
in the open source world for MSN-only clients."
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