Pidgin Forked

My favorite IM client for Windows and Linux, Pidgin, has been forked. Reading through Slashdot, I came across an article stating this. I found it quite odd that Pidgin would fork. Anyway, I actually took issue with the “feature” that caused the fork.

Upon upgrading to version 2.4.0, I found that the text input box was set at 1 line, and I could not resize it. Apparently, this is a new feature. The input box is supposed to grow automatically as you enter more text. Personally, I would find that extremely distracting. However, instead of giving in to the actual users of Pidgin, the developer, Sean Egan, simply argued why this feature is important and the good it will bring. He and only a couple others went on to explain that IM is meant for small messages, yet people who write code use it to send code back and forth quickly rather than use email (which is something I have used it for). In what could have been an easy fix with version 2.4.1 and a user-selectable option to allow resizing of the text input, the developers allowed it to be forked to FunPidgin (as of this writing, that site is also not working, so here’s a link to the project page), which is simply what my idea for 2.4.1 should be – Pidgin 2.4.0 with a re-sizable text input area.

It seems that this fork was completely unnecessary and the developers (aside from the one who forked off) are being stubborn and arrogant in telling people how they should and should not be using IM. I find it quite annoying, actually, that the developers chose to go down this path rather than simply giving in and making it an option. But the beauty of open source software is that you can easily fork off when the developers pull this kind of crap.

Anyway, here’s a link to the actual discussion (which was posted to their bug tracking system) and to the Google cache of that in case it’s still Slashdotted.

5 thoughts on “Pidgin Forked”

  1. When a project is forked, it means that someone took it and started their own project using the original as the base to add their own features. In this case, they took Pidgin, an open source software project, and forked it to add the feature that people want but the Pidgin developers are too stubborn and/or arrogant to add.

  2. I just googled the input box issue to find out if it was a bug, or the dreaded ‘feature’. Thanks Jim!

    May have to have a look into FunPidgin, although for myself it’s just a mild annoyance, nothing too critical. The philosophy behind the development/end-user relationship is more significant,though.

  3. This is the first I’ve heard over the disagreement. I’m having a hard time imagining that Pidgin would want to avoid this bit of flexibility – as it is one of the most adaptable IM clients around, in my opinion. This is kind of a shame, as some changes which remove features like this can lead to a quick change in preferred programs.

    Also, I hope things are going well!

  4. Yes, my favorite thing about Pidgin is how flexible it is. I am really surprised they did this without making it an option you could disable. The only thing I can attribute this to is developer arrogance, which, unfortunately, happens from time to time.

    Things are going well. Are you still involved with ResNet? If so, will you be in Canada?

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