Gaim: The game for AOL Instant Messaging on Linux
Once you are through with logging in, your buddy list will open up, empty of course for the moment. The first thing that you'll want to do is add buddies. Look at the screenshot below, you'll notice that the contact list is divided in two sections, Online and Edit buddies.
The former displays which of your buddies are online while the latter is a section where you can see your entire buddy list and perform all the modifications you want. So to add a buddy, move over to the Edit Buddies section. You'll find icons here to help you add and remove buddies easily. You can also categorize your buddies into groups, so you could have people listed under categories such a work, office, school etc. Unlike ICQ, AIM doesn't allow you to send messages to people when they are offline. Whenever one of your contacts is online, they'll show up in the online section of the buddy list. To send them a message, simply double click on their name and a message box will start up.
You also have the ability to start things like create chat rooms and transfer files (all these options are accessed by right clicking on the buddy's name).
Gaim is also very easy to configure and customize to your tastes. To be able to make such changes, go to Tools, Preferences. A configuration box will appear.
As you can see, there are a fair amount of options you have. You can change things from the fonts it uses to your `Away' messages, sounds and of course, the inevitable cosmetic tweaks. Within a couple of minutes you should have it configured to your taste.
Gaim is an extremely capable client for AOL IM. It supports all the major features and has a very intuitive interface. From a reviewer's standpoint, applications like Gaim are always judged by how they compare to the original. In the case of Gaim, it not only clones the original perfectly, but the authors have succeeded in created a program that is, in fact, far better than the original. Go ahead and download it, and have fun IM'ing with one of the best clients around, on any platform!