Today, everyone uses a different instant messenger. Your boss may use Lotus Sametime, your colleague AIM, your friend Google Talk, and your kid Yahoo! Messenger. However, these all take up hard drive space, RAM, and CPU usage. In addition, many of these are proprietary and Windows-only (two big minuses for GNU/Linux users). Luckily, the free software world has several alternatives that enable users to chat with users of all of these programs (and many more). For KDE users, the answer is Kopete.
There was a time when geeks were the only ones who used instant messengers. Not so now. Almost everyone, from high school students to Congressmen, have instant messaging accounts. Businesses use instant messengers like Lotus Sametime or Novell GroupWise within their companies. How did instant messengers get this far?