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I've used Gaim for a while. Not sure exactly how long, but i think it was the first piece of OSS I used. Whatever version what latest on apt refused to hold a connection with the MSN server for more than about ten minutes at a time. About 60% of my contacts are on MSN, including the vast majority of those I 'need' to talk to. I couldn't find any solutions to this problem, so decided to try out the 2.0 beta.
It didn't tell me I'd need an SSL module til i'd already compiled it, then it gave me a nice error message.
So i fired up Kopete to see what it was like. Feels far, far more finished, easier control over what the thing looks like and, best of all, it connects to the MSN server for hours at a time. Which, really, is all I need of an IM client.