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I've recently tried out a few IM clients with a private Jabber server (ejabberd).
I like psi, gajim, kopete, gossip (another one not on the list).
I was not so happy with pidgin. Looking at the XML it transmits, it does not seem to be updating presence correctly. Also it is quite temperamental. Sometimes it will log in, sometimes not. Just doesn't seem as robust as the others in this environment.
Sameplace is a firefox plugin. Features are a bit limited and it does not seem to handle presence correctly. Also seems beta quality, but has certainly found a niche.
Pidgn is good, however I think right this second it should stop focusing on the number of IM severs it can connect to and work on the features of the various IMs it already has. From what I have seen though, if you are a hard-core MSN user you should use aMSN.
Pidgin is really good, but it should work on more features for the protocolls. In an environment without X finch is really good (actually the only text-based IM app that worked well, the others looked awful).
I also use aMSN but the fonts just looks terrible! I heard the have fixed this in CVS but I haven't tried, yet.