aMSN is a chat client, available for Linux/Ubuntu. It's not installed by default, but can be easily added in the Add/Remove Applications utility. The potential advantage of using aMSN over Pidgin, is that it is specifically designed to work with MSN Messenger1, as opposed to Pidgin which works with a variety of chat services.

This has sparked a rumour that Pidgin only supports “lowest common denomenator” functionality, which is not true. Pidgin also supports some features for each protocol which is only available for that particular protocol. That being said, though, aMSN — which is designed spefically for the MSN Messenger service — does have some features that Pidgin doesn't have.

For the most part, if you're used to the Windows Live Messenger interface, it won't be too difficult to work with aMSN. And, although I generally prefer Pidgin over aMSN2, there are some things aMSN can do that Pidgin can't:

  • Custom emoticons: If you have any custom emoticons — and most Messenger users have tons — you'll be able to use them in aMSN, but you won't be able to use them in Pidgin
  • Personal Message: Anyone who uses Messenger these days also sets their “personal message,” the little message that shows beside their display name. For some reason, they never bothered to implement that with Pidgin.
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