“Stop Opening Chats! It’s Annoying!”

A few weeks ago Microsoft (MS) released Windows Live Wave 3 to public Beta. It didn’t take long for a few of the people on my contact list to start complaining. Here’s how the conversation started this morning:

10/9/2008 8:55:04 AM
Stop opening windows on my desktop!!

As it turns out, I most frequently get this complaint from users of Pidgin and Adium.

The bug seems to be tied to Windows Live Messenger 9 (WLM9) support of multiple sign-on locations.  If I’m signed on at two machines, Pidgin users have reported that a multi-user chat window pops up with one of them and one of me for each machine I have logged in.  This happens each time I sign-in, which can be a pain if the WLM9 user has an unstable net connection.

The root of the problem seems to be the “libpurple” IM library support used by Pidgin and Adium.

With WLM9, Microsoft updated it’s Microsoft Notification Protocol to version 16 (MSNP16) – I’m not sure what Pidgin supports. As I understand it, libpurple has MSNP16 support in a source branch, so it sounds like they’re working on it – but who knows how soon Pidgin and Adium will offer support to correct the problem.

They’ll need to get it worked out by 2/10/09 because that’s when WLM9 is slated to go RTM.  Presently the problem only affects Pidgin and Adium users with a contact using the WLM9 Beta, but in a few months the number of WLM9 client users is sure to blossom so the issue will only get worse.

I provided Feedback on this bug to MS, so they should be aware of the issue on their end, but I wouldn’t expect MS to overhaul their proprietary IM protocol to fix a bug in multi-IM clients.

So if you’re having issues with multi-user chats opening, the problem isn’t your buddy running the most current software, it’s probably an issue with your Open Source client – so download the source and fix it already. 😉

UPDATE: According to the Pidgin FAQ:

Pidgin 2.4.3 and older versions use MSNP9, an outdated version of the MSN protocol that does not support status messages or offline messaging.

Pidgin 2.5.0 comes with updated MSN protocol support (MSNP15) and therefore supports these features.

So it’s only one behind, but still no idea on when either a fix or support for MSNP16 will be made available.

UPDATE 2: Another Pidgin user reports:

I experience a bug recently (only with WLM9 users) where I can’t message them unless they message me first.  If a time passes between their message and my reply, I can’t message them unless they message me anew.  The error is "cannot send message, there was a connection error"

So it seems like the window pop-ups aren’t the only annoyance.

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