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Rethinking Empathy in Ubuntu 9.10

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The Gnome application Empathy was set to become the default instant-messaging client in Ubuntu 9.10 upon its release October, replacing Pidgin. But Ubuntu developers have been reconsidering that decision in the last few days.

Last Thursday, a message was sent to the Ubuntu developers list pointing out that the most recent release of Pidgin offers video-chat support and other important features whose absence were a factor in the decision to switch to Empathy. Other users agreed that it wouldn’t hurt to have a new discussion about Pidgin’s status in Karmic, even if changes at this point in the development cycle would violate the release’s feature freeze.
Empathy advocates responded that the decision to switch to Empathy resulted not from Pidgin’s lack of video support as the appeal of Empathy’s Telepathy framework, which offers a rich infrastructure for desktop collaboration that Pidgin will likely never implement. Telepathy’s built-in support for remote desktop sharing, for example, was cited as a major advantage over Pidgin.

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