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Chat & Talk Applications

Adium X

Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: 1.3.10 (January 13, 2010)

Adium X (Formerly Adium, a simple AIM clone) is an extremely nice multi-protocol instant messaging client for Mac OS X, supporting AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, and ICQ. If you're coming from the Windows platform, you can think of Adium as Trillian for Mac OS X. It is probably the most capable IM client for the Macintosh, with a huge number of available options to customize the application to your liking, and it's actively updated and free, to boot.

Versions 0.50 and later are the culmination of more than a year-long rewrite of Adium, which now utilizes libpurple (formerly libgaim, the core part of Pidgin) to connect to multiple protocols, and is also based on a new plugin architecture. Partial address book integration, "cool" looking tabs, multiple protocols for instant messaging, and a compact contact list are some of the many features of the new Adium X.

Version 1.3 made a positively huge number of changes - easily enough to merit a 2.0 badge, which, for some reason, the authors eschewed. The online release notes for version 1.3 have complete details.

Version 1.3.10 makes the following additional changes:

  • Disabled the Facebook CAPTCHA, updated the Facebook plugin.
  • Updated libjson-glib, fixing some 64-bit issues.

User Reviews

"I just started using Adium and I love it. Tabbed chat! I have a few accounts and some overlap with friends who have accounts on the same servers. I am getting used to how they all appear in the contact list. When the novelty wears off I will probably turn off the quacking or change the sound. I like programs with a transparency option. For context, I have been using PSI for jabber lately. Before that Exodus. I have not got Yahoo to work yet. Might have something to do with .Ca vs .Com. I will keep trying."
—David Croal

"Thank youuuu! I have been stressing over my MSN for ages! Having to use crappy online ones because my MSN for Mac stopped working suddenly. Then stumbled across this and it's great! So thanks for a great programme! And no need for any changes - it's great as it is and changes seem to confuse my computer ... So annoying!"
—Georgia Alen

(Version 0.89.1) "A VERY NICE multi-service instant messaging client. I love the ability to download scripts, soundsets and UI extras and easily install and use them with zero hassle. I've found Adium quite stable and easy to use. It's certainly the most attractive IM client I've ever used and I like it's easy to use log viewer and file transfers a lot. The only thing I wish it did is Webcam support. I hate having to fire up Yahoo's awful OS X client just to use my Webcam. Yuck."
—Jamie Kahn Genet

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AOL Instant Messenger

Home Page Screen Shots Release Notes License:

Current Version: 4.3.1232 / 4.7.1333 (February 18, 2004) / 2.1.296 (June 15, 2010)

From the AOL Instant Messenger home page: "AOL Instant Messenger combines AOL's popular "Buddy List" and "Instant Message" features. The "Instant Message" feature lets users send and respond to messages immediately while the "Buddy List" feature lets users know instantly when friends are online. Previously only available to [AOL] members, AOL is now delivering these features to Internet users worldwide." Another nice feature of the AIM service is that it's accessible via a web browser no matter where you are. Versions 4.6 and later feature ICQ integration, "Mobile IM" and other new features. Version 4.7 adds "friendly name support," allowing you to view people's actual names rather than cryptic IM addresses, and "multi-point file sharing" that allows you to share the contents of more than one folder.

"AIM for Mac" is a modern rewrite of the AIM client for Mac OS X (version 1.0, released in 2008, was the first major update in nearly 5 years). This version was built from the ground up "by Mac users for Mac users." Highlights of the new software include:

  • True AIM Experience: AIM for Mac will allow you to select your own Buddy sounds, wallpaper and animated Buddy Icons from the AIM Expressions library.
  • Fast, reliable File Transfers: File transfers are fast and efficient. Send files, folders and pictures to all your Buddies.
  • Tabbed IMs for Tiger Users: AIM for Mac works with Both Tiger and Leopard - Mac OS X 10.4.8 (and above) and Mac OS X 10.5.3 (and above).
  • Accessible: AIM for Mac was designed to work with Apple's VoiceOver on both Tiger and Leopard. You can navigate, review IM conversations and get your Buddy's status. On Mac OS X Leopard, we support the new natural-sounding voice, Alex.

Version 2.1.296 changed the following issues from version 2.0:

  • A new item under the "People" menu gives you the ability to change your Profile Info.
  • Increased size of Buddy Icons in multiple places to enhance visual appeal.
  • Outgoing Font settings set by the user will now be reflected on all new IM and chat windows!
  • For new AIM users, easily get started and enjoy the benefits of IM'ing by logging into AIM with your Facebook ID. For current AIM users, continue to login to AIM and easily chat with your Facebook Friends by adding them to your Buddy List.
  • Make it easier for friends to find you in the Buddy List by adding your first and last name to AIM. As you add more buddies this allows you and your buddies to easily find each other in the list. You can easily toggle between the two settings under Menu -> View -> Full Name.
  • AIM has teamed up with Facebook, and now you can chat with your Facebook friends - right from AIM.
  • Added the Sign In as Invisible option to the Sign In window.
  • Added "Status Sync" buttons in the status text field for Lifestream services so you can choose where you want your status to be broadcasted.
  • Added the Command+Return key equivalent to the Send button on the IM conversation window.
  • Added the Extras tab to the AIM preferences window. It includes settings for iTunes status and Diagnostics.
  • Made some new changes to the Buddy Flyout for a better user interface. Also added Lifestream integration.
  • Improved VoiceOver accessibility for the Welcome Screen.
  • Added "Email..." to the Buddy List contextual menu and "Gear" menu to allow for easy webmail message composition.
  • Added Apple Menu Item under People > Send Email...
  • Added Edit > Paste and Match Style to the Menu Items.
  • Single-sign on for AIM to AOL Webmail.
  • Improved accessibility (VoiceOver) feature for Group Row Theme button (will now read button description).
  • Added Font Scale to IM conversation preference (under IM Preference pane).
  • Various user interface improvements.
  • Various bug fixes and improvements.

User Reviews

"The Instant Messenger is a must have for all non AOL users. It is very easy to set up and quick to send and receive messages. If you don't like waiting for replies with E-Mail, this is the best solution. It doesn't take up much memory or hard drive space, both of which are scarce on my Performa 550. So for low memory, and high expectations, I definitely suggest that you download this now."
—Zack Katz

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Download the latest Mac OS 8.6 (Classic) version (4.3.1232).
Download the Mac OS 9 & X (Carbon / PowerPC) version (4.7.1333).
Download the Mac OS X 10.4.8+ (Cocoa / Universal) version (2.1.296).

Version 2.1.299 beta (July 22, 2010) is available for Mac OS X (Cocoa / Universal), making the following enhancements:

  • All users may now edit and change their buddy icon
  • Fixed an intermittent issue that prevented some users from expanding and collapsing their Buddy List groups
  • Increased speed typing your username on the Sign In screen
  • Your status will no longer be reposted when you reconnect after waking from Sleep
  • IM logging is now a user-based preference instead of a global preference
  • Passwords can now contain the slash character
  • New option under Sign in: when you uncheck "Remember me", you now have the option to "Also remove IM logs"

See the release notes for more information.


Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Donationware; $0

Current Version: 1.5 (September 5, 2007) / 2.2.2 (July 27, 2009) / 3.0.2 (March 8, 2010)

Chax is a free collection of minor modifications and additions that make using Apple's iChat more enjoyable.

Chax comes in two versions - 1.5 for Mac OS X 10.4 (iChat 3), and 2.1.2 for Mac OS X 10.5 (iChat 4).

Features of version 1.5 for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger include:

User list:

  • Toggle text status visibility of users
  • Set font of names, status messages, and group separators
  • Show animated user icons
  • Ability to hide iTunes music store links in text statuses
  • Idle time included in tooltips
  • Display Address Book nicknames instead of full names
  • Option to show a warning before messaging mobile users
  • Hide the audio/video status icon at the top of the user list
  • Message a specific screen name for people with multiple screen names

Message window:

  • Tabbed chats, allowing you to keep all of your chats together in one window
  • Option to auto-accept text chats, skipping new message notification window
  • Show status changes directly in the message window
  • Disable the smiley button in text input lines
  • Option to open images sent through direct connect directly in Preview
  • Send away auto-reply only once per conversation
  • Save and restore window positions for individual screen names


  • Unread message notification in the dock
  • Growl notifications for new messages
  • Properly use ICQ accounts without sending text formatting in messages
  • Automatically set status to away when screensaver is activated
  • Option to auto-accept file transfers
  • Hide all iChat windows when iChat is inactive
  • Always on top option for user lists, text chats, and audio or video chats
  • Set a custom away auto-reply that is different from the away message
  • Change the delay of or disable auto-away
  • New message windows cascade properly instead of always appearing on top of each other
  • Built-in log viewer
  • Activity window shows history of user status changes
  • Warn before quitting while there are active chats
  • Option to disable pausing of AV chats while there are active file transfers
  • Disable picture-in-picture in video chats
  • Automatically reconnect when disconnected
  • Disable alert sounds when away, idle, or available

A detailed feature list with screen shots will provide you with even more information on this very handy - and free - product.

Version 1.5 adds/changes the following:

  • (Bug) Fixed an issue where some incoming messages could not be accepted
  • (Bug) Fixed missing strings in the Italian localization
  • (Bug) Increased responsiveness of the log viewer
  • (Bug) Log viewer now sorts logs by creation date
  • (Bug) Fixed an issue where the Chax preferences could become hidden

Features of Chax 2.2 for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard include:

  • Unified contact list shows all contacts from all accounts in one window
  • Growl notifications for new messages and users changing status
  • Automatically resize the contact list to fit the number of visible users
  • Built-in log viewer
  • Activity log that displays your contacts' status changes
  • Auto-accept file transfers, AV chats, and screen sharing requests
  • Toggle text status visibility of users
  • Always on top option for contact list, message windows and AV chats
  • Set font of names, status messages, and group separators
  • Option to auto-accept text chats, skipping new message notification window
  • Show status changes directly in the message window
  • Additional unread message notifications in the dock
  • Automatically go away when the screensaver activates
  • Properly use ICQ accounts without sending text formatting in messages

Version 2.2.2 adds/changes the following from version 2.2.1:

  • (Note) The preference for "Show Text Status" in the View menu has been reset for improved compatibility for future releases
  • (New) Option to automatically clear successful file transfers
  • (New) Can now remove individual items from the activity window with the delete key
  • (New) Added a hidden preference to always send Growl notifications even when iChat is active (defaults write com.ksuther.chax AlwaysShowGrowlNotifications -bool YES)
  • (Bug) Activity window dates now use the system-defined date and time formats
  • (Bug) Fixed the unified contact list position not saving for some localizations
  • (Bug) Reduced log viewer load time
  • (Bug) Suppressed warnings related to Chax when launching garbage-collected applications

Features of Chax 3.0 for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard include:

  • Rewritten for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Version 3.0.2 adds/changes the following from version 3.0.1:

  • (Bug) Fixed a serious crash when that could occur if using groups.

User Reviews

"Chax adds critical features to iChat - most notably tabbed chat windows and notifications of IMs with actual names over the iChat icon in the dock - that enable iChat to function much better, but there is still much to be done. iChat isn't going to change for a while and Chax has only made so much progress. Nevertheless, Chax is essential for iChat users that need a little more functionality out of their chat program."
—Chris May

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; Donationware

Current Version: 2.3 (4617) (August 21, 2009)

Colloquy is a free, open source IRC client based upon the Firetalk IRC engine for Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later. Its customizable, Cocoa-based interface will feel familiar to users of Apple's iChat, making it quite friendly and approachable for an IRC application. It is also fully compatibe with mIRC coloring, aind includes full DCC support.

Version 2.3 (4617) adds/changes the following:

  • Adds a Bouncer that can be used with Colloquy for iPhone to receive push notifications. (The bouncer feature is Leopard only.)
  • Support identification services on other networks like QuakeNet, Undernet and GameSurge.
  • Warning alert before sending large amounts of text to the chat.
  • Better hostmask generation for bans.
  • Over 60 more changes, fixes and additions.

User Reviews

Currently, no user reviews have been submitted. Send me yours!


Company Page Home Page Release Notes License:
Commercial; varies

Current Version: 4.0 (December 8, 2009)

Webmaster, Inc. produces ConferenceRoom, a highly-regarded browser-enabled chat/conferencing server application that runs on Mac OS X's UNIX layer ("Darwin").

Version 4.0 is a minor release that adds/changes the following:

  • ConferenceRoom 4.0 is a wrap up bug fix version of the 3.x series servers. This is a free update for any licensed 3.5 server. The main feature that this version resolves is the changes that are required to run the flash client by adding a built in policy server.

The software is available for purchase in various configurations, ranging in price from $995 to $4,995. The evaluation editions are limited to 10 simultaneous users and contain features from the Professional Edition of ConferenceRoom.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:

Current Version: 1.4.2 / 2.14 (July 18, 2005)

Conversation is a free IRC client with DCC and MP3 channels support for Mac OS X. Its Cocoa-based interface will feel familiar to users of Apple's iChat, making it quite friendly and approachable for an IRC application. Version 2.14 adds/changes the following:

  • New Safari like download window
  • Various bug fixes

User Reviews

"Conversation is by far the most Mac-like IRC client listed on The Mac Orchard. It's extremely easy and user-friendly. It is modeled on iChat, so the learning curve is almost zero. The interface is clean, simple, and easy. I can't speak to whether it compares to Snak or Ircle in functionality, but (at least) as a beginner's program, it's superb. Besides, you can't beat the price (free)!"
—Jim Syler

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Company Page Home Page Release Notes License:
Commercial; varies

Current Version: 5.1 (March 3, 2005)

Digi-Net Technologies, Inc. produces DigiChat, a Java-based client and server chat system for Web content providers. DigiChat and its sister product - DigiChat AV - feature a number of features that are summarized on the DigiChat Feature Set page.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes

Current Version: 1.0.4 (October 23, 2004) / 1.5.6 (February 16, 2006)

Please note: Fire has officially been discontinued as of February 23, 2007. The authors note: "We are saddened to announce that there will be no future versions of Fire. There are several reasons for this end, but the most notable is the loss of developers. Fire's development had dwindled to few developers who do not wish to continue the project alone. In addition, another major contributing factor is the fact that all but one of Fire's IM libraries is no longer in active development. The good news is that two of Fire's developers have joined the Adium team and have written a transition path. Adium 1.0, upon first launch, will import your Fire accounts, away messages, groups, buddies, and logs into Adium. For future updates and IM needs, we suggest that you look at Adium." However, the latest released version of Fire will continue to be available. More...

Fire is a free, attractive, multi-protocol instant messaging service for Mac OS X (written in Cocoa, Mac OS X's native programming environment). Currently, Fire handles AIM, ICQ, MSN, IRC, Jabber, and Yahoo! Pager protocols. Fire benefits from all the work that has been done on Linux to support these protocols; the "services" Fire provides are built off of open source/GNU Public License software libraries written for Linux, and compiled into a nice, attractive OS X front end. This is among the first of many pieces of software that will undoubtedly be brought to the OS X platform this way. Version 1.5.6 (for Mac OS X 10.2 and later only) makes the following changes:

  • Fixed Jabber connection problems.
  • Seem to have finally fixed the speech crash bug. It seems Apple's documentation is not quite correct.
  • Fixed rearrangement of groups through dragging.
  • Adium-style tabs dragging fixed.
  • Speed up automatic translations.
  • Buddy Text Encodings are saved for irc and ICQ conversations.
  • Spotlight Importer - Added more detail info about files to import. This should help the importer to actually work.

User Reviews

"One of the first native messaging clients for Mac OS X, this program - although still far from beta - fills the bill nicely. The best feature is that it is not another messaging standard; rather, it supports AOL IM, Yahoo, and ICQ messenger services in one program. That's right - chat with all of your contacts across three IM services with one program and one on-line buddy list. A must have for OS X users and it will only get better. MSN support is planned as well. Freeware."
—Steven Major

"Being relatively new to Macintosh and to Macintosh applications, I was pleasantly surprised to find this one, Fire, an instant messaging client made specifically for Macintosh OS X. Fire is indeed an attractive program which allows the user to connect to all of the major networks, as well as import your contacts from lesser known programs (Adium, etc.). You can also use encryption for all your instant messaging if you so desire. I am absolutely thrilled with this program, though due to faults not of its own, sometimes connecting with "certain" networks is more difficult than others. It is an application that I use on a daily basis. I have never understood why people who use this application find time to find its faults...sure, it can be an inconvenience, but the creator of this program has it under active development, and it's FREE. I love this thing!."
—Paul Bowers

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Company Page Home Page Release Notes License:
Commercial; varies

Current Version: Client: 10.009 (January 25, 2010) / Server: 10.0 (August 30, 2009)

Centrinity produces the FirstClass email and workgroup communication/collaboration system. Server software includes FirstClass Business Edition and FirstClass Education Edition.

FirstClass Client 10.009 is primarily a bugfix release; version 10.0 added/changed the following:

  • Social Media - Social Media is a new state-of-the-art browser based interface that offers customers all the social networking offerings (wikis, blogs, tagging, profiles, etc.) in a safe collaborative environment. For users of FirstClass 10 and Social Media there will be various ways to toggle between the two applications.
  • FirstClass software integrates easily with Social Media. Users can use either interface to access discussions, and blogs. From the client there will be various ways to toggle between the two applications.
  • Mobility - In July 2009, the FirstClass iPhone and iPod Touch App was released. With FirstClass Mobile, iPhone, and iPod touch users can now take FirstClass with them on the road, and have all of the power of FirstClass in the palm of their hands.
  • Search - Social Media provides our users with a "magic" search box where users can type requests and quickly receive relevancy-ranked results of information that they have permission to see.
  • FirstClass 10 also includes a brand new high-performance relevancy ranked search engine built into the FirstClass Core Server that delivers many great features to FirstClass users.
  • Platforms - FirstClass 10 will run on a 64-bit hardware and operating systems. This enables Open Text to build much more sophisticated capabilities that exploit the greater power and scalability that these platforms provide.
  • Enhanced calendar printing Support for Web DAV protocol Validation Key support Unread counters for mailboxes and conferences
  • Calendar - Calendar printing has been enhanced for Day, Week, and Month views.
  • Enhanced Unread Item Tracking - The FirstClass Unread Item Tracking System has been significantly enhanced. The key new capability is that it will now provide the count for the number of unread items in each container. This new information is displayed in our user interfaces such as the FirstClass Client and the FirstClass Mobile Client with a counter replacing the red flag on containers. The familiar red flags will still be used to provide the unread status for individual objects.

FirstClass Server 10 also introduces a number of changes that are fully detailed in the online release notes.

FirstClass Client requires Mac OS X 10.5.2 or later; FirstClass Server requires Mac 10.5.4 or later running on a 64-bit Intel processor. More details are available.

You can find the latest version on FirstClass Online in the Conferences/Downloads/FirstClass Product Updates section of your software. Ensure that you review the Upgrade Instructions located there, and have your FirstClass upgrade license before proceeding with an upgrade. You should find the upgrade license in your FirstClass Online account mailbox or can complete an online request form for it.

See the online support page for more information.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:

Current Version: (September 25, 2009)

Note: Gizmo5 has been acquired by Google and software is temporarily unavailable. Read more.

Similar to Skype (but based upon the comparatively open SIPphone protocol), Gizmo5 uses your Internet connection (broadband or dial-up) to make free calls to other computers. Inexpensive add-ons called "Call In" and "Call Out" enable you to talk to people on any mobile telephone or land line. Features include:

  • Sound effects - Add Sound Effects to your calls. Open the Dialpad at the bottom of Gizmo Project window and press the emoticon button during a call. You can choose other sounds (or upload your own) from the options menu.
  • Check call quality - Click for the Call Quality Assitant to see bandwidth quality.
  • Pick online status. Green: Available, Red: Away/Do not disturb, Orange: Idle, Blue: On the phone, Grey: Invisible/Offline
  • Online status. Gives the current status of all your contacts.
  • Click Map It to view map of call locations. Get a detailed map of the location of each call.
  • Instant Messaging (IM) - Chat instantly with your contacts.
  • Person being called receives call subject. Let them know immediately the purpose of your call.
  • You can record any call on your Gizmo Project phone with the click of a button. The call record button is in the active call window, next to the mute and hold buttons.
  • Type in Gizmo name or number here to make a call. Gizmo to Gizmo call always free. You can also call any traditional phone using Call Out.

Version - the first release in over two (!) years - adds/changes the following:

  • Numerous bug fixes.

User Reviews

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Home Page

Current Version: 1.7.2 / 3.02 / 3.2 / 3.4.23 December 30, 2002

ICQ is one of the most widely used chat "buddy" systems on the Net today, and this is a long-awaited port of the software to the Macintosh. ICQ informs you who's on-line at any time and enables you to contact them at will, alerting you in real time when they log on. ICQ, allows you to chat, send messages, files and URLs, play games, or just hang out with your fellow 'Netters' while still surfing the Net. Unfortunately, Mirabilis pays much less attention to its Mac development than its Windows development, so there are woeful differences in the capabilities of the two versions. Because of this, Gerry's ICQ, a privately-written alternative available above, has become quite popular. Version 3.4.23 - the latest non-beta release for Mac OS 9 & Mac OS X - adds/changes the following from version 3.2:

  • Version 3.4 of ICQ for Mac brings AOL interoperability, as well as better compatibility with Mac OS X.
  • Interoperability with AIM and iChat instant messengers. You can add users from those messengers to your Contact List and exchange instant messages with them.
  • Better peer to peer connectivity: MacICQ now supports passive p2p connections for users behind firewalls.
  • Users behind firewalls can now choose their listen port range.
  • Auto-reconnect (available in the Connection panel of the Network and Security window). Users with a permanent internet connection should turn this on to avoid occasional disconnect messages.
  • Easy way to enter active URLs directly into outgoing messages.
  • New support for unicode text entry (e.g., for Arabic and Hebrew).
  • Cosmetic issue: Incoming SMS messages are now displayed (as opposed to not displayed in the previous version).
  • The Contact List can now display names in multiple languages.
  • URLs are read from Safari.
  • Clickable URLs in message windows.
  • Many bug fixes.
  • Other small features and improvements.

User Reviews

"Somehow, Mirabilis has managed to make a complete pig's ear of version 2.5. Problems include: common crashes, an astoundingly annoying tendency for it to turn on balloon help while in the background, incompatibility with many other clients (e.g., many clients get no acknowledgement when sending messages to me, file transfers often don't work, multi-person chats cause it to give in and quit), and many many other annoying "features". I know it's supposed to be a beta, but this is ridiculous. Stick to the previous version if you have it, and avoid this one like the plague."
—Andy Lewis

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Icy Juice

Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: 1.0.2 (August 25, 2006)

Icy Juice is a free, open source ICQ client for Mac OS X. The software is architected in such a way as to encourage support for many languages other than English. The author notes, "Icy Juice is still not feature-complete, and the current release is a preview and an invitation for users to express their needs and expectations from an ICQ client and for developers to take part in this open source project in one way or another."

Version 1.0.2 adds/changes the following:

  • Fixed a bug in the decoding of UTF-16 messages on Intel.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: 20081115 (February 18, 2009)

ircII is an IRC and ICB client that runs under most UNIX platforms. It runs as a command-line application, comes in source form, and is completely free of any charges or fees. The ircII project is a group of people who maintain the source code, incorporating fixes and new features.

Version 20081115 adds/changes the following from the previous release (20060725):

  • /on channel_signoff works again.
  • Try to split ICB messages at word boundaries.
  • Disallow many IRC commands on ICB.
  • /ping works on ICB.
  • Revert the utf-8 changes for large lastlog performance reasons. There should be a re-implementation coming in the future.
  • Make /on nickname, /on channel_nick, $chanusers() and $onchannel() work with ICB.

Unfortunately, there is currently no pre-built version for Mac OS X, so using this release will require that you have the Mac OS X Developer Tools installed. But I have verified that ircII builds without modification on Mac OS X; just follow the instructions in the "INSTALL" file included in the download, and you'll be set. (You might want to make your object directory "obj-osx" rather than "obj-sparc" if it makes you feel better, though!)

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes

Current Version: 3.1.2 (February 15, 2005)

The premiere Internet Relay Chat program for the Mac. I'm not much for IRC, but this is a client that really impresses me. It's rock solid, has a great interface, and is filled with features. From the Info-Mac abstract: Ircle takes less space (disk or RAM), is more stable, and responds faster than Homer. A must for slow Macs." While version the version 3.1 series has made a host of changes, version 3.1.2 specifically adds/changes the following:

  • Bug fixes related to sending audio and video. You should now be able to use an iSight camera for instance, and just about any compression method to send video streams to other ircle users. Both sides need to have ircle 3.1.2 or newer.
  • Ircle now sends the correct Notice command when using /onotice on servers that do not support the wallchops command, but that do support notice @#channel.
  • Error -1407 after receiving or sending faces fixed.

User Reviews

"Ircle is the current reigning heavyweight champion of Macintosh IRC clients. Although the learning curve is a bit steeper than other IRC clients, the climb is more than worth it. Ircle is simply the most stable, most powerful IRC client available for Mac. The developer, "Onno," is always working on improvements, and can often be found on Undernet's "#macintosh" channel soliciting comments from users. Ircle features simple IRC macros, DCC Chat and file transfers, a "progress bar" type memory readout (so you don't open TOO many channels at once!) and the most recent 2.6 alpha even uses drag and drop (that's right, kick a troublesome user by dragging his name to the "Kick" button!) Too many other features to mention in a short space."
—John Weiglein

"I've only been using IRC for a few months now, and used Homer originally. I had so many problems with it--loss of connection and freezeups--that I was ready to quit trying to chat online entirely. One of my friends suggested I try Ircle. From the first time I tried it, I have had none of the freezeups and almost no "bumpoffs" that were driving me crazy with Homer. If I were to recommend an IRC program for the Mac, it would be Ircle, without a doubt."
—Steve Busby

"I have been using Ircle for about 6 months now, and let me tell you, I have had a lot of fun using it. You can adjust the background--and the text--to whatever colors you wish! And the DCC chat protocol is absolutely wonderful. You can chat privately with another user, and send files back and forth. It is fast and very stable. I am absolutely hooked on Ircle.... [It's the] very best chat client for Mac users! On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Ircle an 11!"
—Connie Myers

"I can only concur with the other praises listed in your user reviews site. Ircle is tops; add to it Wardawg's MacPack [and] AAirchat Font and you can leave even the most sophisticated Pirch for PC user behind in the dust. I *love* Ircle and can only thank Onno for the effort put into developing this wonderful application. It makes chat sessions a delight!"
—Gabriella Pirola

"The other reviews are quite correct about Ircle's reliability and usability. As a user of other irc clients, I should like to point out that the normal irc II commands are a *strength* of this client. Unfortunately, ircle *still* does not support loading of ircII scripts, nor does it implement the /ignore feature correctly. If you wish to /ignore someone msging you, or if you only wish to /ignore tedious sound requests, you must ignore everything from that person."
—Dontula Narasimharao

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Download the 680x0 version.
Download the Power Mac version.
Download the Mac OS X (Carbon) version.

Version 3.5a6 for Mac OS X (Carbon / Universal, May 20, 2008) is now available, adding/changing the following:

  • Prefs are now saved in plist file. (a5)
  • Uses modern OS X network routines. (a5)
  • Does SSL server connections as well as SSL DCC Chat (/DCC SCHAT nick). In order to make secure DCC Chat work you need to install a Signed Certificate once with 'certtool'. Instructions will follow. (a5)
  • Numerous smaller fixes. (a5)
  • Known problems: Socks firewall support does not work. (a5)
  • Fixed DCC problems. (a4)
  • Fixed problem with tabexpand script event. (a3)
  • Window tile bug solved. (a3)
  • Fixed crash on Intel Macs. (a3)
  • Fixed crashes with dcc sendface, sendvideo. (a3)
  • Fixed problem in Join dialog window. (a3)
  • Intel and PowerPC pref files are now mostly compatible. some minor problems need to be resolved. (a3)
  • Fixed problem in DCC send acknowledgement routine. (a3)
  • Recognizes horizontal mouse wheel movements. (a3)
  • Fixed a problem with loading and unloading scripts, especially when the script routines 'load data' and 'save data' were called. (a2)
  • Ircle is now a Carbon Mach-O application, compiled with XCode, old Pascal code has either been removed or translated to C. (a1)
  • Universal Binary, it runs on Mac OS X for PowerPC and Intel processors. (a1)
  • Supports MP3, AIFF custom sounds (a1)
  • Supports Growl notifications. (a1)
  • Many optimizations, code cleanup, resulting in a slightly faster application. (a1)

The online release notes have more information.


Home Page

Current Version: 0.701 (February 26, 2002)

IRCStep is a relatively mature (it's been under development since 1998) IRC client, originally written for NeXT OpenStep (Steve Jobs' prior effort at a usable Unix), and now ported to OS X (Cocoa). Since it is of Japanese origin, it is also seamlessly capable of working with Japanese (2-byte) Kanji. IRCStep is also compatible with SOCKS5 firewalls. IRCStep is distributed as freeware.

User Reviews

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iSpQ VideoChat

Company Page Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Commercial; $49.95

Current Version: 8.1 (July 18, 2008)

nanoCom Corporation produces the iSpQ VideoChat cross-platform video conferencing software, considered by many people to be one of the best videoconferencing systems available. The fully-functioning 21-day trial version features many improvements and additions.

Version 8.1 adds/changes the following:

  • Improved Video Codec
  • Audio Volume indicators on Video chat screen
  • Networking improved
  • Higher performance
  • Many other minor fixes

User Reviews

Currently, no user reviews have been submitted. Send me yours!


Company Page Home Page Release Notes License:
Commercial; varies

Current Version: 3.5.1 (December 30, 2005) / 3.7.2 (October 26, 2007)

iVisit LLC produces the iVisit multiparty, serverless videoconferencing software that is developed, in part, by Tim Dorcey, the original creator of CU-SeeMe.

Version 3.5.1 - the latest release for "Classic" Mac OS - adds/changes the following:

  • Background file transfer via iVisit message "attachments"
  • New option to iVisit recordings as QuickTime .mov files (Plus accounts only)
  • New "Guest Invite" option to create invites URLs

Version 3.7.2 - the latest release for Mac OS X - adds/changes the following from the previous release, 3.7.1:

  • The main change from previous versions is the addition of audio/video messaging capabilities. This allows you to send short audio/video clips to other users without opening a live connection. The audio/video file is sent directly from you to the other person, without passing through a server. This means that you must both be logged on before the transfer will occur. Once you send the message, iVisit will watch for the earliest chance to transfer it. For best performance, you should leave iVisit logged on all the time.
  • To send an audio/video message push the new "camera" button on the remote video window. When you let the button up, the recording will be sent. Optionally, a dialog will open and give you the opportunity to cancel. The first time you receive and audio/video message from a certain user, you choose whether to receive all or block all messages from that user.
  • If you send a message to someone running an older version of iVisit, it will create a link in their chat window to receive and open it like an ordinary file transfer.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes

Current Version: V2 SP10

iXQ is a new open source ICQ Client for Mac OS X. It is developed in Objective-C and it implements the new protocol of AOL, OSCAR (ICQv7). iXQ can import contact lists from Fire, Gerry's ICQ and ICQ; offers a fair number of preference settings, and has a very clean interface. Version V2 added/changed the following:

  • Multiple accounts - you can now open as many account as you want simultaneously
  • Visible and invisible lists
  • Extended Search
  • Extended User Info
  • Managing visibility lists with the server
  • New History Manager, which let you search quickly your messages
  • Auto detection of contact's encodings
  • New GUI - the GUI has been totally rewritten, bringing new features such as Multiple level nesting of folders in the contact list
  • Auto-switch to transparent windows when iXQ is not in front
  • Personalization of message windows
  • New notification system
  • And much more

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes

Current Version: 0.4.1

JabberFoX is a free Jabber client for Mac OS X whose name stands for "Jabber For OS X." Jabber is an open source instant messaging system fully based on XML. Thanks to the server-side Jabber Agents, Jabber clients can communicate with users of other instant messaging systems, like AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, or IRC. JabberFoX is written in Objective-C using Apple's Cocoa API, and makes good use of Aqua, Mac OS X's cool new user interface system. It aims at implementing all of the standard Jabber features including chat, group chat, messages, the roster (buddylist), and agents. Eventually, the authors hope to incorporate all of the features of the Jabber protocol, including browsing, strong encryption and the new conferencing protocol. Version 0.4.1 adds/changes the following:

  • Localized to Spanish.
  • URLs in incoming messages/text are made clickabkle, like in a web browser.
  • Roster/UserChat/GroupChat can have transparent backgrounds.
  • To reduce clutter, roster contacts with only one resource can't be expanded anymore.
  • Added a menu item to show/hide offline roster items.
  • GroupChat: added Tab-completion of nick names.
  • GroupChat: highlighting possible via color, sound, or speech.
  • Support for new "invisible" mode (only works on Jabber servers 1.4.2 and higher).
  • Various other minor changes.
  • Lots of bugs squashed.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:

Current Version: 2.15 (June 24, 2010)

LimeChat is an modern, clean and simple IRC client for Mac OS X. Its features include one window for multiple servers, rich keyboard shortcuts, and fast and stable performance.

Version 2.15 adds/changes the following:

  • Join a channel automatically when invited option.
  • Handle incomplete ISO-2022-JP sequences.
  • Cancel reconnection when disconnect from menu.
  • Fixed minor bugs.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Shareware; €19.99

Current Version: 2.1.2 (January 22, 2010)

Linkinus is an advanced IRC client for Mac OS X whose main draw is a clean, modern interface that is simple to use. Features include:

  • Complete OS X integration and Aqua look-and-feel
  • Interface/Agent architecture (allows detaching)
  • Rules defining specific IRC behavior
  • Dynamic content display with Styles
  • Cross-session history capabilities
  • Automated flood protection
  • Aliases, Shortcuts, Highlights
  • Cocoa Plug-ins, AppleScripts, and more.

While other Mac IRC clients may be:

  • Inelegant and clunky, lacking many of the amenities of other Mac OS X apps (visual preferences, for instance)
  • Very buggy
  • Lacking a GUI
  • So customizable that they just fall apart

. . . Linkinus aims to be none of these things, which is a worthy goal.

Linkinus 2.1.2 adds/changes the following:

  • Performance improvements
  • Network picker, channel list and ban list now offer both icon and list view styles

User Reviews

"I just switched from X-Chat Aqua to Linkinus and I'm sold :-) This app is awesome! It's a killer app."
—Wim De Smet

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: (September 3, 2009)

MacIrssi is a powerful, free, open source IRC client that is based on the *nix IRC client irssi (, combining the power of the irssi engine with an elegant and flexible GUI. MacIrsse supports all of the themes and scripts available at without modification.

Version adds/changes the following:

  • Note: As of, Perl is only available while running MacIrssi on Snow Leopard.
  • MacIrssi no longer crashes on launch when the PPC version is executed on Tiger.
  • Using /quit to close MacIrssi now actually closes the application.
  • URL recognition is no longer hyper-active. URLs are only recognised when prefixed with a protocol:// specifier but will recognise domain names without any full-stops.
  • The 10th server and channel now have a Command-Option-0 and Command-0 shortcut mapped to them.
  • Serverops are now listed above channel ops in the nicklist.

User Reviews

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Meeting Maker

Company Page Home Page Screen Shots License:

Current Version: 8.7 (December 13, 2007)

PeopleCube produces Meeting Maker, a cross-platform groupware calendaring product that supports Macs, Windows, DOS, Unix, and OS/2, and has concurrent support for TCP/IP and IPX, SMTP mail notification for non-users, data caching, and built-in proxy and resource capabilities.

Version 8.7 (available only to registered users) adds/changes the following:

  • Meeting Maker Re-Acceptance Preference - This new preference no longer forces Meeting Maker users to reaccept meetings if there are minor changes to the meeting (e.g., a guest list or agenda change). Meeting Maker still requires meeting reacceptance when major items change for a meeting (e.g., time, date, or location). Guests are not notified if the agenda, title, or guests change. Guests must always reaccept a meeting if the location or the meeting time changes. Meeting Maker is delivered with this feature disabled.
  • Server-Side User Restore - The serverside restore allows a Meeting Maker administrator to restore a deleted user's account through the Admin GUI.
  • Microsoft Vista Support - All clients and the Meeting Maker Admin have been tested and certified on the Vista platform.
  • Solaris 10 Support - The Meeting Maker server has been tested and certified on a Sun SPARC Solaris 10 platform. Solaris has not been tested on Fujitsu SPARC64 platform-based systems or x86 platform-based systems.
  • Guest using autoaccept should not send email notification.
  • Support for OS X horizontal scrolling.
  • Scrolling in banner area with mouse button causes wrong display.
  • MM client not working after changing SETUPCONTROL file.

User Reviews

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Microsoft Messenger

Home Page Screen Shots License:

Current Version: 2.5.1 (July 22, 2004) / 6.0.3 (August 22, 2007) / 7.0.2 (February 6, 2009)

Yet another Instant Messaging program, Microsoft Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) is Microsoft's equivalent to the AOL Instant Messenger product. However, Microsoft Messenger 6 and 7 are compatible with the Office Communications Server products used in many corporate environments.

Version 2.5 (for Mac OS 8.6-9.x) makes the following changes:

  • Updated Emoticons
  • Other improvements to enhance stability and performance
  • Japanese, German, Swedish, French, and Spanish versions of MSN Messenger now available
  • Other miscellaneous bug fixes

Version 6 - for Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later only - brought the following major enhancements:

  • Messenger for Mac 6.0 is a Universal application built to run on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macs.
  • Chat with Yahoo! Messenger contacts.
  • Add a status message that your personal contacts can see.
  • Share what you are listening to in iTunes with your personal contacts.
  • Create, send, and receive custom emoticons with personal contacts.
  • Send and receive custom animated emoticons with personal contacts.
  • Search for conversation histories using Spotlight.
  • Check the spelling in your instant messages.

Version 6.0.3 makes the following additional changes:

  • Messenger for Mac 6.0.3 includes improved performance during file transfers and improvements to Kerberos authentication.
  • It also introduces support for the Danish, Finnish, and Norwegian languages.
  • In addition, Messenger for Mac 6.0.3 includes logging for the personal account. Log files can help troubleshoot various problems in Messenger such as connection problems, status failures, and other issues. Enabling logs saves a file containing personal information to ~/Documents. Anyone with access to this directory can open this file. By default, Messenger logging is turned off.

Version 7 - for Mac OS X 10.4.9 and later only - brings the following major enhancements:

  • Includes new features for both the corporate service (works with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007) and personal service (works with the Windows Live service).
  • Delivers audio and video for the first time in the corporate service.
  • Bonjour support, available in both personal and corporate services. Using the Mac OS X Bonjour technology, Messenger for Mac 7.0 includes the ability to detect other Messenger for Mac users that are near by on the same local network.
  • New features in the corporate service. Messenger for Mac 7 makes it easier to track down co-workers you need to contact. Using the new search feature, you can easily search for people in your organization and start communicating with them.
  • More detailed presence information that is compatible with the presence model of Office Communications Server 2007. Messenger for Mac 7 displays additional presence states to better reflect your contacts (or your own) availability.
  • Through the corporate service in Messenger for Mac, you can now conduct virtual meetings with your co-workers using audio and video calls. You can communicate inside or outside your corporate network, you can communicate with co-workers running Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 on Windows, you can even participate in a multi-party Audio or Video conference.
  • AV is not available yet in the Personal service. We are making progress and working on the delivery of Audio and Video for the personal service and are looking forward to getting the feature out there and in your hands as soon as we can.
  • You can now assign nicknames to your contacts. Do you know two people named Jack and can never tell them apart in your contact list, since they both have their display name set to Jack? Put an end to the confusion and assign them some identifiable nicknames! Do you have a friend that insists on changing his\her display name to a different expression everyday? Use a nickname to reduce the amount of time you spend trying to identify your contact in the contact list.
  • A new contact search field enables you to look contacts up more easily.

Messenger for Mac 7.0.2 improves overall quality and conversations with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2.

Other versions are still available for Mac OS X 10.1.3 - 10.3.

User Reviews

[Classic version] "I haven't really had a chance to play much with the program, since not many folks I know are on the MSN chat network, but this seems to be one of the easier chat programs I've seen, on a par with AIM, and way ahead of the awful client ICQ has. The Hotmail alerts are great."
—Adam Lipkin

[Classic version] "While I've heard it's slightly more stable on OS 9, and the X-native version is reported to work well, it's terribly buggy and extremely crash-prone running through CarbonLib 1.6 on OS 8.6. As soon as another party sends you a message, the whole OS locks up. Under 1.5, it was at least partially usable; you could IM successfully for around half an hour before it would finally go down in flames. Under 1.4, it was even more stable, but still nowhere near perfect. Overall, I would not recommend this client for OS 8.6 under any circumstances."
—Jordan Carder

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Download the Carbon version (2.5.1) for Mac OS 8.6 - 9.x.
Download the Carbon / Universal version (6.0.3) for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Download the Carbon / Universal version (7.0.2) for Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.
Go to download an older version for Mac OS X 10.1.3 - 10.3.

Version 8.0 Beta (Carbon / Intel) for Mac OS X 10.5 and later provides real-time collaboration between people in different locations. You can use instant messaging and audio and video calls to communicate with your contacts. More information is available on the beta site.


Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: 0.4.3 (May 23, 2006)

ohphoneX (pronounced as "oh-fone-ten") is an H.323 compliant client application for video conferencing and IP telephony. It can be used to communicate with all sorts of H.323 software, including Microsoft NetMeeting. It uses the protocol stack developed by the OpenH323 Project. ohphoneX is the first application from the XMeeting Project, the goal is to bring standard based video conferencing and IP telephony application to Mac OS X. For more information about ohphoneX and the XMeeting project, please visit the XMeeting web site at

ohphoneX is designed to be a simple application that does Mac-to-Mac and Mac-to-PC audio/video conferencing, as well as Mac-to-Phone voice only communication. Therefore, advanced features such as multi-party conferencing and answering machine are not included in this release. However, these feature will be included in other applications from the XMeeting project.

Version 0.4.3 adds/changes the following:

  • Fixes problems with bandwidth requested when registering at a Gatekeeper
  • Fixes problems with Full Screen mode
  • Various other small bug fixes

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes License:

Current Version: 4.2 (June 9, 2008)

Proteus is a simple and attractive Mac OS X instant messaging application that supports the ICQ, MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Jabber and Yahoo! Messenger protocols. One distinctive feature of Proteus is that it separates the user interface from the actual services that interact with IM servers. These services run in self-contained daemon application that handles each connection independently. Some distinctive features include:

  • Message bar icon - easy access via OS X's Menu bar. Change your status and see how many unread messages are waiting for you.
  • Connect to as many accounts as you want - multiple instances of each account type are supported.
  • Make use of Mac OS X's advanced password management - Proteus integrates with OS X's keychain, making password managment simple and universal.
  • Broadcast conversations to other contacts, across services - become a virtual-host of a chat room for your buddies. Proteus acts as the hub, redirecting your contacts messages out to any reciepient.

Version 4.2 adds bug fixes and new icons.

User Reviews

"I started off using Fire in OS X, then I found Proteus. Proteus is a neat, simple, easy to install chat client that picks up and handles all of my existing chat accounts in one simple interface. The message windows can be 'docked' so that only one message window takes up screen real-estate, and you can even broadcast messages among a list of users in your 'buddy' lists, so that it ends up acting like a pseudo-chat room. Neato."
—Blair Cameron

(Version 4.1) "In my quest for a good, attractive and powerful multi-service IM client I tried Proteus, but after using Adium I was unimpressed. Adium does everything Proteus does, and far more. The fact that Adium does it for free sealed Proteus' fate. Proteus was dragged to the trash and I'll keep using Adium until Proteus improves. I simply couldn't find any advantages to using Proteus over Adium, and little advantage over Fire (Proteus is a wee bit more attractive than Fire - but that's all)."
—Jamie Kahn Genet

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: 0.14 (December 3, 2009)

Psi is a free, open source Jabber client for Mac OS X. (Jabber is an open source instant messaging system fully based on XML. Thanks to the server-side Jabber Agents, Jabber clients can communicate with users of other instant messaging systems, like AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN, or IRC.) Psi is small, fast and responsive. It uses a graphical toolkit called Qt, which takes on the appearance of whichever operating system you run it on. For this reason, Psi doesn't use 'skins'. We'd rather it blend with your desktop like any other application. Psi has full support for Unicode. Unicode allows Psi to send and receive messages in other languages, even ones that aren't based upon the English letterset. In fact, you are able to use Psi in your choice of eight different languages, with more on the way. Cross-platform compatibility is important to the Psi development team; they believe that you should be able to use whichever operating system you wish. In keeping with this belief, there is a version for each of the three major OS's: Microsoft Windows XP, Apple Mac OS X and GNU/Linux/KDE3.

Version 0.14 adds/changes the following:

  • Added color options to the chat window.
  • Can now specify a reason for kick/ban in groupchat.
  • Improved User Info window, to show more fields and photo view/save.
  • Support for Enchant as an alternative to Aspell.
  • Commandline interface now supports choosing profile and setting status.
  • D-BUS interface now supports setting status and indicating sleep/wake.
  • Fixed voice calling compatibility bugs with Pidgin and Empathy.
  • Various other minor improvements and bugfixes.

User Reviews

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Company Page Home Page License:
Commercial; see text.

Current Version: 1.6 (June 20, 2001) / 1.6.6 (May 12, 2005)

Startly Technologies, LLC (formerly CE Software) produces QuickConference (formerly "Prairie"), an instant messaging system that is geared toward business use.

Servers are available for Windows and "Classic" Mac OS, and clients are available for Windows, "Classic" Mac OS, and Mac OS X. Pricing starts at $119.95 for a 5-user bundle. Downloads are in the form of 30-day demonstration versions.

User Reviews

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Company Page Home Page Screen Shots License:
Commercial; see site

Current Version: 4.5 (August 23, 2006)

(Formerly MacPopUp.) From the QuickPopup home page: "QuickPopup is a program that allows Mac users to exchange instant messages with other users on any local area network (LAN). With QuickPopup, you can send and receive messages from different operating systems such as Mac OS, Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows for Workgroups, Linux and other UNIX OSes. QuickPopup is compatible with the Microsoft WinPopup application and the similar clients in other operating systems." (Note: While QuickPopup is a TCP/IP-based application, it is geared for use on local area networks (LANs), not via the Internet.)

While no information is available regarding what's new in version 4.5 (other than the fact that the Mac OS X version is available as a Universal Binary that runs natively on Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs), version 4.1 added/changed the following:

  • Bug fixes.
  • Windows version is Terminal Service aware now.
  • QuickPopup Hosts file support added. The IP address list for WAN and P2P networks.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Freeware; see text.

Current Version: (February 11, 2010)

Skype is a free program for Mac OS X (as well as Windows, Linux and Pocket PC) that lets you make free calls to your friends all over the world. After you download, register, and install, you plug in your headset, speakers or USB phone to start calling your friends. The calls have good sound quality and are secured with end-to-end encryption. The optional paid SkypeOut service lets you make calls to old-fashioned phone numbers all around the world. Additionally, Skype allows you to transfer files and participate in plain, old-fashioned instant messaging as well.

Version addresses the following:

  • Skype Access: Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Skype Access was not working
  • Calling: Skype occasionally crashed when the host of a conference call would hang up on one participants during the call
  • Calling: Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Users were unable to call phone numbers via their Mac Address Book
  • Instant Messaging: Platform specific: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Some animated emoticons were not displayed correctly
  • Profile: Skype crashed due to invalid avatars (occurred seldom)
  • Miscellaneous: Users sometimes experienced an "Unable to mount database" error message when launching Skype
  • Miscellaneous: Skype crashed when a user quit after opening an authorization missed event
  • Miscellaneous: Platform specific: OS X 10.3 Panther - Occasionally Skype crashed right after an account was created
  • Miscellaneous: Improved notification on how to disable a mood message chat

Skype operates on a peer-to-peer model, wherein users of the Skype network help route other users' calls around the globe, which may consume your bandwidth unexpectedly if the conditions are right. See the Skype Wikipedia article for more information.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Shareware; $29

Current Version: 5.3.3 (November 16, 2007)

Snak is a spectacular (and actively updated) IRC client that shares top billing with Ircle as the most preferred IRC client for the Mac. Snak author Kent Sorensen has worked very hard in the last few years at making Snak into the finest experience possible. It is fairly simple (during the first run, a setup assistant walks you through the setup process), yet it's customizable, and it has a guardian feature that lets parents limit what channels a child can use. It's also powerfully scriptable.

Version 5.3.3, available (and optimized for) Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later, makes the following improvements:

  • [Chg] OS X 10.5 contains a memory leak in two particular functions that Snak, and many other applications, use to clear the window background before drawing. This bug has been confirmad by Apple and a fix may be present in the upcoming 10.5.1. Snak no longer uses those functions to erase the background.
  • [Chg] AppleScript 2.0 in OS X 10.5 contains a bug in the handling of the unique ID parameter. Snak works around this issue.
  • [Chg] Messages typed into the inputfield while a DCC panel is active are now forwarded to the associated IRC connection.
  • [Fix] DCC resume of files over 2GB was not working.
  • [Fix] Incorrect filesize displayed in the information message when receiveing a file larger than 2GB.
  • [Fix] Highlight style in the tables, such as the command reference was incorrect.

User Reviews

"I've used "Ircle" and "Homer," and "Snak" seems much better to me. I've been using Kent Sorensen's "Snak" (Danish for Chat) version 4.5.2 for a little while now. "Snak" has a very easy interface. I like that everything is in the same window, but I've read where you can change this to your liking. It offers a lot of features that I haven't even used yet, and has some great documentation. "Snak" handles various IRC scripts (even from "Ircle"). I like using the PowerMac's built-in speech with it, but what I really like is that "Snak" is just a good, solid IRC client program that won't crash or freeze up like the other IRC clients. Give it a try."
—Rick Rudge

"Without a doubt, Snak should be added to your Essential list. It is by far the BEST IRC client for the Mac, in feature set, and well as ease of use. Nothing even comes close to providing as stable and reliable of an IRC experience as Snak does. It also has all the power tools you might need as an admin to manage your channels. I strongly feel that this program is not getting the recognition that it deserves. I have used Ircle, I have used Snak . . . after a while, you will be using Snak only as well. Give this program the credit it deserves!! It is the best Mac IRC client there is; actually [it's] one of the best IRC clients of ANY platform. (No, I don't work for the guy who makes Snak, this program is just that good!)"
—Jorge Salas

"Snak has emerged as the main competitor for Ircle. It is the only other full-featured, user-friendly IRC client for Mac OS. If you're not happy with Ircle, you must try out Snak. Although not as well established as Ircle, Snak has now been under very heavy development for many years, and has caught up to (and overtaken) Ircle in the feature race. Its interface is somewhat more streamlined, with more things contained in a single window per channel. It supports scripting using the classic ircII language as well as AppleScript such as for Ircle. There are many other smart features such as multiple servers per network so that if one server doesn't work, it automatically tries the next in a list. The help is excellent (both built in and separately in the user manual), which is more than you can say for Ircle."
—Joseph Lo, Ph.D., webmaster of

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Company Page Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Commercial; see text.

Current Version: 5.1.1 (November 3, 2009)

Glass Bead Software, LLC produces SnapTalk, a cross-platform (Windows & Mac) instant messaging system, which, like its SnapMail product, is a peer-to-peer system that doesn't require a server.

Pricing starts at $16/user for 1-9 users, and quantity pricing is available.

Version 5.1.1 adds/changes the following:

  • All-Problems with system resource use fixed
  • Mac-Failing to launch in some conditions under Leopard fixed

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:

Current Version: alpha (July 7, 2010)

Trillian is one of the most beloved multi-protocol instant messaging clients for Windows. Now, after many years of waiting, there is finally a version (albeit an alpha) for the Macintosh. Whether Trillian becomes a worthy competitor to Adium remains to be seen, but it's nice to have some competition.

Trillian for Mac alpha currently supports the following protocols:

  • AIM
  • Yahoo!
  • ICQ
  • Windows Live (MSN)
  • MySpaceIM
  • Google Talk
  • Jabber/XMPP
  • Facebook
  • Bonjour

However, in its alpha phase, it's still missing a few protocols and other features of its Windows sibling, including support for:

  • Twitter
  • Skype
  • IRC
  • POP3 Mail
  • IMAP Mail

Version alpha adds/changes the following:

  • We've continued to fix bugs and are introducing two new features: contact tooltips and an upgraded MSN engine supporting multiple points of presence.
  • The MSN updates mean you can now share your connection to MSN between your iPhone and your Mac when using Trillian.
  • The new tooltips will serve as the foundation for additional functionality moving forward, including mail and social integration.
  • We've also tidied up the contact list a bit more to improve the visibility of user avatars.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes License:

Current Version: 1.1a11 (August 10, 2009)

VChat is a CU-Seeme video conferencing client for use with Mac OS X. With VChat you can participate in group conferences by connecting to a CU-SeeMe reflector or you can also have one-on-one conferencing with another person.

Version 1.1a11 adds/changes the following:

  • Rewrite the packet and task schedulers.
  • Growl update.
  • libavcodec update. Now linked as a shared library.

User Reviews

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Company Page Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Commercial; See text.

Current Version: 2.0.8 (June 15, 2010)

Imagine a fusion of Skype (video conferencing and audio phone calls) and Adium (multi-protocol instant messaging), but add support for multi-protocol text messaging, social networking, file sharing and email, and you have VoxOx.

VoxOx is not a typical Mac OS X "Cocoa" or "Carbon" application, but rather it was written as a cross-platform application using the portable Qt/Mac framework, similar to Google Earth. That said, it functions quite well, and it's worth a download.

The software is now in a free beta cycle, but it is being developed by an corporate VoIP company (TelCentris), whose plan is to ultimately sell an expanded version of the product for professionals.

While VoxOx requires you to register with its service (which requires confirmation via an SMS messaging service), this only enables its advanced call routing and answering service functions. The other functions will still work with the software in unregistered form.

The latest version of 2.0.8 introduces the following new features:

  • Fix: crash on startup
  • Fix: Facebook IM issue where messages are returned to messaging window after an hour.
  • Fix: freeze after receiving new chat
  • update: VoxOx license agreement in installer

User Reviews

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Web Crossing

Company Page Home Page Release Notes License:
Commercial; see text.

Current Version: 5.0 (Updated regularly)

Web Crossing, Inc. produces Web Crossing, a high-end, high performance news/chat/discussion server system that runs on many platforms, including Mac OS and Mac OS X. Web Crossing may be extended via a host of plugins that provide a great variety of additional functionality, from blogs to wikis, and beyond. Features include:

  • Message boards
  • Chat & live events
  • Mailing lists
  • Polls
  • RSS Feeds
  • Blogs
  • Wiki
  • Calendars
  • Access controls (private areas)
  • Scripting
  • Notification of new content
  • Complete web service, FTP and email functionality
  • Localization
  • Scales to serve massive communities

Web Crossing also produces bundled solution suites (groups of plugins forming a complete, integrated package) that provide the Web Crossing product in special configurations for three select environments:

  • WebCrossing Core - WebCrossing Core includes fully-functional internet protocols: multi-domain web server, newsgroup server, email server, chat server, XML-RPC server, FTP server, and more. Use it out of the box, or use it to build your own web application.
  • WebCrossing Community - WebCrossing Community provides a preconfigured collection of the most popular online community tools including message boards and chat.
  • WebCrossing Neighbors - WebCrossing Neighbors extends WebCrossing Core to provide your organization, company, school, clients - any group of people with common interests - with your own private-branded social network that includes personal spaces.

Pricing depends upon the combination of users, page views, and features that you choose. See the official pricing page for more information.

User Reviews

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Company Page Screen Shots License:
Commercial; see site.

Current Version: 6.2

The widely-used, cross-platform WebEx service provides powerful on-demand web conferencing capabilities for a subscription fee. Of all of the "big-name" online web-based conferencing services, however, only WebEx provides smooth-running, native support for the Macintosh. The free WebEx Meeting Center software requires Mac OS 10.2.x or later and runs in Internet Explorer 5.2 or Safari 1.1 or later.

User Reviews

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X-Chat Aqua

Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Open source; $0

Current Version: 0.16.0 (October 28, 2006)

From the X-Chat Aqua home page: "X-Chat Aqua is a Mac OS X IRC client. If you are familiar with XChat for UNIX/GTK+/X Windows, then you will be at home with X-Chat Aqua. X-Chat Aqua uses the IRC engine from XChat and has been designed to look and feel like XChat." The author expects to add additional Mac-only features in the future.

Version 0.16.0 adds/changes the following:

  • Smarter algorithm for selecting a tab after closing the front tab.
  • Implemented /lastlog command (CL)
  • Universal binary
  • New server list
  • Pref for /part all channels on sleep
  • Prefs for keys that switch tabs
  • irc:// protocol support fixed
  • Auto away
  • mIRC color protocol bug
  • UTF8 tab completion fix
  • nick completion sort pref (A-Z, last spoke)
  • mIRC reverse color protocol fix

Note: As of March 22, 2008, the author is actively seeking Cocoa developers to take over this project.

User Reviews

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Home Page Release Notes Screen Shots License:
Shareware; $20

Current Version: 0.9.9 (July 24, 2006)

From the Xirc home page: "Xirc for Mac OS X is an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) application completely written in Cocoa / Objective C. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.2.8 and later. With Xirc you are able to talk with other people in the world, and exchange files with them. Xirc supports Audio Chat, DCC transfer, proxy connections (HTTP, v4, v4a, v5) and secure connections (SSL v2,v3). It is fully customizable and scriptable via AppleScript or using the powerful 'C-like' internal scripting language."

Version 0.9.9 adds/changes the following:

  • This release fixes a variety of bugs and adds some new features.
  • The application now is Universal Binary and works on PPC and Intel.
  • The Network core has been completely rewrote to support IPv6 via CFNetwork framework.
  • Added channel encryption to talk on crypted channel using the most used MIRCCryption algorithm and the AES 128/192/256 bits.
  • Updated the growl and perl plugin to works correctly respectively on Panther and Tiger. The growl plugin supports Growl 0.5 and later.
  • Improvements to the AppleScript scripting with many new functions added a various fixes (thanks to Niteshade).
  • The DCC core has also been completely rewrote and now is more robust and requires less CPU.
  • Added a new Xirc function ($result) to returns for example the result of an AppleScript script within a Xirc script.
  • Fixed some issues in the preference panes.
  • Finally, two Automator action have been added.

Xirc operates as a fully functional trial for 30 days.

User Reviews

"[0.9.9 (212)] Will there be any more development to Xirc? I like the features that are there, such as the active chat feed for the channels open, as well as the ability to colourize your type. The scripts could be easier to use. It would be nice if the buddy list would auto set alphabetically and that the active buddy identifier would show if a buddy is on in the rooms user list. Also I think that Colloquy's "get info" of users and the Channel op controls are just pick and click, making it straightforward to use. If Xirc and Colloquy were combined that would be a great app. As it stands, if the development is not going forward or at all, who am I paying 24 dollars to and why? Final opinion - Xirc is worth the time/the money, [but] what else do you get for it ?."
—Victor Bentley, 4/9/2007

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Yahoo! Messenger

Home Page

Current Version: 2.5.3 (September 17, 2003)

Yet another Instant Messaging program, Yahoo! Messenger is the Yahoo's equivalent to the AOL Instant Messenger product, above. In addition to allowing you to chat, it also provides a very basic portal to your My Yahoo! news, stocks, sports and weather information. Yahoo! Messenger requires OS 8.5 or later. Although it's not clear what has changed in version 2.5.3 (although Yahoo! recently modified their protocols, and this update purportedly addresses this), version 2.5 added/changed the following:

  • Super Webcam
  • New emoticons and emoticon selection menu
  • Updated look for message windows
  • Smoother (anti-aliased) text for OS X users
  • BUZZ!
  • Unicode support
  • "New Message" indicator in the OS X Dock
  • Custom message colors
  • Conferencing
  • Friends list group editing

User Reviews

"Has a promising outlook but not up to the Windows version. There is no Chat icon to access the Chat rooms and if that feature is built into the problem then you can't find it. [The] Mac version has a long way to go and must include access to the vast Yahoo Chat Room network to come up to the Windows version."
—Gary Kendrick

"Version 2.5.3 is awful. It's ugly, features like file transfer fail to work at all, if you're broadcasting your webcam and quit it crashes 99.9% of the time. It's slow, highly buggy. Just plain awful software with only one feature that will ever make anyone trouble themselves to use it - webcam support. On to version 3.0b1. A much nicer UI than 2.5.3 which is very welcome. Sadly it's EVEN slower, buggier and it freezes with the spinning beach ball of doom when someone tries to view your webcam. Thus the only redeeming feature of Yahoo Messenger doesn't work at all in the latest version. Why anyone would use Yahoo Messenger in favour of a solid, stable IM program like Adium or Fire is beyond me."
—Jamie Kahn Genet

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Download the Power Mac version for OS 8 & 9.
Download the Mac OS X (Carbon) version.

Version 3.0.1 Beta 7 Build 35554 (March 29, 2010; Cocoa / Universal) is the 14th release of the first major Yahoo! Messenger release for the Mac in since 2003. It's a complete rewrite that is a Universal Binary for PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 and later. New features in beta 7 include:

  • Includes a bug fix for display image issues, as well as a crash bug fix.

Previous changes in this beta series include:

  • Beta 6: This latest version includes a fix for a sign-in issue that some users have been experiencing. When we tested this latest version with some of those users, they found that it did correct their problem.
  • Beta 5: This latest version includes a couple of new features and many bug fixes to help enhance overall stability and performance. Other changes were made to ensure compatibility with Apple's latest version of OS X, Snow Leopard.
  • Beta 5: For the first time, Insider is now available in Yahoo! Messenger for Mac. The new version of Insider offers quick access to the latest news, including local news for U.S. locations. You can also check the weather, see what awaits you in your Yahoo! Mail inbox, or easily search the web, images or video.
  • Beta 5: This latest version also includes a "Report a Problem" feature to make it easier for Mac users to report technical issues they're experiencing. To access it, click on the Help menu and select "Report a Problem to Yahoo!".
  • Beta 5: From there you can select the feature area that relates to your issue (sign in, messaging, webcam etc.), and then describe the problem you're having. We really appreciate it when you submit your problems this way as the diagnostic information that's included helps us better troubleshoot the issue.
  • Beta 4: Over three dozen bug fixes addressing a variety of features including file transfer, display images, voice, chat rooms, stealth settings and webcam.
  • Beta 4: Added clearer messaging when receiving anonymous messages from your Pingbox.
  • Beta 4: Added a preference to separately enable/disable archiving for chat room conversations. Go to Preferences > Messaging and check the "Enable Yahoo! Chat Room Archiving" box.
  • Beta 4: When you report an IM as spam, it also adds the sender to your ignore list.
  • Beta 4: To cancel automatic sign in when you're launching Yahoo! Messenger for Mac, hold down the SHIFT key.
  • Beta 4: Various performance and memory bug fixes.
  • Beta 4: Added a new message style called "Kobi lite." To try it out, go to Preferences > Messaging, then change the Conversation style.
  • Beta 4: Fixes the issues with auto log-in and chat room crashes that were occurring for users who had upgraded to Mac OSX 10.5.7.
  • Beta 3: Voice calling - you can make free PC-to-PC calls or sign up for a Phone Out account to make calls from your Mac to regular or mobile phones worldwide for as low as 1¢ a minute.
  • Beta 3: Free voicemail and call forwarding - If you're away from your Mac or signed out of Yahoo! Messenger, friends can leave you a voicemail which is then delivered as an email attachment to an address of your choice.
  • Beta 3: If you want to make sure you don't miss any calls, use the call forwarding feature to immediately send incoming calls to any regular or mobile phone number. Note that you do need a Phone Out account to use call forwarding.
  • Beta 3: There is also a new Voice & Calls section in the preferences menu. From there you can set what email address should receive your voicemails, what number your calls should get forwarded to, and handy things like whether or not you want iTunes to pause when a call comes in.
  • Beta 2: Tabbed IM windows: When you have two or more conversations going on, they appear as separate tabs in a single window. Less clutter for your desktop! Plus, you can drag a tab out and make it into its own window (or drag it back in to consolidate). Tabbed conversations are a preference, so if you prefer having one window per IM conversation, you still can.
  • Beta 2: Chat rooms: Yup, the same Yahoo! chat rooms that Windows users have been using are now open to Mac users.
  • Beta 2: Message archiving: All of your IM and chat room conversations can now be archived on your computer.
  • Beta 2: Improved stability for webcam and file transfer: There were issues with these in the past version so the team did a lot of bug fixes and under-the-hood work to improve them.
  • Beta 2: More emoticons: We added in the additional emoticons that are in our other versions of Messenger, so Mac users now have them all.
  • Beta 1: New look and feel for OS X
  • Beta 1: New features including Avatars, sounds, and display images
  • Beta 1: Coming soon: IM with friends that use Windows Live (MSN) Messenger
  • Beta 1: Stealth settings
  • Beta 1: Conferencing
  • Beta 1: "New IM" indicator in the OS X dock
  • Beta 1: Organize your contact list into groups
  • Beta 1: Unicode support

See the blog for more information.

Yak Community Client

Home Page Screen Shots License:

Current Version: 1.1, Release 1014x (March 23, 2006)

Yak Community Client is a free product from yak communications inc. that enables you to participate in its many Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service offerings, including the yakForFree service. yakForFree allows you to make free voice and video calls to anyone else on the Internet who is also using yakForFree.

To make calls to regular phones, be they landline or cellular phones anywhere in the world, you would need to upgrade to one of yak's three subscription services: yakToAnyone, yakBasic, or yakUnlimited. You can upgrade via the yak Community website or by clicking the upgrade button on the yak Virtual VideoPhone.

  • yakToAnyone - a prepaid add-on feature allowing outbound calling to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Purchase $5.00 - $100.00 (in $5.00 increments) of prepaid outbound long distance minutes at $.02 per minute USA and Canada and at international rates.
  • yakBasic - a presubscribed service, offering 10-hours of USA and Canada outbound calling for $9.99usd/$12.99cad. You can use your yakForFree Virtual VideoPhone and/or add a yak Phone Adapter that will allow you to place outgoing calls from a standard telephone.
  • yakUnlimited - a presubscribed service, offering unlimited inbound and outbound USA and Canada calling for $19.99usd/$24.99cad. This unlimited product gives you a local North American phone number for incoming calls and numerous associated features (e.g. voice mail, unified messaging, caller ID, etc.). You can use your yakForFree Virtual VideoPhone and/or add a yak Phone Adapter that will allow you to place outgoing calls from a standard telephone.

yakForFree includes all of the features of standard telephones, including hold and conferencing.

User Reviews

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Also See . . .

Can't find what you're looking for? Try a search:

Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.

Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.

Also Consider . . .

These are applications that are newer and of potential interest, but which I haven't yet selected for permanent inclusion. Have a look, and let me know if you think they deserve to be part of the permanent collection!