Although the official ICQ client is a clunky piece of bloatware with some reported problems with system stability, there are alternative programs which use the ICQ protocol, of which the following is a non-exhaustive selection, available from an internet near you:

  • A stripped-down interface (currently only using Mirabilis's server) is available on Windows versions of the Opera browser, from version 5 onwards. The whole browser package is smaller than the official ICQ client. I have found this to be quite adequate for limited use, but I use Opera anyway.
  • Miranda is an open source stripped-down Windows and AlphaNT client designed for mouseless operation.
  • mICQ is a command-line console interface vaguely modelled on mIRC for Linux, BSD, Amiga, Win32, BeOS and "some other *ixes".
  • Trillian is a skinnable freeware Windows client that also covers several other messaging protocols (AIM, IRC, etc.)
  • Linux (X) users can use licq or gicq.
  • It is left as an exercise for the reader to work out what OS AtarICQ runs under.
  • A web-based Java client can be reached at - predictably, it is only really happy running on the Microsoft Java VM but OK at a pinch otherwise; handy if you only have access to port 80 or are on a machine where you don't want to or can't install anything.

/msg me with additions, recommendations, comments whydoncha?