Adium is a "Unique, third party AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) Client" written by Adam Iser, using Cocoa, for Mac OS X. It supports all the goodness (anti-aliased text, a Dock menu, lickable interface) you'd expect from a well-written Cocoa app, and plenty more. Here's why it's my current AIM client of choice:

  • It's customizable. Hoo boy, is it customizable. There are a grand total of 25 preference panes spanning everything from fonts and colors to icon bouncing to chat logging to message format. If you're willing to get your hands a little dirty you can add more Dock icons, sounds and emoticons such as those at And perhaps most importantly, if you like eye candy like bouncing Dock icons, you can have it, but if you have a fairly slow processor or are trying to do many things at once, it can also be reduced to a minimum.
  • It's efficient. When I run top on my 400MHz iMac, it shows Adium's CPU usage to be next to nothing when I'm not actively using it, and under 20% for a conversation with a single person.
  • It's got a great interface. The window mode I use is as follows: one window for the buddy list, one window with tabs for each ongoing conversation. This is a great alternative to the potentially cluttered one-window-per-conversation interface used by other clients like iChat. As with most other things, in Adium you have your choice between the two. Besides this, Adium's interface is just very clean and well-done: attractive yet simple and functional, in my opinion the epitome of what an Aqua app should look like.
  • It's free. At this point it kind of has to be in order to compete with the scads of other free AIM clients, but nevertheless for a college student like me any free software of this quality is very much appreciated. Adium is also open source, and is distributed under the GPL. There is an alternate version, with several features added by people in the Adium community, available on VersionTracker.
  • It's got good support. There is a forum at, frequented by the developer himself, where Adium users can ask questions and suggest features.

There are some features missing from Adium, though. It uses the OSCAR protocol, so you can't transfer files with it. Blame AOL for that one. Also, it doesn't have the tight integration that iChat does with other Apple-made "digital hub" apps like Address Book and Mail. In my opinion, these are small prices to pay; I used iChat for awhile shortly after Jaguar was released but came back to Adium when I grew tired of the iCandy that iChat has in place of true customizability.

Adium's current version number is 1.6.2c. It can be found at All development efforts seem at this point to be focused on version 2.0, which is expected to enable file transfer and to support plugins. Version 2.0 is still alpha; you can obtain the source code via CVS (you'll have to build it yourself) from the Adium project on SourceForge at Finally, the community-developed "alternate version" of Adium (version, sheesh) is available on VersionTracker at