Although it is old news to those that follow these things closely, Pidgin has retained its position as the default IM client for Intrepid. Even though people have been praising Empathy, the Desktop Team has decided to delay the switch until the next cycle.
For those that are interested in understanding such things, the Desktop team doesn’t just flip a coin on these issues. In this case, the decision was made after a usability study was completed by Matthew Paul Thomas, aka MPT. Reading over the study, I can say that even though I am no fan of Pidgin I support the decision and hope that Empathy will be ready for prime time by 9.04 or 9.10.
Having a good unified IM client that actually works as advertised and can do everything the Windows IM clients can do will go a long way toward winning the hearts and minds of new users coming from Windows. Pidgin doesn’t quite qualify but for now its the best we have. So the decision to look into Empathy was a good call. Maybe it will push the Pigin team to polish and improve their product. There is nothing like a little competition to keep people on their toes.