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Webware 100 winner: Pidgin
Pidgin is a free, open source IM client.
The "Gutsy Gibbon" version of Linux, a.k.a. 7.10, has all the applications most Windows users will need, but its spotty support for wireless adapters limits your networking options.
A few links from CNET Live Ep. 3
Future of IM: interoperability or actual openness?
Only a few years ago, Internet companies were lining up to join forces against the Redmond empire. Is it possible that Microsoft is now employing the same tactic against Google?
Google IM working right now
Google Talk do's and don'ts