Dirk Dot Net

Creator of useful things. Based in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.

MSN Messenger Alternative to Beat the Windows Lock-In

Starting MSN Messenger (7.0) today the following came up:
A newer version is available. You must install the newer version in order to continue.

Clicking the What's New... button brings up the following page in Firefox:

image
Yep, there is exactly nothing on this page except for some eyecandy (No content was disallowed or blocked on my side).
So not only is Microsoft blackmailing users as part of their Windows lock-in strategy, they also fail at creating a simple working web page to inform me why I should fall for that lock-in. And since I had tried that atrociously slow bloatware Live Messenger once before, I certainly needed some more convincing.

So I went to scavenge the web for MSN Messenger alternatives. The service itself is indispensable in Thailand as most users don't bother to install any other IM client except maybe for Yahoo which is known to be very spam-infested here. I know about Gaim for Linux but there are other cross-platform clients. I came across aMSN repeatedly so I installed it. It's Tk based so quite a bit slower than MSN Messenger and not quite as slick-looking but after using it for a couple of hours I can say that it works fine. Anyway, I'm not a fool for eye candy so I would say aMSN is a viable alternative, especially if you're planning to move away from Windows in the future and want to get used to another client.

And then another thing happened:

After logging out of my aMSN connection I could now connect with my MSN Messenger 7.0 just like before. So much for "You must...". As for Windows Live, kudos to MS for the Live Writer but I keep my hands off all the rest.

Update: Above "workaround" stopped working the next day and the annoying message reappeared. So I had to get rid of MSN Messenger for good.