AIM 6 Beta Out

New AIM Beta (AIM 6.0) Out

AIM’s Triton Beta is out. Took it for a spin today. Some observations:

  • Much slower. Using AOL’s silly network utilities apparently. Totally unnecessary. Skype works behind any firewall I’ve ever seen with no problems, and uses much less CPU/RAM to connect. I don’t know how AOL’s going to validate all that bloat.
  • UI is rather sluggish. And I’m on a 1.8 GHz Pentium IV Mobile with 1 GB RAM and an ATI Radion 7200 Graphics card. Skype is faster.
  • It’s bloated. The whole point of a plugin architecture is to be thin and let users customize. A whole bunch of things in 5.x aren’t even implemented in the new version yet, and it’s bloated. I can’t imagine how bloated it will be when done.
  • No Mac or Linux build. Guess that means they are still considered 2nd class. Edit: A good source says this doesn’t indicate Mac or Linux builds aren’t in the works.
  • Can we say silly UI design? Tabs are awkward, lots of UI candy which does nothing but waste CPU, rather large thanks to the graphics. Takes up to much screen space.
  • Built on IE. There’s a great idea. Take a product riddled with security wholes, and build a product on it. Now whenever IE has a vulnerability, you can assume AIM is just as vulnerable. That’s wonderful. Edit: A good source says it’s not to integrated into IE is replaceable. Also has strict sanitation, so security flaws should not get through, and in theory sanitation could be adjusted to compensate.

When will AOL listen to the customers. Here’s what I should be saying (but I’m not):

  • Thin easy to extend client. Uses minimal ram, and is extremely fast, even on my slow system.
  • Mac and Linux builds available and of similar quality. AIM is finally becoming an adequate cross platform messaging system.
  • UI is minimal, fast and doesn’t invade the users system. It’s functional and easy to navigate and work. There’s not one thing on the screen that isn’t useful.

See the difference?

I wish someone would actually look at AIM’s shortcomings and address them. That’s beside the whole not working with other IM platforms issue.

For now it’s even uninstalled. Has no place on my HD. Sorry AOL, back to the drawing board. If that’s the future of AIM, I’m looking at GAIM and Skype or even Yahoo. MSN is all around weak, but at least it’s somewhat lean and fast. AIM 6 is a backwards step. Sorry.

It’s new UI is based in part on Mozilla’s legacy thanks to Boxely. Though it appears AOL abused the functionality by putting way to much eye candy in there. And that’s a big mistake. Functionality is key in an application. Not showing off your photoshop skills.

Edit: 4/29/05 added more info from a good source.