GAIM has been a linux (and later also on other platforms such as Windows) IM client for many years now. Started as a client for AIM and later evolved into a multi-protocol client. It has always been open-source, they never made a penny on it and was mostly driven by students using Linux. GAIM is probably the most successful open-source IM client. I am one of the many users that like the idea of a single client to connect to many networks.
It turns out that AOL has been threatening the GAIM developers for years because they did not like the idea that GAIM sounded so similar to AIM.
I don’t think that GAIM has ever been a threat for AOL and this is fight certainly goes does to simply brand protection and lawyers willing to do something to justify their work (and expenses). So now GAIM is not GAIM anymore and it’s pidgin and you know what? It does EXACTLY the same things it used to do when named GAIM. So why bother suing 3-4 students to get their tiny app name changed?
So welcome pidgin.