Linux NetMag #2
Titel: ICQ-Clients for Linux

ICQ Do you want to get a note when your friends are online to challenge them to a duel, change files or chat with them?
Then you should get an ICQ account.
Although Linux is not officially supported you find enough free clients!

[ ICQJava | gnomeicu | LICQ | kicq | Micq | GTK-ICQ & gicq | | -- links --]

Join the collective
With ICQ you are able to create a list of people with ICQ-accounts and then get informed if one of them is online. Probably most PC-owners already known ICQ but that it is usable with Linux is not so well known. A big collection of ICQ clients exists for Linux, all of them having their strength and weakness. A huge list is available at . Although Mirabilis promised a Linux version it seems that they loose this race to Linux. The GPL versions are quite good and saved Mirabilis some work. If you still believe in an official Mirabilis Linux version you can sign up at their  homepage to get informed at once they release it.
If you do not want to wait that long you should have a closer look at the following clients.
If you want to be sure that your ICQ version supports all (or at least most) of the ICQ standards you should use the Java version coming directly from Mirabilis. This program functions with all the latest versions of the Java Development Kit (JDK 1.1.3-2.1 or higher), even with  Linux (Screenshot). A Java version has many advantages but it also has some disadvantages. The program needs a lot of resources which is not wanted as a small client. It takes a long time to start and reacts slowly to user input if you do not have enough memory. The program often crashes if you try to chat but this may depend on the JDK-version. Additional Java does not support the multi-user function. The configuration files are saved in a subdirectory of the program and every user has to copy the whole program into his/her home directory. It is possible to link other directories but at least the conf directory has to be placed in the home directory. A "."-configuration file in the home directory is not supported.
Mirabilis seems to be satisfied with this Java version although calling it a beta and it has not been improved for a long time.
A special version for GNOME users is gnomeicu. This ICQ-version is able to place itself as an applet in the GNOME panel and then shows the current status. It displays when you are online or when you get news (Screenshot). Of course the version is programmed (like "all" GNOME program ) in GTK+, runs fast and stable but should only be used if you use the GNOME panel.
With gnomeicu it is also possible to sign up at Mirabilis and you do not have to choose ICQJava for this.
One of the best developed ICQ-versions is LICQ (Screenshot). This program has been programmed with QT-libraries but is not a KDE-version.
For a short time  LICQ supported skins and you were able to change the appearance after your liking. For some older versions of  LICQ  you can get a WindowMaker-patch. This patch (also useable if you use another window manager) changes the icons of the program to notify you that you have mail or when you are online. The patch versions are always a little lower than the latest LICQ version.
kicq-now! Button
Kicq  is an ICQ clone for KDE users and looks similar to the Java version (Screenshot). The program is still in a beta state and does not offer all the functions ICQJava does. A graphical user interface for configuring Kicq has already been implemented . It requires the library icqlib
Thanks to the author Matthew Smith there exists a clone with the name Micq. This program is text based and does not have a GUI (Screeshot). For this reason Micq is a good choice when ever no x-server is available and you have to work with an ANSI terminal. Micq does not support chat but you can request at ICQ with this tool. The password does not need to be saved in a file, Micq  will ask for it at every login. This tool is small, fast and stable but you will miss a fronted if you are used to work with X. 
gicq & GTK-ICQ
These two clones use the GTK libraries. GTK-ICQ  is further develop than gicq and offers support for GNOME, chat and a search for other ICQ-users. Because GTK+ (version 1.1.12 or higher) supports skins GTK-ICQ supports it, too.
gicq (Screenshot)  bases on micq and also needs the library offered by micq. Requesting at ICQ is not supported and just a few functions exist like adding people to the contact list, sending and receiving mails. 
GnuStep-Logo is not so well known and stays in a deep state of development. The frontend has already been completed but the biggest part of the network code is still missing. The name tells us the motivation for this product: The frontend has to fit to a NextStep surrounding and therefore it fits perfectly to window managers like WindowMaker or AfterStep. But it seems that we have to wait a little bit longer before this clone will be useable.
ICQ for Linux
ICQ / Mirabilis