How many services and clients are we expected to deal with every day ?
How long is it reasonable to hang onto using a piece of software for that 1 contact or network you connected with 10 years ago ?
First we will start with the obvious.
First the easiest to use but with the least amount of networks, but the most amount of OS support.
Astra, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Jabber/XMPP, Olark, IRC, IMAP/POP email.
Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Web.
Times have changed and Trillian is now HIPPA compliant, aimed at business and can be self-hosted for more privacy and control.
Still available for general use as a free version
Next easiest to use is @Leo’s old love Pidgin, which did not abandon him. Leo has wandered off and forgotten what he came in for.
I am not going to list the plugins and network support as it is long, but if it does not support it you probably don’t need it (yes it supports skype)
Free, Open Source and available for Windows and Linux
Miranda-NG is a powerful contender to the throne, again free and open source but only for Windows.
More networks and plugins than you can shake a stick at, but can be an overload of nerdyness to configure.
Franz is the newbie on the block I have never tried.
Commercial but with a very limited free option with adverts, no spellchecker, and you pick 3 networks from over 70 (what a bunch of tight-wads).
If you are suckered into the monthly subscriptions you may have a very useful client, but in my opinion they should offer one-off lifetime pricing like Trillian does.
Within a year you’ll pay more than you would to “own” Trillian forever.
If you are paying a subscription for a service, being asked to pay for another subscription to access your first subscription is a muggs game for people with more money than sense.
Ripcord is a worthy entry due to some extra features.
Combined Slack and Discord client, but still Alpha and not feature complete but has features the real clients also lack, such as music quality stereo audio, and VU meters
Currently free but the Slack side of the equation is going to be commercial. Discord access will stay free.
Built with Qt5 and branches for Windows, Mac and Linux. this client will save you a huge amount of RAM compared to the original, and as a bonus for Linux users will actually stay running instead of keep crashing.