Instantbird 1.0 release, 3 days later

Servers load

Instantbird 1.0 has been very quickly downloaded over ten thousand of times. In fact, it happened so fast (especially immediately after we have been featured on lifehacker) that our server couldn’t handle the load.

We have very quickly been able to mirror our main website on another server, which allowed people to keep discovering and downloading Instantbird 1.0, but we had to close the add-ons website for a while as the load it couldn’t handle was also putting down other services that we really needed to keep online, especially our bug database.

We have tried to re-open the add-ons website at a quieter time, but the server was unresponsive again within half an hour. This morning we tried to improve the website’s performance by adding some caching mechanism and reopened again (at a time when most Americans are asleep) for a try. Again it fall down.

Some people very kindly offered help and proposed to host the website on their server, but it’s difficult to trust someone we barely know to host a website that requires our SSL certificate.

As the add-ons website had been closed for almost 2 days already (sorry for the inconvenience!) and extensibility is a key differentiator of Instantbird compared to other similar IM clients, we decided that this situation couldn’t last any longer and we solved the problem by throwing money at it: we ordered a beefier server (Quad Core CPU, 16GB of RAM) and migrated the add-ons website to it as quickly as we could. The website reopened this afternoon, and our testing confirmed that the new server can easily handle the load, even with more visitors than we had when the previous server stopped responding. It’s ready for a lot more people coming! Don’t hesitate to tell your friends to try Instantbird :).


We have received a massive amount of feedback since the release. Most was positive or extremely positive. We received lots of encouragements. We even received some love letters!

Some of the feedback showed there was some confusion, for example about how we are different from Pidgin (which we will be the subject of another post to clarify things). We also received constructive criticism, good bug reports. The most common request is an easy way to retweet or to reply to a tweet. We will work on that soon :). Tab completion of nick names is also commonly requested, but even though it’s clear we need to have this by default in the future, we can usually satisfy the reporter by pointing to the great (restartless!) Tab Complete add-on.


As no alarming issue has been reported in Instantbird 1.0 which is already widely used, we have decided to turn on major updates from Instantbird 0.2 to Instantbird 1.0.

Users of Instantbird 0.2 will be offered an update shortly with an update prompt looking like this:

Dialog offering a major update to Instantbird 1.0

Users of our 0.3pre nightly builds will be offered an update to a nightly build numbered 1.1a1pre in the next few days.


All in all, it’s been a great release and the last few days have been exciting (even though they were also exhausting). We look forward to continue hearing your feedback (and to actually act upon it!). Don’t hesitate to share Instantbird with your friends. Our servers are ready!

Instantbird 1.0 released in 11 locales!

The Instantbird team is pleased to announce a polished Instantbird 1.0, released today in 11 locales.

Instantbird logo

Instantbird is an extremely easy to use and highly extensible instant messaging client that aims to respect its users!

Building on the experience available via open-source software, Instantbird is able to harness the power of Pidgin (via its libpurple protocol library) and of Mozilla’s Firefox technology, to provide access to a wide variety of instant messaging networks, while providing an easy (and well known) extension platform. Although Instantbird is fully cross-platform (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux), we strive to present a native look-and-feel to the user interface.

Get Instantbird 1.0 now!

Instantbird 1.0 screenshot on Windows 7

Supported networks

First and foremost, Instantbird is an instant messaging client with a wide variety of supported networks, including:

  • AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)
  • Facebook Chat
  • Google Talk
  • Twitter
  • Windows Live Messenger (MSN Messenger)
  • XMPP (Jabber)
  • Yahoo! Messenger

But also many others like: Gadu-Gadu, Novell Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MySpaceIM, Netsoul, QQ, SIMPLE, Yahoo! JAPAN, and even more optionally available on the Instantbird Add-Ons website, such as Omegle and LJ Talk (LiveJournal).


We feel that a user should be able to make their instant messaging client their own: we feel Instantbird can be customized best by giving the user a simple and efficient user interface, and not attempting to include hundreds of bundled options, but allowing the user to customize via the powerful extensibility included in the Mozilla platform. All elements of Instantbird are customizable, from the message theme itself (we’ve built on the great message style format used in Adium) to the Instantbird theme, user interface and protocols. There are already over 250 add-ons available, here are some of our favorites:

  • Colorize — change a buddy’s color in a private conversation based on their name
  • Highlight — be notified of certain words in a chat as if they were your nickname
  • Tab Complete — tab completion of nicknames and commands
  • Reply to Nick — allows easy replying: double clicking a message in the chat inserts the sender’s name in the message input box
  • Show Nick — colors the nicknames in messages in multi-user chats
  • Vertical Tabs — too many conversations open? Move the tabs from horizontal to vertical!

Respecting users

As part of our belief in respecting our users, we give them an ad-free experience and respect their privacy by not collecting any information about them (Instantbird contacts our servers only when checking for updates, or in the unfortunate and uncommon event of a crash).

About us

The Instantbird team is a group of volunteers who are passionate about empowering instant messaging users by providing a stable, fun instant messenger. Read more about who we are and our core beliefs and values.

While Instantbird has received invaluable support from the Mozilla community at large, it hasn’t been funded in any way by the Mozilla Foundation. The company-quality infrastructure deployed to build and support Instantbird has been funded by the initial creators who strongly believe in the importance of this project. The increasingly fast growth of Instantbird’s user base leads us to believe the project could find some user-respecting revenue streams from which the project could become economically sustainable and empower the non-profit created for it to start hiring key contributors, following a model similar to what Mozilla has been doing with Firefox.

We’d like to thank all of our contributors and translators who have helped build Instantbird. In addition, we’d also like to thank our invaluable beta and nightly testers who provide timely bug reports and help track down regressions!

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for taking the time to check out Instantbird, if you like it please share it with your friends; if you’re sharing it with your non-English-speaking friends, the website is now localized too! :) If you have questions feel free to contact us.

If you are writing about Instantbird and need a logo or are out of time to produce screenshots, we have image resources for you. If this is more convenient to you, this announcement is also available in a press release format.

Share Instantbird with your friends on twitter or Facebook!