September 12, 2003
Trillian Pro 2.0 is the commercial version of the popular instant messenger. Available to paid subscribers only, the new version isnt a radical departure from 1.0 on the surface. But under the hood there are significant changes.
First of all, Trillian Pro 2.0 no longer uses a license key to validate the software. Instead, it quietly "calls home" to verify that your account is valid. I had to scratch my head when I read about the subscription. It had been a long while since my original subscription was activated. Basically when you pay for Trillian youre actually purchasing a twelve month subscription that allows you to download and run any versions or upgrades released during your subscription period. After the subscription ends, you can still run any version that you had downloaded during your subscription, but you wont be able to access new releases or obtain member-only support.
Its pretty obvious that the "call home" subscription validation is Cerulean Studios attempt to thwart software piracy, but its not clear whether this will prevent you from sharing a license between family members, or installing on more than one computer.
From the perspective of a long-time Trillian fan, I think many of the new features are really more like refinements or even bug fixes. The Yahoo webcam feature finally works with Yahoo! Messenger 5.5. ICQ contact lists are finally stored and retrieved from the ICQ servers.
Contact lists are now unique per connection. Youve always been able to create multiple connections that let you login with more than one screen name (several AIM names, for example). The problem in the past was that your contact lists were automatically merged together. In my opinion, this was a bug, but in any case, its finally fixed.
Behind the scenes, theyve made it much more adaptable for future updates and enhancements. The new Jabber transport is an example of this, being implemented as a plug-in, rather than built-into the core Trillian code. Its quite possible that other transports (AIM, MSN, etc.) could be converted to plug-ins. In theory this could make Trillian more efficient by allowing you to load only those transports that you actually need.
Another non-obvious, but very important, enhancement is compatibility with the newer MSN protocol. Other interoperable instant messenger products are scrambling to respond to Microsofts statement that theyll be discontinuing the older protocols in mid-October. Trillian Pro is the first to provide compatibility. Bottom line: If youre using Trillian Pro 2.0, youll still be able to communicate with MSN Messenger accounts.
International users will appreciate 2.0s full unicode support. This gives Trillian a much broader audience, with language packs for Chinese and others that completely localize the menus and interface.
The interface itself hasnt changed radically. Probably the most significant is the optional tabbed container. Tabbed chat windows are important Many of the older skins will continue to work, though they might not support all the new features. The other nice addition youll notice are the "Super Tooltips" which appear when you hover hover your contact list. Depending on the network, you might see their buddy icon (AIM), display pic (MSN6) or last webcam image (Yahoo) in addition to the usual status and connect time info.
Trillian Pro 2.0 fixes many of the shortcomings of past versions, and greatly expands present and future IM compatibility. I expect that all current 1.0 users will be upgrading, and theyll probably attract a flock of new converts, too. Rock on, Cerulean Studios!
- BigBlueBall Trillian Center
- Share your comments in our Trillian Pro 2.0 discussion
- Official Trillian Pro 2.0 feature list
- Cerulean Studios, official Trillian web site
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