When comparing Pidgin vs IRSSI, the Slant community recommends IRSSI for most people. In the question“What are the best IRC clients for Linux?” IRSSI is ranked 4th while Pidgin is ranked 5th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Support for a wide range of additional chat services
Pidgin not only supports IRC, it also supports plenty of other services such as AIM, Google Talk, MSN, ICQ and plenty of others. This way, you can have all of your conversations in the same app and won't have to deal with multiple chat windows being open.
Pro Free and open source
Pidgin and its code is completely free and open source. Pidgin has no ads and no features behind a paywall.
Pro Cross platform
The Pidgin instant messaging client is cross platform, working on Linux, Windows and OSX.
Pro Convenient notification features
Like other quality IRC clients, Pidgin features notifications that the user can set in order to have a variety of things happen when the users is mentioned, such as an audio cue or changing the system tray icon.
Pro Highly customisable with plugins
Pidgin not only has a large plugin library built-in, but also an array of third party plugins for a variety of functions.
Pro Perl Scripting
Allows the user to create and use perl scripts to perform actions.
Pro Persistent Connection
Pro Command line outputs can be sent to a channel or message
/exec -o figlet "Slant.co"
Allows the modification of IRSSI's look and feel.
Pro Free and open-source
Pro Has a plugin for encrypted communications
Con No native VoIP support
While there are plugins there is no built in support for VoIP in Pidgin which is time consuming to implement instead of being baked in from the jump.
Con Gives little direction upfront
Actually, Irssi.org has it's own GREAT documentation.
Con Cryptic configuration files
Con Can't do vertical splits
Untrue, there are perl scripts available to do split screens with
Con No GUI
Actually a plus, lower memory overhead