IceChat 9 was started in late 2008 , in order for IceChat to get a fresh new start.
Upto this point, all the full releases of IceChat have been closed source. There was an attempt with version 6, to start off fresh with writing IceChat with C# (using .net framework v1.1) The project got fairly far, but because of the lack of commitment from other developers helping with the project, and other project set backs, and also just the lack of a good framework to work with, the project eventually died and IceChat 7 started.
There was an attempt with IceChat 8 to start off fresh, but the ideas that came to me just were not on track, and the project lacked direction. It was more of a “let’s try this” type of project, and nothing really came from it.
IceChat 7 needed an update. Yes, IceChat 7 is a great client, and works for the most of us, but it is written in a programming language that is outdated. IceChat needed to be re-written with a modern programming language, that allows greater flexibility. C# was again the language of choice, because of its great cross-platform compatable Mono Framework equilivant. Using the .net framework v3.5 makes it fully compatable with the latest version of Mono. This would make IceChat a cross-platform friendly, which is what so many users have been asking for in the past.
This brings us to today. The project was originally called IceChat 2009, but because 2009 came and went, we now call it IceChat 9. IceChat 9 is now in the works, and has made great progress. It is also open source, meaning anyone can download the Source Code, and compile it on their own PC. We are hoping that because of this we can find some developers who are willing to help with the project. Currently we are keeping the source code on http://icechat.codeplex.com as it is an easy site to work with and update. The installer is also hosted here, as well as just a zipped up copy of the IceChat 9 application and its DLL's, for anyone who wishes to not use the installer.
IceChat 9 is currently in Release Candidate status, as of September 2013. There is speculation that RC8 will be the final Release Candidate, and will bring backed windowed mode. This will allow for tabs or windows. RC8 could also be released as IceChat 9.0, after many years sitting in beta status.
One of the main changes between IceChat 7 and 9, is lack of a script engine in IceChat 9. This is mainly because the Microsoft Control which allowed us to use the VB Scripting Engine in IceChat 7, is not 64bit compatable in development mode. So, IceChat 9 is now plugin driven. This allows the client to be more of a minimalist application, and allow for plugins to expand it. Here is a list of plugins you can download for IceChat 9. More will come in the future, and you may also request them in the forums or on the IceChat Facebook Fan Page.
Screenshot of Alpha 7 Build
If you wish to talk about the project, contribute to the project, feel free to signup in the IceChat Forums and discuss it, or visit us in the #icechat channel on irc.freenode.net.