Kent Southerland announced Friday a new version of Chax -- version 3.0 -- that brings the iChat helper into Snow Leopard and away from iChat. The much anticipated release (among Chax fans) is an alpha release, and therefore intended for brave(er) souls, and it marks the entry of the software as a standalone application due to changes in the way Snow Leopard works with application helpers.
Chax has been iChat plugin that added tabbed chatting to the software years before Apple added it, and added additional controls, sophisticated logging tools (and a viewer), and much more to Apple's AIM client. As a standalone app, it will still offer Chax users the same look and feel they had when using iChat, and the developer said this was a necessary change for Snow Leopard.
"As many people have already found out," wrote on his blog, "Input Managers do not load into 64-bit applications. They still function in 32-bit mode, but forcing everyone into 32-bit is obviously a subpar solution. Instead of using a passive system such as Input Managers, I've switched to using an application loader. This change has its pros and cons, but I believe this is the best solution for now."
The new release includes Grow support, a unified contact list, the log viewer, dock notifications, warn-before-quit, camera snapshots, always on top, auto-removal of successful file transfers, contact list auto-resizing, and custom contact list fonts. Most of those features were present in previous versions of Chax-the-plugin.
Mr. Southerland named those features as the most important, and asked users to leave comments on his announcement for features they'd like to see added in future releases. The download is free -- and remember it's alpha software -- and Mr. Southerland offers Chax as donationware.