I don't use IM often, mostly to see if my kids are on line and chat with them (they still live at home). So maybe once a week or so.
I've tried two applications both during the trial periods, neither worked as well as I expected. I loaded Google Talk, then installed the msn transport and it works as well as the demos I've tried. It isn't by any means perfect especially for buddy lists but it does the job for my limited uses. Google "jabber msn transport", or search at www.bigblueball.com
for instructions. Yes, there are other transports available.