But Jabber _is_ a true step!
"I hope that this is a true step toward merging all instant messengers into one frontend or even merging them into one protocol. Unfortunately, this will not happen in the near future"...
You may not know this, but Jabber _is_ already a true step toward merging all instant messengers into one frontend, _and_ even one protocol.
A single Jabber client supports one protocol with various extensions, and the transports take care of the translation between the current legacy IM systems (only because those legacy IM systems didn't support Jabber. If they did, you would be able to talk to them directly, without the transport!)
Transports exist for ICQ, MSN, AIM, Yahoo!, and believe it or not, even IRC.
What the world needs, though, is for IRC servers to run a Jabber frontend so that Jabber users can connect directly to the network. That would be the ideal scenario, IMO. :-)
The addresses I'm sending from are @xaoza.net and @nuix.com.au, but the ISPs are optusnet.com.au and iprimus.com.au (the former being probably the biggest ISP in the country,) respectively.
BTW, sorry to clog up your FM comments, but since there's no other way to send messages... :-/