Just a heads up, the latest update to pidgin (I just updated my system today, 6/27, and pidgin and libpurple were among the packages that were updated) seems to have borked pidgin a little - at least my pidgin which needs to connect through a proxy. Setting the proxy through the HTTP option in pidgin itself (which is what I've been using since I started with Gaim) doesn't work anymore (results in connection error 503), and the same thing happens even if you set pidgin to use GNOME proxy settings and set the proxy settings on Preferences->Network Proxy.
I am sure the next update (very soon) will fix this. Just a heads up in case someone gets frustrated as to why pidgin doesn't want to work with their proxy. Pidgin works with proxies, has been working ever since, it's just that the latest update must have borked something.
When I get home, I will see if Pidgin works using a direct connection to the internet (no proxy) and update this thread.