The reason that it has been so long since a stable Gaim release is that AOL was complaining about the name. Gaim was originally called GTK+ AOL Instant Messenger, and AOL of course was not happy. So it was changed to Gaim.
A few years later AOL started calling their messenger AIM, and they trademarked it. Then they went after the Gaim developers again. So now Gaim’s new name is Pidgin. According to Wikipedia,
A pidgin, or contact language, is the name given to any language created, usually spontaneously, out of two or more languages as a means of communication between speakers of different tongues, and usually a simplified form of one of the languages.
Really, Gaim should not have had to change their name because they were using it before AOL was using AIM! But I guess it is not worth it to argue with a big company like AOL.
I wonder if the name change will make it into Ubuntu 7.04? (Only 10 more days!)