hmm but i get the same kind of awful screeching sound when i use the linux version of AIM
Hehehe, I know what you mean, I got the same sound. I just disabled the sound on gaim altogether. Ummm..you might wanta try this AIM client. Someone mentioned it to me a long time ago, don't remember who. But yeah here it is:

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.