We discussed this on IRC, and here's a mail to try to summarize the change in the default configuration of pidgin people might want. Please comment since I'm not a pidgin user, so I can't really know what's good or not.
+ always visible in the notification area + never open new windows unexpectedly + no sound by default + enable log (for im & chat?)
Are there some other changes we want?
Also, from a packaging point of view: looking at the code, it seems we can have initial values at /etc/purple/prefs.xml. This file will be read when the user has no preferences (so only the first time pidgin is run, I guess). That's not as powerful as gconf, but I don't think we want to patch pidgin to use gconf. So we'll ship such a file in pidgin-branding-openSUSE. But I guess this means we need an empty pidgin-branding-upstream?