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Communications America Online

AOL Adopting Jabber (XMPP) 171

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the sharing-your-toys dept.
sander writes to tell us that AOL seems to have decided to make their AIM and ICQ services compatible with XMPP. A test server is up at xmpp.oscar.aol.com, and while it's still buggy most major Jabber clients seem to work.
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AOL Adopting Jabber (XMPP)

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  • Does anyone know what address you would use to chat to a friend who has an ICQ or AIM account? 798221@icq.com and bob@aol.com sound reasonable, but anything a bit more concrete would be good.
  • makes sense to me (Score:3, Interesting)

    by orclevegam (940336) on Friday January 18, 2008 @03:39PM (#22098704) Journal
    This seems like a reasonable move. It's not like sticking with their old protocol got them anything. They get more kudos and better interoperability with other networks by switching to a open protocol.
    • by radimvice (762083)

      It's not like sticking with their old protocol got them anything.

      You're joking, right? AIM coasted along with a bloated, ad-ridden client (that refused to support basic message logging) for years in spite of much better-developed, more feature-rich software popping up regularly. They were able to hang onto a majority of the instant messaging user base for so long thanks to a combination of their existing majority AOL user base and their (initially closed to competitors) proprietary network protocol. I'd

  • Now can I have my 6 digit UIN back, after you lost my damn account?
  • Very Newsworthy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stubtify (610318) on Friday January 18, 2008 @03:42PM (#22098762)
    Well at least for those of us who've been around long enough to remember how badly AOL fought against opening up their services. The cat and mouse games of the early 2000s with a workaround being discovered and AOL closing it are long gone at this point. It is also interesting because the internet is now starting to move into an open direction. I can remember when AOL users and AIM users could not see each other. This was done to entice people to pay for AOL service. Slowly this eroded, and AIM was able to access AOL screennames. AOL always saw its chat base as it's main way to rake people into its service. With the actual AOL business model of old all but effectively dead (I say that, but I know there are millions who still cough up for a service that is free) they had no incentive to keep things closed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by samkass (174571)
      Wasn't AOL/AIM also listed as one of the backers of the OpenID standard as well? So you can log into AIM using an open standard, then converse using an open standard. They now seem to be at least as open as Google about it all.

      Yes, the AIM of old was very proprietary, but it seems to be "getting it" these days.
      • They now seem to be at least as open as Google about it all.
        IIRC they still don't participate in the gloabl jabber network like google do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by risk one (1013529)
      Maybe they should start distributing a rebranded version of Pidgin as their client. Sort of complete the circle.
  • I was trying to get this to work with Pidgin and my AIM account earlier today but never managed to. Has anyone made it work, or would you list the settings for it?

    Thanks
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RedHat Rocky (94208)
      I got it working in pidgin, just the usual values you would expect.

      It did take a while (minutes) to connect and prompt for password though, I suspect it's being hit pretty hard.
      • Heh. As an update:

        I know it worked at first, as it pulled in my "buddy" list. Unfortunately, since I haven't used ICQ for a while, I had no online contacts to test actual messaging.

        After about an hour, the account failed and stayed that way. I expect there is a melted server somewhere....:)
        • by Aladrin (926209)
          It's never managed to connect for me and usually comes back as a read failure right away, so I figured it must be me. (Despite my private domain Google Talk accounts and all.)

          I'll just let this go for now and maybe they'll realize people are interested and get serious about this.

          Thanks.
  • by PineHall (206441) on Friday January 18, 2008 @03:43PM (#22098792)
    This is big and is part of a trend. Open standards are replacing proprietary protocols. Companies are starting to see the advantage of being open and not closed. I am happy to see this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sancho (17056)
      There are usually some pretty good advantages to using open standard when creating your product--aside from interoperability (which lots of people think is overrated), you also get to avoid re-inventing the wheel.

      Since AOL came up with their instant messaging protocol long before Jabber, it seems like the advantages are much fewer for AOL. In fact, justifying such a move to the board or to the shareholders would probably be more difficult than if they had been able to use open protocols in the first place.
    • by nurb432 (527695)
      Only in some cases. Not everything will get opened. As long as there is still cash in keeping it closed, expect it to remain that way.

      Apparently there isnt enough to be made in the IM arena. the scary part is if they decide to start dropping the services, putting more pressure on the free services and causing them to collpase.
    • by KanSer (558891)
      Yeah, too bad network operators are going shaped and closed!

      People laugh, but we really need to consider protecting the right to an open network constitutionally. It should be a human right, it has ramifications to all aspects of your survival.
  • by ihatethetv (935399) on Friday January 18, 2008 @03:49PM (#22098880) Homepage
    I was introduced to IM through ICQ back before AIM existed. I remember Aim being ok, but ICQ was much better...well naturally AOL bought mirabilis for 300M-odd dollars way back when and then did the "standard operating procedure" (see the story of Netscape, Nullsoft, et al) of just letting it fester without updates while they pushed their product.

    AIM was pretty much the only game in town after that for me...I had my people on AIM, and didn't see any reason to move to yahoo, let alone Msn.

    Then everything seemed to stay the same for liek 5 years. The only thing AOL really seemed to be working on was adding loud video ads and fighting against the people who tried to make their crap usable -- like deadaim and it's ilk, gaim, etc.

    Over the past seemingly decade, there was talk of cross-network integration...a la msn meets aim, etc. As far as I got was logging into multiple networks in gaim--which is NOT what I was hoping for.

    Then google finally put out google talk, a great implementation. Easy enough for my parents to use, no ads....less spyware concern because google doesn't have an evil time warner overlord. And there's a web version of gtalk which beats the PANTs off of the aol crapfest they've called aim express. That's good for those who run different OSes or who don't want to be committed to installing software locally. To their credit aol did put out some token linux release, which i appreciated.

    Call me old school but I like the TSR windows client. I don't want my IMs getting lost in browser tabs...I wish they'd port it to linux.

    Anyway I read todays news as AOL is losing customers, so they're finally getting their protocol straight and using a standard.

    Anyway, Google. PLEASE, please please grab AOl off of time warner...they've been dying to get rid of it, although they're too proud to admit it. Take their user base and merge it with yours. Get rid of their crap....get the media company bias out of their products...I'll take google's signature embedded ads over just about anything that's ever come out of AOL

    While you're at it, take nullsoft too...and release all the source code....it might be best to release the code from before the AOL merger, btw.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      I had ICQ but I never really got into the IM thing. I used and still do use IRC. Now I do use Gtalk but I just wish they had a version for my cell phone :)
      • by Sancho (17056)
        Since Gtalk uses Jabber, any Jabber client ought to be able to connect to it. Have you searched for Jabber clients for your phone?

        Anyway, I'm in the same boat as you, largely. I use IRC because it's simple, and because I can easily run it anywhere that I like. Typically, I run it in a screen on my colo. I've never found a satisfactory IM client that runs in a console, so I've never much been a fan of them.

        Jabber, though, looks pretty neat, and since there are plugins for text-mode IRC clients (irssi, sp
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          I have and no joy yet.
          I really want it so I can message my wife when she is in the computer room at home with out firing up the notebook. It would be a replacement for an intercom.
          • by Sancho (17056)
            Depending upon what sort of connectivity you have (and whether or not you can program), it may be possible to code up a gateway. Perl's Net-XMPP2 is really quite spiffy, and writing a bot to relay messages shouldn't be too hard. The key will be in integrating into it whatever connectivity you have with your phone.

            Now a full gateway so that you could talk to multiple users and receive messages back might be quite a bit harder, but if it's really just for this one purpose, it shouldn't be.
        • by lintux (125434)
          I use IRC because it's simple, and because I can easily run it anywhere that I like. Typically, I run it in a screen on my colo. I've never found a satisfactory IM client that runs in a console, so I've never much been a fan of them.

          I don't usually plug my own product, but maybe BitlBee is what you're looking for. At least it has exactly the UI you need. :-) [bitlbee.org]
      • by BitZtream (692029)
        the google web client works on my iPhone ;)
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      As far as I got was logging into multiple networks in gaim--which is NOT what I was hoping for.

      Why? I mean ... isn't that all you need? Or do people do things with IM that I don't do?

      • by Sancho (17056)
        Well, logging into multiple networks means that you have to keep track of multiple usernames and passwords. You have to remember which network each person is on. Almost everyone has this problem, and it's just a little bit silly for everyone to be using a multi-network chat protocol to talk to everyone else.

        AOL probably sees the writing on the wall, and realizes that if they want to keep people using their client (which is, after all, the only way they make money maintaining AIM, anyway) then they need in
      • Why? I mean ... isn't that all you need? Or do people do things with IM that I don't do?

        I'm not really into IM, but I imagine he's looking for the ability to have one address that anyone can IM him at, instead of needing an AIM address, an MSN address, a GTalk address, an ICQ address, and so on. That way anyone, on any IM network, can reach any other person. By using one protocol, XMPP in this case, all of the networks can be merged into one.

      • It's possible to pull people into a chatroom. On MSN, this is spontaneous and invite-only. On Yahoo, for awhile, there were IRC-like rooms -- they probably still exist, but Yahoo doesn't talk about them anymore. I'm fairly sure Jabber supports this functionality, too.

        The trouble is, you can't have anything like a "room" which includes people from different networks. I believe this means that GTalk people will be able to join AOL chatrooms and vice versa.
      • Why? I mean ... isn't that all you need? Or do people do things with IM that I don't do?
        It works kind of but it still has major issues:

        * groupchats are only possible if all buddies are on the same network
        * features beyond basic IM are rarely supported well if at all
        * you have to manage multiple identities. Rather than one line of IM address contact information you end up with 5 or so.
    • Then google finally put out google talk, a great implementation...

      ...of Jabber (XMPP), which is exactly what AOL is about to do.

      Call me old school but I like the TSR windows client. I don't want my IMs getting lost in browser tabs...I wish they'd port it to linux.

      gaim supports Jabber. Kopete supports Jabber. There are probably a dozen more that I've never even heard of. And the current implementation of gmail does allow you to "pop out" an IM window. All of these will (theoretically) talk to AOL users no

  • AOL *users* have been jabbering for years now.
  • by hey (83763)
    This is great news. Hopefully it will shame the others to switch to XMPP. Yes, I mean you MSN.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JordanL (886154)
      If AOL moving to XMPP is hell freezing over... MSN moving to XMPP would be putting hell in an Einstein-Boseman state.

      I other words, not bloody likely.
      • by Abreu (173023)
        Which is sad, really... for some strange combination of events, everyone in Mexico uses MSN (it had to do with Telmex pushing MSN through its Prodigy ISP, which is a near-monopoly).

        I really wish I was not forced to use the MSN network (or its client at work)
    • I can't verify this, but from comment 28 on the blog:

      IdahoPotato Said,
      Before you declare Mission Accomplished! - there seems to be a sip.oscar.aol.com, and my SIP client can connect there as well.
  • by TFoo (678732) on Friday January 18, 2008 @04:11PM (#22099242)
    the real question is -- are they going to support XMPP S2S (server to server federation)? Currently it looks like port xmpp.oscar.aol.com:5269 is NOT accepting connections (that's the XMPP S2S port).

    Without S2S, this announcement is pretty much useless -- I mean, sure I can use my jabber client against AOL instead of the AOL-branded one, but I pretty much can do that already via the reverse-engineered joscar libraries (e.g. libgaim)

    • by koko775 (617640)
      Perhaps as a part of their rollout they eventually plan on turning on S2S. If I recall, wasn't gTalk closed for a few months until they opened S2S?
      • by rabbit994 (686936) on Friday January 18, 2008 @05:08PM (#22100354)
        Yes, GTalk was closed for a few months and then they opened it up for S2S. In Fact, I talk to all my friends on GTALK via S2S from personal XMPP (Jabber) server.

        They are not even publishing the correct DNS SRV records yet for AOL.

        > _jabber._tcp.aol.com

        *** dnsserver can't find _jabber._tcp.aol.com: Non-existent domain
        > _xmpp-client._tcp.aol.com

        *** dnsserver can't find _xmpp-client._tcp.aol.com: Non-existent domain
        > _xmpp-server._tcp.aol.com

        *** dnsserver can't find _xmpp-server._tcp.aol.com: Non-existent domain
  • Finally I will only need to be connected to one IM network. _My own_. Up to now you had to pretty much put up with either MSN logging your conversations or AOL logging them.

    One of the great things about Google turning on server 2 server for GTalk is that it is now possible to run your own IM server (as you might run your own mail server) and network interconnection just works. If AOL go the same way a critical mass might build up enough that central control of IM becomes almost impossible - as all the geeks
    • Re:Huzzah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot@kadin.xoxy@net> on Friday January 18, 2008 @04:46PM (#22099908) Homepage Journal

      Finally I will only need to be connected to one IM network. _My own_. Up to now you had to pretty much put up with either MSN logging your conversations or AOL logging them.

      One of the great things about Google turning on server 2 server for GTalk is that it is now possible to run your own IM server (as you might run your own mail server) and network interconnection just works.


      And then you still have AOL, MSN, or Google logging your chats, if you're talking to someone on one of their networks. If you're the only person using your chat server, it's really like just using a very complicated client program.

      E.g., if you're "joe@homenetwork.net" and you run a XMPP server at messaging.homenetwork.net, but all the people you talk to are on Google or AOL, every message you send goes from your client, through messaging.homenetwork.net, and then over to Google's or AOL's servers (where presumably they log them), before going to the destination.

      Unless you can convince your friends to use your chat server (messaging.homenetwork.net) rather than AOL's/Google's, you're not getting any additional privacy.

      Frankly, I think privacy isn't really the goal we should be aiming for with this. If you want privacy, get OTR encryption (the easiest way is just to use Adium on the Mac), and then it doesn't matter quite so much whose servers the messages are passing through. The switch from OSCAR to XMPP is all about interoperability.
      • by gmack (197796)
        But it's really easy to gain that extra privacy.

        More networks on XMPP makes having your own server much more useful since you can talk to the other networks. I have messaging.mynet and you have messaging.yournet and we can both talk to Google users and AIM users to the whole exercise is not a waste of time.

        My jabber server was pretty much dead except for some danish isp tech (NGDC) until google moved over. Now I can actually use it to talk to real people. I'm thinking this move will encourage more people
      • And then you still have AOL, MSN, or Google logging your chats, if you're talking to someone on one of their networks.

        Not always. You see the only time I really care if my IMs are logged or harvested is when I'm exchanging messages with coworkers. Since work has their own Jabber server up already, this means when I chat at work I don't have to use a different account to talk to friends using AIM or some other protocol. This means I can ditch Adium since I no longer need the cross protocol pieces and just use iChat, which has Jabber support and video and voice chat support working beautifully.

        Unless you can convince your friends to use your chat server (messaging.homenetwork.net) rather than AOL's/Google's, you're not getting any additional privacy.

        This isn't quite true. Th

  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday January 18, 2008 @04:55PM (#22100064) Homepage Journal
    It's great that AOL is finally going to speak the industry-standard XMPP. Now instant messaging will be as universal as email is today. And you know what that means...

    If you have a Jabber account anywhere, be prepared to start receiving lots of spim [wikipedia.org] all day, every day. And don't simply think that you'll get away with not allowing buddies on your list without accepting an invitation. Spimmers don't do business that way. They simply put their advertisement in the invitation so you've already read it by the time you decline the invite.

    Viagra ads, mortgage scams, pump and dump stocks ... all day, every day, but now it pops up right into the middle of your screen. Happy Happy!!
    • by MobyDisk (75490)
      I think this is a non-issue because invites just aren't used any more. I'm not even certain that the modern clients support them.

      Instead, you email a friend with your IM contact info: they add you, you add them, and now you can both IM each other. No invites required, no spim. I've been using IM for 5+ years and I've never received a single spam of any kind. And I've never used invites, or received one.
    • So Iggy, does Citadel have a solution for Spim?
      • So Iggy, does Citadel have a solution for Spim?
        Since we handle email and IM within the same server framework, it shouldn't be too difficult to route IM's coming from a remote network through the existing spam filters.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          They will have to be realtime now, though.

          That is -- I use a statistical filter, and I don't much care how long it takes to run, as emails are intermittent, and don't have to be delivered instantly. It's still pretty damned fast, especially for small messages...

          But consider things like SPF, greylisting, and all kinds of other tricks people use for mail filtering. There are a LOT of email spam filters out there right now which simply could not work well on Jabber.
    • by WK2 (1072560)
      Yes, spim is a problem, just like spam. Fortunately, just like spam, there are solutions for bringing it down to a workable level, and as it gets more prevalent, there will be better solutions that are easier to use and bring it down further. Of course, also like email, we will be losing legitimate messages that our spam filters wrongly flagged/deleted.

      I still say open protocols are progress.
    • If you have a Jabber account anywhere, be prepared to start receiving lots of spim all day, every day.

      Whilst this is true, XMPP does callback verification which means that the spammers can't spoof their domains. I suspect the lack of spoofability will mean that spam will never get anywhere near as significant as email spam. For one thing, it means you can't have a botnet of machines running XMPP servers because they would each need a DNS record and the ability to accept the callbacks.
  • Old TopCoder Project (Score:2, Informative)

    by cparker15 (779546)
    This is most likely the result of the AOL XMPP Gateway project posted in 2006 at TopCoder: http://www.topcoder.com/tc?module=Static&d1=dev&d2=assembly&d3=det_aolXmppGateway [topcoder.com]
  • I believe AIM is still the most popular in the US, in the UK it was never really that popular compared to ICQ at the beginning and then very quickly MSN took over the top slot. Unless AIM had some advantage over MSN then I'm sure they're slowly losing ground in the US too. So what better way to remain relevant than to switch to an open protocol. It suddenly makes AIM accessible to a larger number of users without the need to register a separate account.

    I know at the moment the AIM jabber server does not sup
  • by bconway (63464) on Friday January 18, 2008 @09:12PM (#22103686) Homepage
    I've been using AIM since 1997 and GTalk on and off for a year, both with Pidgin 2.3.1 currently.

    As far as comparisons go, with AIM I can:
    - See and show other's and my own idle time (critical to me)
    - See other's and set my buddy profile (very useful for links and other interesting tidbits)
    - See people's login time (important)
    - See people's account creation time
    - See the capabilities of someone's client

    With XMPP I can:
    - Do none of the above
    - Have a slightly larger buddy icon

    Am I missing something? Are these lackings limitations of Pidgin? Given XMPP's open nature, I would have imagined missing features would have been implemented long before reverse-engineering AIM's newest protocol features. :confused:
    • The features you see in XMPP are largely based on what client you use. It could be that Pidgin simply hasn't implemented all the features you want. In that case, file a report. :)

      That said:
      - See and show other's and my own idle time: there is no protocol for this as far as I know. People on XMPP seem to be content with auto-away messages.
      - See other's and set my buddy profile: you can set a status message even when non-away, people often use this for sharing current information. Otherwise, there's the V
    • by BitZtream (692029)
      So what your complaining about is that AIM displays far too much information that the user may not want you to see, where as google is more conservative and doesn't send that information to clients on their server. I use Pidgen with our companies OpenFire server, most of that information is already available to me by looking up the users info. I may not be able to see the account creation time, but to be honest theres no point, I'd love to hear why you must see someones account creation time. Do you chat
    • by earlymon (1116185)
      With iChat AV, I can see idle time (very important, let's me know co-worker is away from console) and client abilities (let's me know if audio or video is supported).

      We all agree to change status when idle - but sometimes lack time or are too lazy.

      (Oddly, I can see on-line status with the Jabber side of iChat AV for one gtalk guy, but not at all for another guy. I'd either blame Google or iChat for that before XMPP.)

      With Jabber, you can also:

      - Reach more people, because some people don't like the AIM or iC
      • (Oddly, I can see on-line status with the Jabber side of iChat AV for one gtalk guy, but not at all for another guy. I'd either blame Google or iChat for that before XMPP.)

        Sounds like you aren't subscribed to that buddy. When you add a buddy to your roster it will send a subscription request to them. They can either accept the request (and you'll then get status updates from them) or they can decline it (they are still on your roster but it won't give you their status).

        In Pidgin you can re-send the subscr
  • Rediff has been experimenting with a gateway between XMPP and their Bol chat server (Bol means "Talk" in Hindi, so it's a Chat chat server, but then again I once lived in Villa Chateau Apartments). I have no idea if it's publicly available, though. If anybody cares, drop me an email.
  • I like chatting with AIM users via iChat using voice. If AIM were to go XMPP, I'd think they'd need to support voice to keep their users happy. Google talk's jingle evidently isn't the same as that published by XMPP - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jingle_(protocol) [wikipedia.org]

    So, before I start cheering, I'd like to know if supporting voice for AIM/XMPP will follow the standard or follow Gtalk or what?

    Notice how hard they've made it so far - or whatever the correct conclusion is... http://www.google.com/talk/other [google.com]
    • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:18AM (#22105146)
      From the web page:

      Jingle is an extension to the Jabber/XMPP protocol, to allow for peer-to-peer (p2p) signalling for multimedia interactions such as voice or video. It was designed by Google and the XMPP Standards Foundation. The multimedia content itself can be delivered using the Real-time Transport Protocol, with Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) for NAT traversal. As of January 26 2007, the Jingle standards are marked as being experimental, meaning that it has not yet been approved by the XMPP Standards Foundation.
      ... what that means is ... it is the standard for voice of XMPP is just not 100% locked in stone yet.
      • by earlymon (1116185)
        Many thanks!

        So, would I be inferring too much to think that whatever Jingle becomes may well be what Google will ultimately do? I'm guessing that they want traffic, and are supporting Jabber for chat as standards-based, so they'd expect more mindshare supporting the full standard when it is locked in stone.

        It's not just mental meandering. I have too many chat clients that go so far, and I'm getting ready to cull the herd. OK, maybe it is mental meandering.

        Again, your insight, much appreciated.

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