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ICQ Starts Blocking Alternative Clients 347

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-that's-not-how-friends-play-nice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It appears that since yesterday ICQ has blocked access to the ICQ network to alternative clients. Users of QIP, Adium, and other clients are getting a 'The client version you are using is too old. Please upgrade'. No comment yet from ICQ or AOL."
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ICQ Starts Blocking Alternative Clients

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  • IC what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @10:59AM (#24030737)

    In other news... people still use ICQ?

    • Re:IC what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by urbanriot (924981) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:01AM (#24030789)
      Yes, ICQ is still big in China (Oicq) and Russia. Consider that the IM to first and fully support a character set will probably get the widest use, not to mention Oicq was fully integrated into cell phones long ago.
    • Re:IC what? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:05AM (#24030879)

      Seriously. The last time I used ICQ, I remember my geeky friend named Devin inviting me over to his house. We were talking about the hot new character on the current Star Trek show named Seven of Nine.

      So, for what it's worth, if ICQ reminds me of Jeri Ryan... it can't be that bad, right?

    • by gilesjuk (604902)

      Just like I'm sure there's people running old DOS apps I'm sure someone still uses ICQ. Of course they'll most likely be using an official client.

      I stopped using ICQ about 2003, the spammers started to use it more.

      Still, it was notable for having offline messages long before MSN and AIM did.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by residieu (577863)
        I still have my client connect to my ICQ account out of habit. I miss the good old days of ICQ when you could leave the "talk to a random person" feature on.
        • When were those? I got in on ICQ pretty early, and upon turning that feature on got immediately solicited/trolled.

        • by Achra (846023)
          I remember those days also. Long gone. My ICQ # was 8 digits, beginning with 117 - so, not exactly a founding member.. But ICQ certainly used to be the only messenger. This was 2001, I think.
    • Re:IC what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by yincrash (854885) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:20AM (#24031251)
      This is also a nonstory. The fix is just incrementing the version number on what is reported to OSCAR.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I only stayed signed on to ICQ because I could, without opening another client. I have been using Pidgin, and I figured, why not, It's not like I have to open another program. If I have to install the official version of ICQ just to use it, I won't use it. That being said, ICQ was miles ahead of MSN (the current defacto standard among my contacts). I figure the reason it lost out, is because MSN came already installed on all windows computers. I wish ICQ wouldn't have died. It's truly a better system.
  • by urbanriot (924981) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @10:59AM (#24030745)
    No problems here using Miranda IM. (http://www.miranda-im.org/)
  • by multipartmixed (163409) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @10:59AM (#24030751) Homepage

    That said, the forum thread is interesting. Looks like the ICQ admins are censoring posts.

    • by distr0 (1161389) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:02AM (#24030819)
      not for long, they just lost 12 of their 14 users!
      • by Ilgaz (86384) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:33AM (#24031531) Homepage

        Once upon a time ICQ was de-facto standard in Turkey. You know what they did? (AOL shareholders, listen)
        They banned the TURKISH CABLE IP BLOCK, the _country_ from reaching their servers. They actually banned Cable ISP monopoly but it was like banning all active, high profile users.
        People looked to alternatives, tried proxies (yes,pathetic but needed) and they stared at something which is already installed to their system. Windows (MSN) Messenger. The outcome will amaze you. Microsoft execs are at absolute shock because Turkish MSN _active_ users exceeds 25 million. That is 1/4 of country using a single service.
        Hope the idiots banning a country because of couple lamers read this message. Yes, MSN has 25 million users... Thanks to you!

        • by multipartmixed (163409) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:36AM (#24031589) Homepage

          Is that Turk-Telecom that got banned?

          Because, I gotta say, wow, that netblock generates a LOT of spam. Seriously. Like 25% of my spam comes from there.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Ilgaz (86384)

            No, cable ISP. They didn't ban Turk Telecom. Turk Telecom seems to care for spam reports lately (their mail spam rate going lower along with Poland) but they banned the Cable ISP. Imagine there is only Comcast in USA for Cable ISP and rest are 56K running people. You are banning entire Comcast from your network, they did something similar to it.
            I still suspect some racial profiling etc. since it is really possible to hunt the individual spammers and if you are at a point of banning an entire ISP block, it i

    • Oh the memories.
      Unplugging my college roomates computer from the internet (my bed was right infront of the eathernet jacks) because he wouldn't get off the Damn ICQ. If I didn't unplug him, he and me respectivly would be up all night as his keyboard was loud and didn't know how to turn off his speakers. After he gaveup and went to bed I quietly pluged the cable back in. He never learned was the wizer... (he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shead if I didn't want him in the room all I would need to do is dead

  • AOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:03AM (#24030829) Journal
    The one thing AOL has always excelled at is cutting off its nose to spite its face. Though I am rather grateful for all those nice, metal disc boxes which I spray-painted in solid colors (for more worthy discs). They really look great.
    • Re:AOL (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gehrehmee (16338) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:23AM (#24031305) Homepage
      Didn't we just a few months back hear about AOL Adopting Jabber (XMPP)? [slashdot.org] If AOL is seriously looking towards joining the non-legacy IM network, maybe this is just the latest in a long line of effort to de-emphasize and eventually scuttle ICQ in favor of something a little more modern. Or maybe not. One can dream though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ya really (1257084)

      Though I am rather grateful for all those nice, metal disc boxes which I spray-painted in solid colors (for more worthy discs). They really look great.

      I always thought they always made good alternatives for clay pidgeons when you have nothing else to shot.

  • Wrong title! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tester (591) <olivier.crete@ocret e . ca> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:03AM (#24030843) Homepage

    Actually, they're forcing windows users to upgrade.. It has nothing to do with blocking alternative clients.

    In other news, GnomeICU [sf.net] still works and pidgin has just made a new release with sends a newer version number.

    • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:54AM (#24031943) Journal

      Well, on the topic of forcing people to upgrade... maybe if the newer software wasn't so retarded, more people would upgrade. Just a thought.

      Admittedly my anecdote isn't comprehensive marketing data and isn't that new either, but just to illustrate a point. So at one point I wanted to communicate with someone who supposedly had only ICQ.

      The last version I had used before was, IIRC, 2002a. Or something. At any rate, it was a relatively clean interface, with just the two text-fields needed, and the minimum of buttons that one might need. All in the Windows configured colours, and with sensible icons that are there, but don't scream for attention and don't look like someone flew an airplane into a clown makeup factory. I'm not necessarily a fan of ICQ or AOL, but I could respect that interface.

      Well, I figured, wth, let's get the newest version. You know, what with potential security holes and whatnot in older versions. I think the version at the moment was ICQ 4. "With Xtraz!" The l33t (ok, SMS-speak) spelling in a product name should have been warning enough. It was everything that the old version wasn't: retarded and annoying and looking like a desperate scream for attention. IIRC with an ad banner thrown in for good measure too.

      I actually went "oh, fuck the security holes, that's why I have an anti-virus and data execution check turned on." I actually uninstalled it and dug through old backup CD-R's to find my trusted old version.

      Well, I uninstalled it completely after a few days and never looked back. So I wouldn't know if the even newer versions fixed that or continued down that slope towards software-Alzheimer's.

      But just saying... if you find that you have to _force_ people to give up their old versions and use the newer one, even when it's for free (as in beer;)... there may be some subtle hint in there.

      And yeah, I know there are other programs one can use instead of the official client. They're just kinda irrelevant for the point I was trying to make, which is about AOL making the users of its official client upgrade.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:04AM (#24030855)

    And working just fine at this very moment.

    • by remmelt (837671)

      After rejecting my password a couple of times three hours ago, it's now working again. Adium as well.

  • Adium already fixed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Per Wigren (5315) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:04AM (#24030859) Homepage

    I got the "your client is too old" message today, did a manual "check for updates" and found that a new version of Adium (1.2.6) was released and after upgrading ICQ works again.

  • I thought ICQ died years ago. Apart from MSN, which I use very rarely, what other IM clients are in common use?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      What is supposed to be alive then if you don't use either MSN or ICQ ?
      My non-geek friends use MSN, others use ICQ or jabber (mostly because of gtalk)
      I still use IRC too.
      My work made me use Skype as well.
    • Re:ICQ? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ari_j (90255) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:20AM (#24031245)

      My recent usage, on only one machine but my main workstation for the past 2-1/2 years, gives the following reports from du for my Adium log folder:

      • AIM: 86MB
      • MSN: 37MB
      • Yahoo: 50MB
      • ICQ: 0
      • GTalk: 4.2MB

      Note that I only used MSN and Yahoo for a long time, and added AIM just a few years ago when I moved to a state where apparently everyone is on AIM. I think that there are regional trends for one network to be more popular than others. This probably has to do with the first few people in a particular high school or college starting with one IM network and nobody in that school bothering with the others since they all told their friends "Get X!"

    • You != Everyone (Score:3, Insightful)

      I thought ICQ died years ago. Apart from MSN, which I use very rarely, what other IM clients are in common use?

      Depending your geography and demographics, then you will find the popular IM network is not the same. For example ICQ still has a certain popularity in Eastern Europe, QQ in China and South Africa. Avoid basing global statistics on your own usage habits.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ldierk (1270930)
        ICQ is also big in Germany. All of my friends use it over there. When I told a friend from the states about it she didn't even know what I'm talking about. Thanks to Miranda I can have her AIM account in the same contact list as all my other friends though.
  • Kopete works (Score:5, Informative)

    by HappySmileMan (1088123) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:05AM (#24030887)
    Kopete fixed this [wordpress.com], well, you have to edit a config file, but once you do that it works fine on Kopete.
  • by Achra (846023) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:06AM (#24030903) Journal
    I was getting this earlier, but the latest seems to connect just fine.
  • I'd really hate it if Trillian or Miranda tells me tommorrow, "Please upgrade your version of AIM." Using the actual AIM client is like torture.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AkaKaryuu (1062882)
      Probably worse than torture. They normally don't make you look at popout adds while needles are pushed under your nails.
  • In Argentina ICQ is now something you may remember as you remember Altavista, and other ".com" fossils.
    (most people use MSN, and geeks use gtalk).

    • by KillerBob (217953)

      Hey... I still use Altavista. Though admittedly, mostly for Babelfish. Who doesn't like a game of Babelfish Tag, where you take a simple message like "I like Chinese food", pass it through Babelfish 10 times, and then give it to the person sitting next to you at work so they can guess what the message was. :)

  • Adium 1.2.6 fixes it (Score:4, Informative)

    by McDutchie (151611) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:08AM (#24030947) Homepage
    Adium 1.2.6 is now out which fixes ICQ connectivity [adiumx.com].
  • "You Dick!"

  • I fired it up last night to talk to some old UO friends. I was told that I would have to upgrade to connect so I did. The new client crashes every time I try to launch it. So, instead I tried Trillian and it worked. Maybe that's changed today; haven't tried yet. I will check it out after this con-call that I'm on.

  • ICQ = EVIL ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roskolnikov (68772) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:15AM (#24031143)

    What I like is if you go to the tech forum on ICQ referred to in initial post you'll see that most if not all workarounds have been edited out by ICQ....nice.

  • If they changed the protocol as part of an 'upgrade', it only makes sense to block older clients. If a 3rd party isn't 'current' yet and is blocked its not AOL's fault.

  • AOL Censorship (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Braedley (887013)
    It seems that AOL is censoring the names of alternative IM clients in the linked forum. Everywhere that Miranda or Pidgin should appear, there's ... instead. Ironically, iChat and Jabber are not censored (yes, I know that Jabber doesn't connect to ICQ).

    Well at least I know why I wasn't connecting to ICQ earlier.

    • Ironically, iChat and Jabber are not censored...

      Why is that ironic? Apple has signed a deal with AOL for iChat to be officially supported. Jabber is just a protocol and one AOL has been moving to interoperability with. I wonder if GTalk is being censored as it is an actual alternative client that doesn't use the AIM protocol.


  • I'm using Adium (haven't upgraded yet) and the message I get is this:
    "The client version you are using is too old. Please upgrade at http://pidgin.im"

    So I don't think that it's really a matter of freezing out alternative clients. If it were, it would tell me to go get the new official AIM client, not Pidgin. Instead, I think they're just trying to force an upgrade beyond some specific version of libpurple. It could be about security issues, but I haven't really researched it.

  • by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @11:23AM (#24031303) Homepage Journal

    And nothing of value was lost

  • I thought it was advertisement system with a instant messaging feature in the corner somewhere.

    Really though, I put up with the ads for years, and I may well still have been using it, but both AIM and ICQ got so bloated, plus the use of such large, animated ads, with SOUND. If they had just kept it simple, static ads, I'd never have bothered with a 3rd party client, and would still be getting their ads.

    Yeah, I don't suppose it's right to still use the service without getting the ads (I use it far less now,

  • Why do people use alternative clients? Easy reason: To have one client able to access many IM networks.

    You know what it's like. You have a few friends that use ICQ, others that use YM, still others that use something completely different... and you'd have to install 10 clients just to keep in touch with all of them.

    What do you do instead? You install one client that handles all.

    And what do you do when your client stops working for a certain network because its maker decides to disallow the use of third part

  • I keep my low ICQ number because it is even older than my slashdot ID.

  • Kinda sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @12:25PM (#24032499) Homepage Journal

    I'll miss ICQ when they shut it down. I haven't gotten a real message from it in years (I think - I don't really pay attention to which service in Kopete I'm getting messages from), but I can't bring myself to stop connecting.

    I have a very low 7-digit ID from right after it came out. It was pretty cool to be able to randomly chat with friends without having to log into an IRC channel and wait for them to remember to come online. One time I even bought a girl a computer for Valentine's Day just so I could talk to her while I was at my ISP tech support job; we ended up getting married.

    ICQ sucks and it's spammy and doesn't do anything cool, but there's a lot of nostalgia in that crusty old system. I'll be sad the day when my login stops working for the last time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Red Flayer (890720)

      One time I even bought a girl a computer for Valentine's Day just so I could talk to her while I was at my ISP tech support job; we ended up getting married.

      Oh, so that's how to solve that puzzle. I tried the flowers, champagne, dinner, jewelry methods.

      BTW, was it a girl you already knew?

      --thanks in advance for the relationship advice.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        We'd been dating for a couple of months by then. I think I just got lucky though, and I doubt more women would like hardware than jewelry.

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @02:19PM (#24034257)
    ICQ, the one IM app that doesn't send you a message every time someone hits enter, it promotes that they should finish their idea first before clicking the Send button, so the recipient doesn't have to read the same line over and over because they keep seeing blinking or hearing "message received" noises. The only blinking you see with this program is a tiny icon in the system tray instead of multiple taskbar panes blinking in a very distracting un-synchronized way.

    Yes, you can configure your clients differently, but I'm talking about the default behavior. And even if you are courteous enough to not set it to send your message every time you press enter, your friends won't, and you'll still be getting one-liners that could have waited until they were finished typing their whole idea.
  • by ClosedEyesSeeing (1278938) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @02:29PM (#24034415)
    Uh-oh! ... memories...
  • by antdude (79039) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @03:04PM (#24034861) Homepage Journal

    No problems at home and work. I wonder why other clients had problems.

  • Oh come on (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday July 02, 2008 @08:15PM (#24038303) Homepage

    This is just an incremental version update. For the licq client at least, it's a one-byte fix in /usr/bin/licq [licq.org]

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