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The Internet

IMUnified: Playing Red Rover With AOL 109

Griz writes: "Looks like the bigger names in the IM business have come together to support a uniform protocol, and to rally behind IETF. AOL is noticeably absent. Check out IMUnified for more information." And practically speaking, it looks like a tough sell even for giant AOL to balk at implementing the same standards that will be available to customers of Excite@home, MSN, Prodigy, Yahoo!, AT&T and others.
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IMUnified: Playing Red Rover With AOL

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The only reason they want access to the network is so they can sell ad space on top of it. I don't see any reason why AOL should have to put up with that. If they want to use AOL's resources to make money, screw 'em they're just as bad as Nap$ter.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's a reason AOL is so big: They provide the level of service that Jill Sixpack (of Zima) relys on for net access. You can hate them if you like, but they deserve to be as big as they are for helping the masses.

    Now, having said that, if they aren't on board with this thing then it will never get off the ground. I mean, face it: AOL is the internet for most people!

    Why is the mp3 format big? AOL owns WinAmp. Why is gnutella going to go down in flames as another stupid hacker toy? AOL dumped the project.

    Big business owns the net now. Better get used to it.

  • AOL didn't come up with this. In fact, they haven't contributed to -any- of the drafts submitted.

    Uhh...

    Are you a moron, or just trolling?

    The draft is here [ietf.org] on the IETF's Web site. Section 7 credits the authors, Edwin Aoki and Andy Wick of AOL.

    --

  • Why wouldn't this work. To send cross platform messages, you can just treat the destination like an email addresses.. 1234567@icq to send a message to someone on the ICQ network, and SomeGuy@AIM to send a message to someone on the AIM network. Now each user is unique if you merge the two databases.

    you'll probably need some sort of gateway.. but I think some companies are already doing something similar to this (ie everybuddy or something like that).
  • Jabber

    All of this stuff is already working as we speak. Check out jabber at http://www.jabber.org
  • How did you manage to get moded for +1?? This was a most ignorant post and should have been marked -1 Flamebait.

    No one I know has more than _1_ ICQ account. (One guy has 2 because his other one got spammed by some stalker.) I've had my account for over 2 years, went through 2 computers and 4 clean reinstalls during that time and 3 ICQ upgrades. Never had to change my account number or get a new one. Never lost my message history file (which now weighs in at over 3 megs).

    You must be really uninformed or too dense not to save your /db and/or /new_db files (depends on version). When you reinstall don't you save your email client's mailboxes and folders? Or do you just accept as fact that you'll lose all your past email? Do you go to your ISP and request a new email address? Or do you just re-enter your old info after a reinstall? You know, you can do that in ICQ right from the main menu.

    Maybe you should learn how to do minimal backups before trashing a product for not assuming its users are all dumbasses.

  • Already being done. 1.0 was actually released over a month ago now. http://www.jabber.org
  • tell that to the (ex-)Compuserve users. AOL took over a great service Bollocks says this ex-Compu$erve user. CIS was always underpowered and overcharged (esp. in Europe). I jumped when they started playing games with email interconnect with various ISPs they didn't like.

    The remaining CompuServe users are not diehards ... they are (with the greatest respect) diestupids.

    Regards, Ralph.

  • Well, 16DM if you didn't use it maybe ... now calculate in the on-line charges, network surcharges, database lookup services ...

    I'll admit CI$ was good (for it's time) for technical info (though not as good as Compulink (CIX) in the UK I reckon - CI$ won only for it's international access).

    Access to the Web via vanilla ISPs killed CI$ - better to get that technical info direct from the suppliers' website (or Usenet) rather than via some CI$ forum. (The overcharging and low performance helped of course ...)

    Regards, Ralph.
  • Would it allow some traffic to be diverted from there servers or just cause more? Also if ICQ decided to create a module so they can join in the fun AOL could not do a thing and they could not do what they did with MSN either. I think this a PR stunt that they need so they would not have the same problems like microsoft did. I like that they are doing this it should be interesting.
  • FYI: You can already sign on to AIM (well, TOC. Not sure about Oscar clients) with your ICQ login and password.

    --

  • by rpk ( 9273 )
    MSN Messenger already does it -- you can sign in as luser@hotmail.com, @passport.com, and so on.
  • Some companies (like the one I work for) use AIM for instant communication (especially between offices) -- it's cheaper and more reliable than using thep phone. We are starting to run into problems with AIM, such as:
    • The buddy list is stored locally on the client, so if you have more than one computer, you have to copy the list around. (Also, I beleive that the AOL .blt file format is or was not compatible between the MacOS and Windows clients). MSN and Yahoo keep your list on their servers.
    • There is a definite limit to how many buddies you can have.
    • When an employee joins, they need to get an ID (themselves) if the don't have one.

    Ideally, what our company (and a lot of others) would like to do run our own IM network with easy-to-install hub software -- so that we can have control over our own policies and buddy lists, but still talk to the rest of the world. For example, all employees could be buddies of each other. The IM IDs could be the same as our email IDs, so there's one less thing for people to remember. One could imagine IM hubs that integrate with other authentication and message-related servers such as Exchange, Notes, LDAP, or Kerberos. Doing all of this is "possible" but rather pointless if there is not a single standard that all clients and hubs can agree upon.

  • It's interesting that everone assumes that AOL isn't in the group because they don't want to join. Mabey they were never informed about it's existence? Or they were never invited to join...
    Just a few thoughts :)
  • > have not done anything to illegally or unethically corner the instant messenging market

    Illegal no. Unethical?... I think that's debatable. Is a monopoly unethical? Basically, they make it EXTREMELY difficult for any other developer to make a buck off of IM. Imagine if every cell phone, set-top, application developer (Napster has IM capabilities, no?) has to pay royalties or licensing fees to AOL when they incorporate a messaging solution into their service.
  • Speaking is overrated, I use AIM to IM my neighbor across the street and to IM my sister in the next room.
    Who needs to speak? I look forward to the day when the telephone is abolished, the world will be much happier place to live; with nice IM chimes instead of phone rings, and plenty of carpal tunnel syndrome to go around.
    It will be nice to have my whole social life right in front of me in the comfort of my room...it even glows in the dark...oh wait, I think that already happened.

    I think Louis Armstrong sung it best, when he belted out, "Oh, what a wonderful world". You just can't beat that, not even with a techno bassline.

  • I agree that AOL should give up its hold on the market. But really, from their standpoint, why should they? They own the market, they spent $250 million on ICQ, and now they should just give it up?

    M$ talks as if AOL is doing something bad, and it can fix it. Well they already "fixed" my desktop computer and that's all the help I need from them thank you.

    Actually, maybe they should release all of their API's so all OSes can interpolate. That way I can switch my OS and won't have to worry about having to buy/find new applications.

    I am sure that M$ would be willing to do this. Perhaps they could add it to the benevolent mission of the IMUnified Group. Yes, free APIs for everyone, I think I'll email Bill Gates.
  • I used to work at IBM (who owns Lotus), and i'm sure you've noticed, as i did...sametime connect (or VPBuddy as it was previously termed) looks suspiciously (exactly) like AIM.

    It seems pretty obvious that IBM/Lotus licenses a customized version of AIM for internal use, and so it's no leap of faith to consider that part of that license is interoperability between the two clients.
  • > The grammar nazi is going to teach you friendly Slashdot readers a new word today: oligopoly: a market situation in which each of a few producers affects but does not control the market

    If we had a history nazi, I'm sure s/he would point out the way certain political parties with narrow popular bases have at various times gained control of parlimentary governments: organize all the haves-not to work together to destroy the powerful haves, then backstab their erstwhile allies so they can rule without having to share the newly acquired power.

    I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine why the history nazi might think those episodes were relevant to the content of this thread.

    --
  • Windows Millennium Edition (aka Windows 98 Third Edition) will ship with MSN Messenger -- and Windows Media Player 7 -- pre-installed. Why bother downloading AOL's instant messaging clients and MP3 playback software when you get functional equivalents* included with your OS?

    * This assumes that MSN gets AOL/ICQ support yet again, which wouldn't be too hard. Also WMP 7 supports its own skins and plugins, not to mention playlists. Who needs Winamp?
  • XMMS is not available on Windows without the use of an X server. Those who use Windows not only get to use Winamp, they get to use:
    • High-quality visualization plugins not available for other operating systems
    • New media formats, like the high-quality MPEG-4 codecs that Microsoft is innovating to make Internet video more accessible
    • Internet Explorer, the world's fastest and most integrated full-featured web browser
    • High-quality software from third parties you'd never see for other operating systems
    Remember, just because an operating system is free doesn't make it a better value. With new, innovative technologies, Microsoft is leading the way towards a more high-performance standard of computing. Don't miss out! You don't want to be stuck recompiling some beta build of an ASF decoder that works at 5 fps when you can have streaming, high-quality, full-screen video on your screen, today!
  • Isn't that what you become when you have a vaccination?

    Say, I could use a vaccination.
    Yeah? Where do you want to go on your vaccination?

  • here is a different version of your post, with the names changed:

    Microsoft, essentially, owns the instant communication market. MSN Messenger Service has some 70 million users (or so they say) and I think we're seeing ICQ #'s in about the same range. I can't really blame them for being absent here. (Before you start blaming them for embracing and extending protocols, or closing out markets, please consider the evidence. Although Microsoft is a frightening market giant, they have not done anything to illegally or unethically corner the instant messenging market.) Anyway, my point is, the odds are very, very good that anyone you might want to reach will use one of those two services. (And with ICQ's excellent cross-platform support, there's no excuse for them not to).

    Additionally, MSN Messenger Service and ICQ (both owned, though not created, by the same company) use radically different, fundamentally dissimilar naming conventions. When you start introducing others into the fray, a unified protocol or client could easily become a hindrance or lead to complications.

    Microsoft has more-or-less earned (or acquired) the instant messenging market. When something better comes out, I have no doubt that it will take the place of MSN Messenger Service or ICQ. Until then, though, incompatible standards shouldn't be foisted upon them.


    i'm not trying to troll here, but methinks that if it was MS not joining the standards committee, your attitude (and by extension, the attitude of others on /.) might be significantly different.

    food for thought.
  • A few years ago, AOL didn't support nice standard protocols like HTTP & TCP/IP or access to useful services like the WWW, FTP, Usenet & IRC. Now they do.

    If AOL has half a brain, they'll join IMUnified. But then again, AOL users still can't use POP/SMTP.

  • by Hasues ( 63342 )
    This is no great revelation other than company names are attached to it. I personally wouldn't have minded seeing Jabber being further investigated by companies.
  • I think the AOL Time Warner merger has an impact on all of this (trying to look non-monopolistic).
  • Monopolies themselves aren't illegal. It is the abuse of a monopoly that is illegal. As one analyst said during the trial, they should admit they have a monopoly, since they do, but try to convince the judge that they are not abusing that monopoly.

    The only reason AT&T and Standard Oil got split up is because they were ABUSING their monopolies.

  • Merging ICQ and AIM would be a huge pain in the ass. AIM deals with unique names and ICQ deals with unique numbers (hence UID). What would you do? Make all the ICQ users get new names? Assign numbers to the AIM users? The bottom line is it just wouldnt work.

    Mark Duell
  • i think they tried this a few years ago.... what was it called???... i think IRC
  • I could be wrong here but I'm pretty sure that I've been using 2.0b for almost a year and when I checked the site last week it was still the newest.
  • It's a shame to. I know a lot of people that like ICQ better then AIM but I fear that AOL's going to kill off ICQ. On the Mac a new version of AIM comes out every few months or so. ICQ hasn't been updated in forever.
  • "hasn't been updated in forever"? I don't quite consider a little under two months "forever"...
  • But, it's a bit difficult to do five or six phone calls at once.

    Also, does TALK allow multi-party discussions? I assume not...
  • You're missing my point. The slashdot article paints this thing in a positive light which is natural.

    Doesn't unity and standards seem grand?

    My point is at the last paragraph. It's in these companies interest to not allow any other competing clients. Therefor they do not plan on allowing any OPEN SOURCE clients to communicate on their network.

    This organisation looks like a very evil thing for open source.

    Some people think that the will be just able to write a jabber transport to communicate on the network. But they should expect to have to reverse hack the authenication protocol and be sued for it in the process.

    My post tries to show this, but I guess I wasn't clear enough.

  • Agreed. Also, isn't 80% or 90% of the price of a gallon of gas a combination of state and federal taxes? I've heard that the so-called evil big businesses make less than $.20 per gallon, currently.

    You're on your way to realizing the One Truth: everything is a sham. The Right, the Left, and everything in between. Even everything on Slashdot. Have a nice day.

    This tiny jewel of cynicism brought to you by Microsoft.

    ---------///----------
    All generalizations are false.

  • True, true... also, allow me to deftly morph into the Spelling Nazi: [to Black Parrot]... it's kerberos, fuckwit!

    Okay, I feel better.

    ---------///----------
    All generalizations are false.

  • While I agree, people make too big a deal over installation. After all, you should only have to do it once, right? ;)

    I prefer the more old-school approach that you get with FreeBSD's "custom" installation: I choose exactly which packages go on my box, the disk partitioning and labeling, et cetera. OpenBSD's install is almost as good. You can do almost the same with Red Hat's "expert" install, but it takes much, much longer. Slackware probably has one of the best current GNU/Linux installs. IMHO, of course. I just wish that the default kernel had all of the UDMA packages included, so I could've installed directly to an ATA/66 drive instead of switching to a normal ATA/33 IDE bus, installing, recompiling, changing fdisk and rdev, and switching busses again. Sure, it only takes a half-hour to do the whole deal, but if frickin' FreeBSD has proper UltraATA/66 support in the default kernel, shouldn't all GNU/Linux distros? (Except Debian, of course. Right, Rob? Any post-1979 code is just "too wild and unruly" for you Debian freaks. ;-p)

    Let's get even more offtopic. Installing x86 Solaris for the first time was pretty interesting. 'Twas the first opportunity I had to actually install Solaris on a box, (don't have the dough for a Sparc, heh heh), and it was a pleasant (if unsettling) surprise. Solaris 8 is even more flashy. For those who have never seen it, you start off in text-mode and are allowed to scan/configure devices, then choose where to boot a kernel from. Boot kernel, do a quick fdisk, and set up the console. Then you're thrown right into OpenWindows to install the actual software. Set up the system and partitions, along with the packages to install. You can read propaganda about new and cool features while-you-wait and swap CDs (20-40 minutes, in my experience). Then reboot, and bam, after the normal boot messages, you go right into CDE login. Pretty slick. As I've ranted about before, Sun had user-friendly UNIX done quite some time ago.

    Okay, enough offtopic-ness for now. Enjoy that coffee, brother/sister.

    ---------///----------
    All generalizations are false.

  • The Jabber folks did submit an RFC -- it's here [ietf.org].
  • Upgraded my parents Win 98 SE system this weekend to IE 5.5, MSN Mess 3.0 is a default option on all but the minimal config, I installed it anyways, checks my hotmail instantly.
  • Last year, ESR blasted AOL over attempting to close up the AIM protocol after it had oppened it. Look here [linuxtoday.com].

    NOTE: I put this link in a comment in another thread, but it might be of more general interest.


    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose that you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
  • So, the 400 pound gorilla is thumping its chest and demanding that the group travel west... But what about the two leaders of the gorilla tribe, the two married, 800 pound gorillas that want to lead the tribe east.. hmm, which way does the tribe end up going? I think east.. who will follow the one smaller gorilla, when you could follow and be protected by the two, much bigger ones...

    ------------------------------------------
    If God Droppd Acid, Would he see People???
  • There has, for a long time, been a need for an instant messaging standard, which is well supported. The reason for this is because, at present, I have not been able to find a single instant messaging client in which I have not found one or more major flaws. ICQ has server downtime issues, poor ease of use, no encryption by default, and severely cluttered menus. AIM is disgusting, because it uses way too much space for ads, which I really, really don't want to see. ICQ and AIM cannot be made compatible with eachother because of their fundamentally different naming conventions and interface principles. Yahoo! Messenger has a cluttered interface, and while most of it can be turned off, it still takes more screen space than it should.

    IMUnified does say that it will "make publically available" specifications in their press release, which means that open-source messaging clients could (and will) be built around it, with the compatibility of bigger messaging clients as well as all the benefits of being open source.
  • I love talking. I could talk all day. I call people all the time; it's something I love doing. However that's me. That's what I love to do. Not everyone shares my passion for communicating orally. I know lots of people who hate using the phone, they find they can't express themselves or they get to shy. It is these types of people that generally send letters. For thousands of years people have sent letters. There are millions of people who would much rather send a letter then talk face to face to a person. Letters however take a long time to reach their destination. Snail mail was radiculas and even email takes to long for a person to have a normal conversation. Thanks to Instant Messaging people can finally talk to people they way they feel comfortable. This is why instant messaging has gone so far so fast. Some people find the phone easy, some people find instant messaging easy. Everyone is different. It's just that simple.
  • I haven't seen anyone mention everybuddy yet (http://www.everybuddy.com/). It's an all-in-one package that lets me talk w/AIM users, ICQ users, Yahoo users, etc., Very nicely done with no ads.



  • And remember, since ICQ never purges their user database, there are probably 40 million users who don't use it anymore.
  • They were of course working on that famous vaporware linux version of AOL and Compuserve 2000 they promised everyone 2 years ago. Case stated "No, really, we love Linux. We aren't at all threatened by the concept of a group of people smart enough to use a real ISP. Really."

    To this i say, IRC.
  • "Also if ICQ decided to create a module so they can join in the fun AOL could not do a thing"

    Sure they could. They could fire the people that made the decision. Just who do you think owns ICQ?

  • What would keep the open source community from developing its own, wide-open protocol (complete with GPL'd clients)?

    I mean, how difficult can it be? Isn't it basically a lowend version of telnet with a candy coating (for messaging, file-transfers, etc.) Granted, voice chat would be a little more difficult, but as Yahoo has demonstrated recently, you can write a reasonable voice chat system with Java and get away with it being under 80K.

  • Convicted = criminal case Found Guilty, In Violation, etc. etc.. = civil case
  • i think a fundamental point here is that aol markets itself like a little club for 8-year old boys--you're only allowed in the treehouse if you pay the tax. the more recent tv spots, for example, all feature a variety of "everyday americans" who all say things like "all my friends use aol--it's like we're all there together."

    so it's fine and dandy if imunified wants to create a large competing body, but asking AOL to join is asking them to give up their primary product--access to the aol network. if you can download yahoo messenger and talk to aim folk for free, what's making you go to the aol website and looking at all the banners and 50 free hours! pop-ups? if you breathe wrong on aim, you get sent to an aol sign-up page.

    having a large subscriber base is not monopolistic. this seems a little like us news & world report and time demanding access to newsweek's mailing lists so they can offer "a wider range of services."
  • The problem with the "70 million" AOL users is most of them DON'T know what IM is. I have IM-ed many friends who have AOL, only to find out I've surprised them with some new "feature" they didn't know about, and to this day, still can't figure out...
  • I think we ought to have a broader view of instant messaging as internet infrastructure. Instead of simply looking at it as person-to-person communcations, we should look at it as a system-to-system or person-to-system enabler.

    Imagine, I want to access info off of my PC at work from home. I had an IM based service on my PC at work and an IM based client that built queries to the IM service. The client "system" communicates with the service "system" to get the requested info (such as my schedule for the day) all via IM.

    Realize that what IM does is allow two "hosts" to communicate anywhere on the net (firewalls be damned). This could be a new standard communications medium for n number of new services. We should fight that the CLIENT API gets standardized (or at least opened). This may not happen, but at least the servers could interoperate and you could use an "open" source system like Jabber [jabber.org] for the development of the new innovative services.
  • What happened to Mirabillis ICQ? How come it is not on the list?
  • The grammar nazi is going to teach you friendly Slashdot readers a new word today:

    oligopoly:
    a market situation in which each of a few producers affects but does not control the market

    Now I will use this new word in a sentence:

    All of the friendly internet service providers showed the power of an
    oligopoly by creating IMUnified.

  • Does anyone know of an affiliation between Lotus and AOL. At work we use a program called sametime connect [sametime.com]. It is interesting that I am able to login to my AIM account using that. (It is fully supported). However the battle between MSN messanger and AOL seemed to last forever. Why is AOL picking and choosing who it lets into its system? I am all for the new protocol. I would love to be able to chat with all of my friends that use AOL, or AIM, or any other messanging client for that matter. When I want to chat with certain friends I have to have a certain client open. At times I have yahoo messanger, ICQ, AIM, MSN Messanger all open at the same time.. Which seems like a waste of resources to me.
  • First off, AOL and ICQ can work together (in theory). The way I see it all AOL has to do is make it so you can change the display name in your buddy list (like icq can do basically -- you can change the display name from their nick name in icq to whatever you want), just have their actual screenames be their ICQ#s. On the ICQ side, some code monkey at aol or icq cranks out a hack to run down the database of screenames and assign them each a UIN with their default nickname being their screename, wouldn't be too hard to code I don't think. Also, ICQ support is also being built into AIM now -- try signing on to AIM using your ICQ#/Password -- it works! And you can talk to people on ICQ (although they see html tags which aim uses for formatting, but you can message them). Only problem is that they haven't made an ICQAIM protocol gateway yet -- you can't talk to people who have AIM while your signed on with your ICQ# on AIM.

    Also, these numbers about AIM having more people than ICQ are not very reliable if they are going by the number of registered screenames vs. the number of registered ICQ UINs. I only know one person who has more than one ICQ#, but I know quite a few people have have more than five screenames. Somehow I think this could throw the numbers off.

    Sometimes you by Force overwhelmed are.
  • Why ditch the other protcol modules when you could easily just make a module for IMUnified and maintain compatibility with current protocols? This is what Jabber is all about.

    Sometimes you by Force overwhelmed are.
  • Jabber [jabber.org] also does this, but with one big difference: Support for "foreign" IM protocols is handled through "transport" processes on the server side. Jabber clients only need to know how to speak the Jabber protocol. If AOL changes its protocol, or if a new IM protocol crops up, the server administrator can install the new and/or updated transports on the server, and the clients can use them immediately with no client-side downloads.

    Eric
    --

  • > AOL will never join one of these groups

    Actually, they seem to have partially joined ICQ to AIM at some point. Why else can I log into AIM, which I just started using recently, using my ICQ uin/password? I think a better way to say it is they'll never join them in a way that doesn't help them.

    bash: ispell: command not found
  • Come on guys, this is retarded. AOL has their own proposed solution [aol.com] which allows different companies to run their own instant messaging services (AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.) and for users of each service to be able to send messages to users of the other services. It's a very simple concept that works on an extention of the DNS system.

    Take your current screen name, and add an @ and the service's domain name - for example, AIM user Foo becomes Foo@aol.com, while Yahoo! Messenger user Foo becomes Foo@yahoo.com (notice, different namespace = no conflict). Each user authenticates themself via their own service (MSN Messenger users give Microsoft their MSN Messenger lusername and password, not an AOL screen name and password), so you don't have a big inter-company security nightmare.

    Each company sets up servers to relay IM messages and other information (such as whether a particular user is online) between their own service and other services. Each company then adds IMX records to their DNS zone file - Instant Messaging eXchange servers, used to relay IMs similar to the way MX records specify SMTP servers to relay mail for a particular domain. These relay servers authenticate each other based entirely on this DNS information, using a callback mechanism (server im.foo.com finds that im.bar.com is the IM exchange server for bar.com and sends a greeting, then im.bar.com checks to see that im.foo.com is the IMX for foo.com and sends a reply, then im.foo.com sends a final message indicating that the authentication has been completed). This way, anybody can set up an IM service and interoperate with all the other services, without having to register themselves with any centralized body - all they need is a domain name, which everyone has anyway.

    It's been awhile since I read the spec, but that's the basic gist of it. Sounds good to me, and it's been submitted to the IETF, so I don't see why people are still pissed off at AOL. Remember, AOL came up with this themselves, voluntarily. Besides, as far as I know, they haven't done anything to try to prevent people from using other services. People just use AIM because AIM is better than the alternatives - either for technical reasons, or just because everyone else uses it.

    --

  • I personally have about 12 ICQ accounts by now - I generate a new one whenever their servers deadlock about my account for 12 hours because I'm logged out/on too often. My girlfriend had five accounts last time I checked, most of my friends have at least three. My mom has two, my grandmother has two.

    As a matter of fact, I don't know anyone personally who has just _1_ ICQ account. Probably since if you have to reinstall ICQ you are screwed anyways - you don't have any of your contacts since ICQ is a client-based trust protocol, althought they can see you. At least with a new account you:
    -don't have to remember a password
    -don't have old people you removed from your list still seeing your presence online (and IP address).

    As far as AOL submitting their open architecture design, it was horribly incomplete and more importantly - not implemented. AOL has had exactly zero percent participation in the IETF process, and basically submitted a quick draft proposal to help their Time-Warner merger case with the FCC. It met (by my estimates) about 50% of the IETF working group's requirements for a protocol, and would never be supported anyways because it only describes inter-server communication; no client communication.
  • Actually, MS is one of the *BETTER* players in the IM world. They publish their protocol spec, and ENCOURAGE people to write for it, to the extend of giving their blessing for anyone to *WRITE THEIR OWN SERVER* implementing the protocol.

    It is a good thing (wow, that's scary) that they're involved in this.
  • ndpatel touches on two aspects of why I ditched AOL after six years of (mostly) satisfied membership. AOL shows no signs of going to an ad-supported service in the States even though AOL Europe stopped charging subscription. Considering the ad saturation they achieve -- it seems like every window and dialog box has a banner in it -- and the competition from ad-based free ISPs, I'm surprised AOL hasn't taken the plunge and gone free.Also, I still chat with people I know on AOL, but I detest having ICQ *and* AIM on my box. It just seems like overkill. (And worse yet, I've been thinking about mIRC too...stop me before I kill again...)
  • Well, I've created something similar. AIMIRC [zevils.com], a way to use AOL Instant Messenger via IRC.
  • AOL bought Mirabilis, so I'd assume that ICQ won't support IMUnified unless AOL as a whole changes policy.
  • MP3s were very popular before AOL bought WinAmp, you know.
  • No, the fact that their software is preinstalled doesn't make you a _user_. You have to actually establish an account and give them a credit card to gain that designation. What does inflate their numbers is the product of two facts:
    1. Every AOL account includes seven screen names, which you can use even if there are fewer than seven people in your household.
    2. You can amass as many AIM screen names as you want, and they never expire. I presently use two, but am credited with having five when I search their member directory with all three of my (past and present) e-mail addresses. The three that I don't use have never been logged into for over a year. I have known friends who have gone through 10 or 15 screen names, informing only their friends of their newest name so as not to be bothered by the idiots they left behind. (And let's not forget the spammers who register hundreds of thousands of ICQ accounts to send out porn site URL's.)
    Eventually, AOL/AIM will claim more active members than the total userbase of the Internet.
  • ....coz they're the underdogs, just like they got themselves into that lame auction consortium with Yahoo et al when they all individually had zero impact on eBaY's market share.

    The next step - assuming anyone cares if it is worth fighting over (there is no direct revenue stream) a Microsoft IM client will be installed as part of the WinME desktop, and with any upgrade of any MS product (just like IE is now) and will offer to replace AIM/ICQ for you.

    The rest of the players are an irrelevancy.

  • If they did it right, then you would be able to ... say, invisible|ignore to *@aim. Of course odds are that however they do it, it won't be the right way

    --
  • In my quest to see encryption used everywhere.. Don't forget that ICQ logs have been used in court before, and will be used in court in the future.

    So, I'm not against encryption in them. (Though Kerberos is a funky choice for this, I'm trying to imagine a KDC for tens of millions of users, and failing. :)

    --
  • Jabber may be open, and it may be a step in the correct direction (each domain runs their own service, which scales a heck of a lot better to the global Internet), but it's really, really icky on the inside.

    XML is a bad choice for protocol messages. The use of XML carries far too much baggage for a lightweight/automated implementation. I've been thinking for some time about how a good Internet-wide IM system could be used not just to send silly chat messages back and forth, but also to be a method for client-server interaction. The XML message format requires each piece of software to contain an XML parser and also (from what I've seen) limits the kinds of data you can send back and forth. Why not do what HTTP does -- not care about the content, just specify a header format and let arbitrarily formatted data be attached?

    In addition, Jabber makes the unfortunate choice of not wanting anything to do with crypto on the protocol level; instead, it wants client folk to slap OpenPGP on top of it. This is another bad decision in two ways:

    • No cryptographic way of proving to a server that a person who is requesting status (online/offline/etc) information is who they say they are.
    • OpenPGP is designed for messages where there is no handshaking involved, and it generates and exchanges a new secret key for each message. If a long-lived conversation will be taking place, then only one secret key needs to be generated and exchanged in the session. Much more efficient.

    That said, it's probably the best we've got right now, and in their favor, the Jabber folk have worked on this for a long time. I do respect them and their efforts (it's a rare open source project that is built to be more than just a copycat of some other software). I'm just not sure what they've come up with is what we need.

  • I guess they finally figured out that if all the clients could talk to each other, it'd be better for everybody. Well, every one of the players listed there anyway.

    I mean really, between what all those people offer, there is a client type that can make anybody happy (unless you like ICQ's bloat anyway). Now if they could all talk to each other, that'd be even better, I could choose a client based on how well it works instead of which network has more of my friends on it.

    AOL has no real interest right now because they have a monopoly to protect, however if this takes off (and as soon as they have it working I'm going to switch over to it, I really really hate AIM and ICQ) then we can end up with two big incompatable networks, oh joy.

    Well, maybe somebody on the IMUnified side can make a client that doesn't suck, lord knows ICQ hasn't been able to do that since version 2.
  • None of these companies really want any competition. As much as unity sounds noble I seriously doubt it's the driving motivation.

    If I understand it correctly, both the MSN and Yahoo instant messanging protocols had to be reverse engineered. If they wanted people to write competing clients the obvious thing to do is make the protocol public domain.

    In the instant messanging world having an established user base is like having a sort of standard. Right now AOL has that and so for these companies it's time to gang up on AOL. But think for a moment... If microsoft was in AOL's position how can you be sure they'd care about Unity and interoperability?

    And when these companies make their own standard protocol, what then? How do they plan on making money? No one pays for an instant messenging client because you can get AOL for free.

    Are they going to sell server software? I would actually respect them if that was there plan.--especially if they made a GPL server that ran on LINUX ;)-- However, I doubt they intend to because: 1) I don't recall that Yahoo has any history of selling software. 2) The companies on the list that do sell software have never sold IM software.

    The only other conclusion that I can think of is that they plan to continue with their current business model of selling adds. AT&T I can picture as being interesting in a standard protocol for embedded devices and cell phones etc. But the others are going to sell adds.

    There are two things you don't want to happen when you start selling adds. 1) You don't want people to switch to another provider. This makes me not expect to see Yahoo selling Instant Messenging servers that will compete with them. 2) You don't want people to figure out how to block your adds. This makes me think that yahoo does not want you to make your own client.

    Writing this I think I begin to realise how this will be done. There are ways that blocking rogue servers and clients can be done. It will be called "Security." MSN will be interoperable with Yahoo because Yahoo will lease the bandwith and cpu cycles that it's clients will use on the MSN mainfraims. People without leases will not be welcome. This will be called "Unity."

    Welcome to your bright tomorrow.

    [Disclaimer] I plan to continue my computer science education and perhaps learn enough to program jabber applications some time in the future.

  • Nothing is simpler than writing a jabber client. A jabber programmer only has to deal with one unified protocol. I wrote a little bash script jabber client using netcat. It was crappy and I never botherred about parsing the return messages. But i could still add people to my roster, take people off, check who was on my roster, talk to people on the icq network. So I thought it was pretty decent for just a couple hours of tooling around.

    You could do what you are talking about with PGP pretty easilly with jabber too. The problem is that no one has done it yet. Probably a dozen different clients out there wouldn't mind canabalizing your code if you made the first jabber client that supported PGP.

    The other problem is that none of the other protocols are advanced enough to be able to handle fairly complex stuff like that.

    Jabber transport programmers face the same problem elsewhere as well. AIM for example does not support offline message storage. With MSN you can send little messages that say, "Fred has recieved your message and is composing a reply." but with ICQ you can't do that.

    But I say go ahead and program the PGP enabled jabber client. Thousands of users will love you for it. :)

  • Personally, I never got into the IM thing. I always preferred e-mail or USENET or other forums for real discussions, since you can mull over what you're going to say first. What really seems odd to me is when people in the same town IM each other, instead of making a telephone call--it's much better to actually hear someone's voice, and it beats the hell out of typing furiously to get the same WPM.

    But if you really have to communicate on-line in real time with someone--what's the matter with TALK? I miss it. People hardly use it any more, I guess because a shiny AIM interface is prettier than TALKing through telnet or whatever. Just never caught on with the non-geek and non-college-student crowd, I guess, especially with AIM out there. I pray for the day that AOL goes under, though I fear it'll never happen. "AOL: We're the Largest Censor on the Net, With Over 20 Million Subscribers Under Our Heel!"
  • Yes, AOL did submit an Open IM Design to IETF, but it just gives a high level discussion of what an IM protocol might be like; it doesn't say anything about how the AIM protocol currently works.

    And according to this article by ESR [linuxtoday.com], AOL released the AIM protocol, only to make changes to it once Microsoft began using it, in order to lock Microsoft out. So it doesn't seem like AOL really wants to be open with regards to IM.

    For a full discussion of AOL vs. the rest of the world (with regards to AIM), see this article [zdnet.com].


    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose that you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
  • Personally, I never got into the IM thing.

    Me either. Why would I want to talk to an AOLer?

    AOL's huge number of IM/ICQ users is probably phony, anyway. If you ever put an AOL disk into your computer, or bought a machine with AOL's client pre-installed, the stupid thing installs, and it's a bitch to remove completely.

  • I've always wondered why someone hasn't designed an licq type interface to IRC. The infrastructure is already there and the protcols and clients are already open.

    Why not just make a DCC CHAT ready client that works like the instant messaging clients?

  • Mmm yeah, encryption would rule for IM clients, totally, they're so insecure!

    Anyway though, I think the original post really was getting at the way that MS "embraced and extended" the kerberos spec itself, and they just mean that MS would do the same thing with the IM spec if one standard becomes prevalent. ie. they'd change it slightly in a way that meant they'd have an advantage. Which they would I bet too!

    sig:

  • How did this get modded as funny? I don't think it was meant to be, and I am pretty sure it is dead on what would happen if this IMUnified thing "worked".

    sig:

  • I'm not saying there isn't a strong anti-MS sentiment around here, but there's a pretty strong anti-AOL one too. I for one dislike each company equally (along with Apple, whose computers I use). I really think this is NOT a case where people would bash MS though if the shoe was on the other foot. I think everyone here is sort of struck by how unfair this whole case seems to be. Like when all the companies were tryin to get legislators to FORCE AOL to open their spec.. HUH? Imagine if you came up with some great product and it got so popular that some of your competitors lobbied politicians to force you to give away the one thing that let you keep control of it?

    And, any references to the MS anti-trust case are not valid here either, because MS weren't convicted of having a monopoly, they were convicted of using unfair business practices to quash competition unfairly. AOL haven't done any such thing, they've just created a product that everyone ended up using, for various reasons. It's a monopoly MAYBE, but monopolies are not illegal.

    sig:

  • Oh my god, you didn't even read my whole post, which said SO plainly: monopolies are not illegal, period. The part that is illegal is when they abuse the monopolies or engage in unfair business practices to gain or maintain a monopoly.

    Okay, so are you goin to ask what part is illegal now? Since last time you asked right after I explained it.

    sig:

  • CIS was always underpowered and overcharged (esp. in Europe). I jumped when they started playing games with email interconnect with various ISPs they didn't like.

    Well, there's always going to be someone dissatisfied. I paid 16DM, about 5 Pounds nowadays, if you're British a month. Didn't seem so terrible to me. CIS was the place to go for technical info in easily accessible format as far as I was concerned, and the place to pass on my experience to others. It was one of the originators and leaders in this whole business. And even you might be prepared to agree that AOL's treatment of CIS users was crass in the extreme, if you were still around to experience it. I never had any problem with emails, btw

  • XML is a bad choice for protocol messages. The use of XML carries far too much baggage for a lightweight/automated implementation.

    Not necessarily. XML parsers have now been implemented that are as small as 1.5K of code. And Jabber doesn't use full-blown XML with DTDs, automatic validation, and all that; it uses it for the sole purpose of creating a structured data stream.

    I've been thinking for some time about how a good Internet-wide IM system could be used not just to send silly chat messages back and forth, but also to be a method for client-server interaction.

    The Jabber protocol would be excellent for this purpose. We are exploring such possibilities as embedding XML-RPC or SOAP messages in Jabber to promote client-server interaction over the same stream you might use for two-way human-to-human communication. The existing Info/Query mechanism in Jabber already does this, to a certain extent.

    The XML message format requires each piece of software to contain an XML parser and also (from what I've seen) limits the kinds of data you can send back and forth. Why not do what HTTP does -- not care about the content, just specify a header format and let arbitrarily formatted data be attached?

    XML parsers are readily available, and, as I mentioned above, can be quite small. As for percveived "limitations" on data types, any text-format data can be expressed as XML and sent through a message extension. For binary data, we use the jabber:x:oob (out-of-band data) extension to pass HTTP URIs for data retrieval, which keeps the data from having to be sent if the receiving client does not support binary attachments.

    In addition, Jabber makes the unfortunate choice of not wanting anything to do with crypto on the protocol level; instead, it wants client folk to slap OpenPGP on top of it.

    First of all, Jabber already supports SSL connections (via the OpenSSL [openssl.org] library) for transparent transport-layer encryption. The only drawback here is that not many Jabber clients support SSL.

    That being said, I would like to see Jabber support crypto at a level in between the transport layer (SSL) and the end-user level (OpenPGP). But it's not going to be supported until it can be done right, as it's my belief that poorly-done crypto support is worse than no crypto at all. And I might also point out that competing protocols either use no encryption, or use something that's a total joke in terms of real security (e.g., ICQ). Then, too, there are US export regulations to consider (and we have very few non-US developers at this point that could mount any sort of Jabber crypto effort).

    Eric

    The preceding was my opinion only, and not the official opinions of Jabber.com Inc. [jabber.com] or The Jabber Project [jabber.org].
    --

  • by pgm ( 21287 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2000 @04:29AM (#905543) Homepage
    Excuse the existing CVS mess. I'm 100% to blame for it's current state :( WinJab has really grown and I'm still learning a lot about being in charge of an Open-Source project.. Its a steep learning curve, especially since I'm still trying to do my "real job" (tm).

    I added a readme.txt yesterday (July 25) to the winjab CVS module that should hopefully resolve the component issues. If you have other issues, please contact me directly via email (check the sourceforge site for the addy).

    I could _REALLY_ use the help and want to be as accomodating as possible.
  • by Dacta ( 24628 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @11:38PM (#905544)

    I downloaded the CVS version of WinJab a couple of days after it's release (About 16-July-2000). It wouldn't compile.

    You do expect a little bit of that with Delphi programs - missing components, etc, but this was crazy. I downloaded everthing I could find, and still it wouldn't compile. There was a whole set of XML stuff missing from CVS. God knows where to find that... (And yes, I registered the type library)

    I code Delphi for a living, so I'd hate to think how much trouble other people would be having.

    I left a message on SourceForge about it... now there are a whole lot complaining about that same thing [sourceforge.net], but no answers.

    I'm a little annoyed about this, because I had a look at the code, and I saw a lot of things I could have fixed for very little effort. (Eg, they are auto-creating all the forms in the project at application start-up. That's a bad thing to do, but pretty easy to fix.) I wanted to help, but I couldn't.

  • by kabir ( 35200 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @07:42PM (#905545)
    So let's see if my math here is good:

    IMUnified comes up with an open standard for instant messaging. Assuming a large enough user base recognizes this as a good thing (and they likely will as the next "upgrade" of Yahoo! IM will be both standards and backwards compatible) then the worry about getting messages to my cohorts (each of whom use different services) dissapears... but what else happens?

    Well, if there is a single (or, almost single) standard for IM then writing a client that's useful becomes a much easier task. Having, say, a client which knows how to do MIME would be useful in a nubmer of ways, not the least of which is that PGPMIME is a handy way (and one of many) to move around encrypted dated with arbitrary encapsulation (in this case the IM standard protocol). Suddenly a secure IM platform is available with only a few days coding time, and if the poor sod on the other end of my message doesn't know how to interpret PGPMIME (or whatever else I use) all he gets is a nice ASCII block which is conviently labeled, oh, I don't know, "PGP Encrypted Message"...

    hmmmm, I think I like where this is going.
    --
  • by Zigg ( 64962 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2000 @10:30AM (#905546)

    Thanks for the response, Eric. I was beginning to wonder if I'd gotten swallowed up in the flood of crap that's been posted to all the stories lately. One of these days I'm going to relocate to Advogato [advogato.org] and stay there. :-/

    XML parsers are readily available, and, as I mentioned above, can be quite small. As for percveived "limitations" on data types, any text-format data can be expressed as XML and sent through a message extension. For binary data, we use the jabber:x:oob (out-of-band data) extension to pass HTTP URIs for data retrieval, which keeps the data from having to be sent if the receiving client does not support binary attachments.

    I'm not so sure that I'm comfortable with that. I know that with XML's namespace support, you can easily push XML-based formats inside of one another, but that strategy requires (AFAICT) anything that's not expressible in XML to be sent OOB. The OOB mechanism also would therefore require additional protocol support within the client, beefing its code up just a little more. If I'm understanding it correctly, it also offers a security risk where a sniffer could grab his own copy of the OOB file.

    I would instead implement an inband message send/ack/reject strategy for short messages; and for larger messages or files, an offer/accept/reject message strategy that could transfer content either on the same channel (blocking further messages) or another channel, but without the overhead of additional transfer protocols.

    First of all, Jabber already supports SSL connections (via the OpenSSL library) for transparent transport-layer encryption. The only drawback here is that not many Jabber clients support SSL.

    This is cool, but it is not the be-all and end-all. I've been over the protocol on a few occasions in the past and I just recently looked at the whitepaper. I don't believe this addresses the issue of how a client attached to one server can authenticate itself to another server to the point of being able to subscribe to presence changes of a user of the latter server. If you had even a simple DSA implementation, you could have the user of the latter server say "I'll accept requests from this public key, this public key, etc." and authenticate based on that.

    But it's not going to be supported until it can be done right, as it's my belief that poorly-done crypto support is worse than no crypto at all.

    I admire you for taking this stand.

    And I might also point out that competing protocols either use no encryption, or use something that's a total joke in terms of real security (e.g., ICQ).

    This is a fault of those protocols, and something that needs to be corrected by competing proposals. I respectfully submit that it is not an excuse to not implement cryptographic security and authentication. US policy is a pretty darned good excuse, on the other hand. :-/

  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @07:53PM (#905547) Homepage Journal
    According to ICQ's homepage [icq.com] they currently have over 72 million users. Last month C| Net claimed thatt AIM has 91 million users [cnet.com] which may have changed since ICQ had 62 million at the time. All AOL has to do is make ICQ and AIM interoperate and any move by the remaining companies whose combined userbase dwarfs AIM's or ICQ's will be a waste of time.

    Frankly I don't understand why people still hassle AOL, didn't they submit their Open IM Architecture Design [aol.com] to the IETF?

  • by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @11:17PM (#905548)
    I don't see any IM software (or protocol) surviving unless it can give me the following, which AIM does:

    • Smiley face bitmaps
    • News, stock, weather, sports, gardening, internet, and entertainment tickers which are, by, default, all turned on, increasing the space of the GUI to 50% of the screen.
    • Everytime I open the program, I should be able to receive an offer to try AOL. The length of the time trial should increase exponentially, so that in 2001 all time trials are written in scientific notation.

    Otherwise, ladies and gentlemen, this will fail.

  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @08:24PM (#905549) Homepage
    But you can bed AOL will never join. AOL controlls the biggest names in IM: ICQ and AIM (which is really only so big because it is forced on all AOL users). But ICQ and AIM can't even communicate with eachother!

    Also, I really do hope that this new network supports what Licq (the most used Linux ICQ client) has supported for a while: encrypted messages. If one person using Licq sends a message to another, the message is encrypted (if you turn the feature on). This functionality is ESSENTIAL to the growth of IM if it is ever to be used for business use (as their site suggests it will be).
  • by Pinball Wizard ( 161942 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @10:08PM (#905550) Homepage Journal
    I have a strong feeling that MS is the main player in this coalition. Take a look at the press release. #1, its from Waggener Edstrom, MS' PR firm. #2, scroll down to the bottom and read the disclaimer.

    After all, they were going against AOL head to head for a while by making MSN Messenger compatible with AIM and then they just gave up. How un-Microsoft like, it seemed back then.

    So now they engineer this coalition(with the proper IETF backing of course) and they've got a real battle plan again. Obviously they haven't given up.

    I wonder if messaging clients are something that could be complex enough that you'd get that software rivalry like there was between Netscape and IE. Does anyone care about the quality of their messaging client?

  • by davstok ( 211948 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @08:36PM (#905551)

    they deserve to be as big as they are for helping the masses

    Tell that to the (ex-)Compuserve users. AOL took over a great service, removed all the interesting technical forums which made it what it was, and foisted their stupid mass oriented childishness on the few diehards remaining.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @07:27PM (#905552)
    And less than a year after they bring AOL in line we'll see our first story about Micorsoft kerebosing up the new protocol.

    You've read about these things in history class, kids. Now you can see it as it happens.

    --
  • by zatz ( 37585 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @10:04PM (#905553) Homepage

    AIM and ICQ work fine... I'm not getting charged for them... there are clients for lots of platforms... so who cares about making a standard to interoperate with them? Only people that see a "market" and wish they were part of it.

    I really can't bring myself to care until the technology improves. When someone invents the fully distributed datagram-only version with automatic encryption and message signing and no central point of failure, I will be the first to sign up. (I've been muttering about doing that to IRC for years, I suppose I should sit down and code something--except I hate writing GUIs, and that is the part most people would notice.) Until then, unless AOL is doing something weird with my messages, or tries to extract a fee from me, what difference does it make that Micros~1 and whoever else can't join the party?

    As long as we are going to make a "standard", lets redo the protocol from the ground up and fix all the flaws... and yes, I've seen the IETF draft standard, I think its fugly. Publishing standards for the existing tools would be nice, but what right has anyone to force AOL to open their protocols? Personally I don't see anything sinister in AOL acquiring Mirabilis and Nullsoft and Netscape... they just want to make sure those tools continue to exist, if only so that the value of the Internet experience of their own customers is improved.

    Or does someone have evidence to the contrary?

  • by ptbrown ( 79745 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @08:50PM (#905554)

    What these companies want is to wrest the eyes and clicks of the countless AIM users into using their advertising supported clients. The "open" here is a misnomer that only means "interoperable" which is far from the same thing. It doesn't matter that the huge, dominating overlord is made up of a number of seperate organizations, it's still a huge, dominating overlord. The word for this type of union is "cartel." If you want a real open standard for messaging, you want Jabber [jabber.org]. Jabber is an open standard, it's open source, and most importantly, it just makes sense. There are many reasons why it's better than the current adware messengers, but the best reason is that Jabber is a decentralized network. There's no single, monolithic entity that you must rely on to supply your connectivity. In other words, Jabber is built on the same model of the internet itself.

    So download Jabber, but don't sign up at jabber.(org|com). No, instead you should start your own server (if you're able), or encourage your ISP to set up a local server. I mean, what would you rather be known as, "foo82351@jabber.com", or "yourname@yourhost.net".

  • by rockwall ( 213803 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @07:37PM (#905555)
    Is it such a huge problem that clients generally aren't interoperable? Now, as much of a proponent of interoperability as I am (check my bio :)) I am not convinced that this is an area where it's a worthy goal to strive for.

    AOL, essentially, owns the instant communication market. Instant Messenger has some 70 million users (or so they say) and I think we're seeing ICQ #'s in about the same range. I can't really blame them for being absent here. (Before you start blaming them for embracing and extending protocols, or closing out markets, please consider the evidence. Although AOL-Time-Warner is a frightening market giant, they have not done anything to illegally or unethically corner the instant messenging market.) Anyway, my point is, the odds are very, very good that anyone you might want to reach will use one of those two services. (And with ICQ's excellent cross-platform support, there's no excuse for them not to).

    Additionally, AOL and ICQ (both owned, though not created, by the same company) use radically different, fundamentally dissimilar naming conventions. When you start introducing others into the fray, a unified protocol or client could easily become a hindrance or lead to complications.

    AOL has more-or-less earned (or acquired) the instant messenging market. When something better comes out, I have no doubt that it will take the place of AIM or ICQ. Until then, though, incompatible standards shouldn't be foisted upon them.

    yours,
    john
  • by Temas ( 30015 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @08:42PM (#905556) Homepage
    The protocol that we have implemented in the Jabber system, is designed just for this task, to bridge the current, and future IM services. We currently bridge to AIM, ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN, IRC, and others are in the works, along with other networks working on bridging into ours. What's even better is we are already completely open and free.

    I would highly encourage you to visit our site Jabber.org [jabber.org] for all your development needs, and Jabbercentral [jabbercentral.com] for your end user related needs. Even more so we encourage you to download our server and seutp your own system, because we are similar in idea to how email works, anyone can run a server and talk with all the currently existing Jabber servers.

    With ~20,000 users between just the public jabber.org and jabber.com servers we're growing extremely fast, and we hope that others will take part in our growth.

    --Temas
    Jabber ROCKS!

  • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @07:36PM (#905557)
    IM clients benefit from a huge network effect. The value of them increases as you get more users. (This throws a lot of economic paradigms out the window, but IM is "free" so it's hard to apply them).

    AOL owns the two largest IM networks, AIM/AOL and ICQ. This system is an obvious one. Why, the rest of the players are tiny. If they merge and can grow, they can become significant. They need to count on users switching to the "standard" so that they can force AOL to play (after which, Microsoft takes over the non-AOL user market).

    However, AOL still hasn't (to my knowledge, I mostly use AIM as my friends have all switched from ICQ) gotten ICQ and AIM to play nicely.

    Now, if AOL feels any threat, then they merge the top two messaging clients and get even bigger network effects. Right now, AOL doesn't find it critical... they just don't put effort into ICQ and let everyone drift to AIM. If they needed two, they'd merge the databases.

    AOL will never join one of these groups. These groups won't make a dent, as Instant Messenger/ICQ dominate the market. It would be suicide to work with this group. Who would download the AOL client if the Microsoft one shipped with Windows and was equivalent (good enough)...

    Remember Netscape? AOL is too smart for this.

    Alex

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