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America Online

Official AIM for Linux 299

topdown writes "I just noticed that AOL released Instant Messenger Beta for Linux (rpm format for RedHat, SuSE, and Mandrake). Don't know about you, but I'll be sticking with gaim for now." Wow, this is fantastic news. Way to be on the cutting edge, AOL. Sorry, but this release doesn't even warrant a copy of our home game. I still don't forgive you for using the Jetsons theme music in your commercials.
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Official AIM for Linux

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  • by Zelxyb ( 217422 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:47AM (#866393) Homepage Journal
    You're telling me that AOL is sucking? I don't believe that for a minute.
  • Any idea if it uses the all-too-comon "getting away message" message to IM someone just to see how they said they aren't around?

    I found that all too anoying and I misunderstood it initially to mean that the other person was telling me automagically that they were going off-line...
  • Binary only?

    Does it use OSCAR or TOC?

    I wish they would've worked with an existing project instead of spinning their own half-ass version. Those screenshots don't look all that impressive.

  • by Kid Zero ( 4866 )
    I've never even used AIM period.
  • I'll try it, but AOL's version for windows doesn't even have some of the features that I treasure under linux such as buddy pounce and individual sounds for everyone who logs on. Of course, I might grab it just so I can transfer files over it.

  • by rkent ( 73434 ) <rkentNO@SPAMpost.harvard.edu> on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:48AM (#866398)
    Why fiddle around with one chat protocol at a time? I'll take Everybuddy [everybuddy.com] any day. Even over the new AOL client, btw, but I guess I might download it to check it out.
  • nice to see them (i don't like aol) supporting linux...eh?
  • by freebe ( 174010 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:49AM (#866400) Homepage
    It's annoying to see XYZ for Linux! when it's really Linux/x86. Years ago, people came up with the word Wintel to describe Windows on Intel. Perhaps we should coin Linux86 to describe Linux on x86 so people understand what platform of Linux you're talking about. Remember - you heard it here first!
  • What advantage does AIM have over ICQ, other than the fact that it's used by millions of AOL users (no comment on that one :)?

    Wasn't some group working on a unified messaging protocol? Is any progress being made on that front? The last thing I want to mess with is having multiple messaging apps on my desktop.

  • After managing to get Jabber working, from jabber.org [jabber.org], anything less is a major step back. ICQ is the only system that comes close... and only on windows, at that, becuase GnomeICU and other clients still don't have full functionality.

    Of course, OpenProjectsNet on IRC is still my favourite place to chat (my nick is talon, say hi if you see me).
  • They must have realized how many add impressions they could regain by putting out a linux version!

    Personally, I prefer everybuddy, which offers some cool features my windows friends with the official AIM wish they had (like "Joe Schmoe" showing up rather than joeylooser3456.)

  • RPM only? Just like my damn Voodoo drivers! I have to use rpm2tgz, and then I end up with 500 files scattered across my filesystem!!! I love it!!!
  • by Eharley ( 214725 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:51AM (#866405)
    I wonder if AOL is releasing a version of AIM for Linux so that AIM will gain more support, and thus displace the AT&T, Excite@Home, iCAST, MSN, Odigo, Phone.com, Prodigy, Tribal Voice, and Yahoo! from getting their "open" IM standard adopted.
  • but this release doesn't even warrant a copy of our home game.
    You've got to at least give them credit for trying. And although I can't believe it myself, I don't see any built-in advertisements (or even space for them) in the screenshots.

  • If this is as good as their Linux (read: Java) version of ICQ, I'll be sticking with Yahoo Messenger [yahoo.com], thank you very much.
  • I agree -- I'm sticking with GAIM now. On the other hand, it's a good start, and seems to be Gtk based . . .

    Now if they'll work on an ICQ client for Linux . . . or either actively contribute to the development of a clone like GnomeICU.

    On that note, wonder why they didn't contribute to GAIM? It's not like they haven't released the TOC specs . . .


  • One wonders what the licensing fee was for that was!
    ; )
  • Actually, AOL has been rather good to linux lately. They haven't been anal about gaim, even when gaim started supporting oscar. (You think that they'd be a bit miffed since gaim doesn't support ads)

    Then there's the aolserver, whatever the advantages of that over apache I haven't a clue.

    AOL for Linux might sound like the end of the world, but really, it would set some sort of precident for the software industry. AOL is doing it, why aren't we?

    I still wouldn't use it myself, but I know a few people who might give Linux a shot if they could use AOL under Linux.
  • Well, the install file is only 540K, which is a lot smaller than the 2.0-2.4M for other platforms. Of course, this is a beta version, so it's likely low on features as well as bloat.
  • The problem I see here is that most of AIM's Linux clones are both open sourced and of at least questionable legality.

    Of all the companies out there, AOL seems most likely to work with an open source program, particularly given their connection to a number of open source projects like Mozilla, but it still raises a lot of issues regarding their technology they may not like to get into.

    Still, even though it may not be as impressive as gaim or some other AIM clones out there for Linux, it's never a bad thing, IMO, when a company at least makes an effort to support the system. It may never be as nice as the alternatives, but that doesn't make it a bad thing by any means.

  • Lintel?
  • our friend here is speaking of GAIM [marko.net]. It has GREAT gnome panel support, cool/friendly/responsive programmers, and plugin support. I'm going to try AOL's AIM, but I doubt it'll be as good.

    BTW - i'm still interested in getting a "call-screening" plugin going for GAIM, which would basically give an away message to anyone except for the people on your list of exceptions. Kind of like for when you wanna be on GAIM, but don't want to be mean to everyone and ignore them. Some will get an away message, while your best buds will get through and you can talk to them! Like it?

    Mike Roberto
    - GAIM: MicroBerto

  • Internet Relay Chat is a much better-designed chatting and instant-chatting protocol than all these instant messegers (ICQ/AIM/etc.).
    Long Live IRC!
  • by gwernol ( 167574 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:54AM (#866417)

    It's annoying to see XYZ for Linux! when it's really Linux/x86. Years ago, people came up with the word Wintel to describe Windows on Intel. Perhaps we should coin Linux86 to describe Linux on x86 so people understand what platform of Linux you're talking about. Remember - you heard it here first!

    Surely it should be Lintel. After all, a lintel is that piece of architecture that goes above your Windows.

  • by larz ( 23116 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:55AM (#866421)
    Jabber [jabber.org] is has a functioning and robust XML-based independent instant messaging protocol. It interoperates with AIM, ICQ and other IM systems. Clients are currently much more functional than AOL's linux beta. There's a good list of clients and user info at Jabber Central [jabbercentral.com].
  • So the new name for the Linux version is, what, LAIM?

    People who use LAIM will be called LAIMers.

    And that one actor on Star Wars episode one will sue when AOL gets the domain name LAIM


    How are we clapping?
    I have no idea...
  • by Temporal ( 96070 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:56AM (#866425) Journal
    Perhaps we should coin Linux86 to describe Linux on x86 so people understand what platform of Linux you're talking about.

    Nah - All the Windows 9x people would think Linux86 was 14 years old.


  • by suwalski ( 176418 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:58AM (#866430)
    LICQ is a great ICQ program for, well, just about any UNIX-y platform. I for one, refuse to use an official client that doesn't have such features as ping flood and UIN spoofing. If AOL puts these in, maybe they'll get some ICQ converts. Otherwise, AIM is obviously inferior. =P
  • by Kiro ( 220724 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @10:58AM (#866434)
    Here are some open-source, free alternatives to AIM:

    GAIM [marko.net]
    GnomeICU [gdev.net]
    LICQ [licq.org]

    Considering what AOL did to Mozilla, you're probably better off with an open-source clone.


  • I don't see why emmett's so upset with it. he may not like AOL, but hey, it's a megacorp that officially released one of their little programs for that "other" operating system. Sure, it's not a "killer" app, but it's better than having to find some obscure-named-beta AIM client on freshmean for a Linux newbie who just converted from Windows.

    Now he/she doesn't have to reboot to windows to talk to their teeny-bopper friends.

    Now only if they had Photoshop and hundreds of other apps by the original company making it for Linux. Woohoo!
  • The problem I see here is that most of AIM's Linux clones are both open sourced and of at least questionable legality.

    What?!?!?! All the Linux AIM clients I know of use TOC [tufts.edu], which was designed by AOL specifically to allow third-party clients.

  • I know feeding the trolls is bad, but I have to respond to this.

    The whole Linux/BSD argument is fundamentally flawed. The real 'argument' (if you can call an obvious forgone conclusion an argument) is Windows/Unix.

    One more reason why Windows wins the argument is that it presents a unified product range to the user. It's Windows or Windows. The user doesn't have to debate the relative 'merits' of This Linux/That Linux/This BSD/That BSD/Other Unix. Never mind what each one is best for, Windows is a single product which is suitable for everything.

    And you wonder why it's so popular...
  • No. What I think he's trying to say is that the linux version is not to hot right now. after all, it's beta and it's not like linux is AOL's top priority right now. Personally, I really do think AOL sucks because it's only dialup and it has bad coustomer support. Also, they limit you and stick you with adds, which is very controlling. Kind of defeats the 'Net's purpose, if you ask me.
  • I heartily suggest that there be some company that goes out and buys a bunch of other hardware - Alphas, Suns, PPC's, 68ks, etc. and just compiles Linux software for a nominal fee on those architectures. Remember, you heard that here first, too...
  • Wow, this is fantastic news. Way to be on the cutting edge, AOL. Sorry, but this release doesn't even warrant a copy of our home game.

    If you're not impressed, then why are you posting this?

    Oh right, I get it, you're trying to beat all of the "this is slashdot, not freshmeat!" crowd to the punch, right?!? (Moderators: Just kidding!)

    Seriously though, if AOL is finally getting around to writing their own "official" client for Linux, then that's more Linux software out there, which is good in my book.

    Personally, I won't even be using GAIM; I'll be using Jabber [jabber.org] since I don't like the idea of *every* message I write being sent not only plaintext, but across AOL's servers - which gives them the legal right to read my message!

    Jabber supports SSL connections (at least on the server side, I haven't seen a client that supports it yet), so at some point I'll even be able to have my conversations encrypted! (Of course, I could just ssh into my friend's box and use talk locally...)


  • by joshwa ( 24288 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @11:01AM (#866447) Homepage Journal
    Oops. There is a Linux AIM project called LAIM [sourceforge.net]. Careful! :)
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @11:02AM (#866450)
    They don't "warrant a copy of our home game", but they do deserve to have a link to their press release posted on Slashdot?
  • We tried. It looks like they didn't want to. Offered to help as well and was rejected. Oh well. Heh.

    Rob Flynn
  • does anyone know what they used for development (what widget set)?

    Looks like GTK.

  • What advantage does AIM have over ICQ, other than the fact that it's used by millions of AOL users (no comment on that one :)?

    Well, I prefer AIM because the user interface is *so* much better. You don't have to keep clicking on all sorts of crap just to hold a conversation. The odd thing is that this has nothing to do with the protocol. ICQ clients could use the AIM interface, but for some reason every client I've seen takes after the horrable crappy original ICQ interface. Anyone know of one that doesn't?

    Wasn't some group working on a unified messaging protocol?

    There are several such efforts, but I think the one most likely to catch on is AOL's new open server-to-server protocol. It will unite the already existing services without requiring the users to get new software... well, maybe. AOL actually went through the whole RFC etc. process with this one, which is pretty cool.


  • GAIM doesn't do this if you are using the OSCAR protocol, check the latest version, its a checkbox in the connection tab of preferences. It can get the away msg w/o sending any IMs this way...
  • First of all, something isn't Linux compatible if it only runs on Intel hardware. I run Linux on an Intel box, but I know of people who run Linux on a Macintosh, and I may decide to move in that direction too. AOL will probably do something to deliberately break GAIM, and use as their justificiation that "we have AIM for Linux, so you shouldn't complain." And then the LinuxPPC users will be screwed.

    Second of all, I'm sure that they've added all sorts of stupid banner ads to the program, just like they did on the Windows version. I just don't want to be advertised to. That's reason enough to stick with GAIM, even if the official version had more features.

    Thirdly, a question. Do they distribute tarballs? Not everyone can use RPMs. Again, you really can't say that you've got a Linux-compatible piece of software if it comes in a package that isn't universally used.

    Stephen C. VanDahm
  • Actually, it just runs from an ext2 partition. You could have Linux/SPARC installed on that partition, though it would do you no good because it would have to be for x86 (FreeBe only works on x86).
  • Don't forget Everybuddy [everybuddy.com]. Make sure to get the latest CVS source -- it's a bit crash-prone but more feature-rich than the stable release.
  • Would you rather have AOL not deliver a linux client at all? Sure, there may be tons of clones out there for unix platforms, but at least AOL's heart is in the right place.
  • You know that, and I know that, but do millions of lusers know how to use IRC? :) It's kind of a good thing that most don't, but I've been noticing some declines in IRC usage lately. Instead, things like Yahoo Chat [yahoo.com] with its point-and-drool interface, and no AOL subscription required, are becoming the first chat experience for a lot of the newbies. I remember being a freshman in college, way way back in '93, learning how to use IRC. I'd been a BBSer for years before, but college was my first exposure to a "real" 'Net connection. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't mind the / commands, the syntax, or anything else. I've asked a few people why they don't use IRC, and msot say "it's too hard." Come on...with graphical clients, even the / commands aren't really necessary anymore! This kind of scares me...are we making computers "too" easy for people? Should people be required to know at least something before they dive right in?
  • they're working on it. there are comments here about it sucking - what do you expect for a test release? also, at least they're putting something usable out there. yes, i'll be sticking with gaim, *but*... at least they're developing for linux. and this is what we need. you say "too little too late" - they don't *have* to develop for linux, just like you don't have to use their software. all i want is software that doesn't suck - and if linux aim develops fast and overtakes gaim as an excellent, featurefull client, i'll use it.

    you must amputate to email me

  • Linux might boot in bochs... actually, what needs to be done is the UAE 68k emulator (used in Basilisk II) needs to be made a kernel module... and then everybody just compiles their apps for Linux/68k. Woohoo!
  • Actually, I think they are, at least a while ago they were:

    AOL Considers Linux? [slashdot.org]

    Who knows? I bet if they do bring out a handheld aol linux client they may just do it for regular linux.

    I'd personally love it if they did bring it out. It'd be a sad binary-only release, and, if they follow their current pattern there'd be no .debs, which sucks big time. But it would be one more step in bringing linux to the desktop.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards." - Marcin
  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @11:19AM (#866495) Homepage Journal
    Then there's the aolserver, whatever the advantages of that over apache I haven't a clue.

    Gotta stand up for my webserver of choice, here :)

    AOLserver is a full multi-threaded webserver that has a built-in TCL interpreter. It's easy to install, and the latest version (3.0) is wicked fast. It also excels at database connectivity.

    Due to it's threaded nature, and the pooling of DB connections, it tends to be faster than Apache in dynamically generated web sites. An Apache God could probably match AOLserver with careful tuning, so speed isn't really much of an issue.

    I just like AOLserver better than Apache, mainly due to the OpenACS guys [openacs.org] and the work they've done. Great out-of-the-box functionality (and, soon available for Apache as well).

    AOLserver 3.0 is also open-sourced (a true GPL, I believe). Be nice to those guys -- they did the right thing with AOLserver; maybe they'll do the same for AIM (errmmm.... maybe).

  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @11:21AM (#866500)
    What advantage does AIM have over ICQ, other than the fact that it's used by millions of AOL users (no comment on that one :)?

    Being able to talk to millions of people is a handy feature at times. Probably about 1/2 to 3/4 of my non-(computer)-geek friends are on AOL, and most of the rest use AIM; while maybe 2 use ICQ. Being able to chat with your friends & family is the whole point of messaging software. It's the old betamax vs VHS thing: one is technically superior while the other is incredibly popular.

    The main technical difference between the two protocols is that (IIRC) ICQ messages are delivered peer-to-peer, whereas AIM messages are all routed via their servers. This is a big security advantage because random lusers and script kiddies can't find out your IP address (unless you use the newer features like buddy icons, file x-fer, and voice chat).

    If you think that by using ICQ you arn't fuelling the AOL collective, guess again -- AOL assimilated ICQ years ago.

    The advantage of this, as I see it, is that it helps show the non-geek masses that Linux is a viable alternative to M$ Winblows. Say what you will about their (hideous) software or their (horrible) customer service -- they make getting online about as idiot-proof as is possible. If you have the hardware, a pulse, and one of their coasters, you can get on line.

    There are a lot of people need that kind of simplicity. Anyone who's ever worked tech support knows how confused the average windows luser gets when you try and walk them thru setting up dial-up networking and mail settings.

    "The axiom 'An honest man has nothing to fear from the police'

  • Uhh, wasn't Netscape making netscape for linux? Don't confuse corporate buyouts for who made what.
  • Personally, I won't even be using GAIM; I'll be using Jabber since I don't like the idea of *every* message I write being sent not only plaintext, but across AOL's servers - which gives them the legal right to read my message!

    Of course, you realize that despite your ssl connection to the jabber server, your message will still be plaintext as far as the server is concerned right? I mean, sure, nobody ELSE will be able to read it by sniffing your connection, but the server still can. (It has to! how else could it route your message?). Talk about false sense of security...

    Of course, if you instead mean pgp/gpg encryption, sure that'll work, but you don't need jabber to do it either.

    That said, I think jabber rocks and hope to see more people start using it instead of proprietary protocols.

  • >How are we clapping?
    >I have no idea...

    Gerry, fire up the "wall-minator!" :-)
  • Oh, if you wanna be like that, maybe people would realize that AIM has been on Linux for ages through Java... of course, people wouldn't know that if it hit them on the head...
  • Well, I prefer AIM because the user interface is *so* much better. You don't have to keep clicking on all sorts of crap just to hold a conversation.

    Odd, another of my friends made the same comment. Of course, this can go the other way too. I really don't like windows just popping out of midair interrupting me as I work. I realize that aim now has an away window that queue's messages, but it nevertheless takes up screen space. Also, I have no way of responding to just one person (or even pulling their message from the queue) without dropping my away status. It's a bit of a pain. Don't get me wrong, I see a benefit to BOTH interfaces, and would prefer if the clients used a mix between them. Say, if I have no chat window onscreen, it has to be "picked up" from the list to be read (configurable, of course). But if there is already a window, then it goes there. Also, just because I'm away doesn't mean I might not want to send a few messages anyway.

    The odd thing is that this has nothing to do with the protocol. ICQ clients could use the AIM interface, but for some reason every client I've seen takes after the horrable crappy original ICQ interface. Anyone know of one that doesn't?

    ICQ 2000 does this. <shudder> I realize icq's big and bloated and evil and.... but the feature is there. It's not enabled by default, but it shows up as an extra button on the recieved message box.


  • The advantage of AIM over ICQ is that if you know any non-computer literate individuals (read: non-geek girls),

    Yep. Big plus. Huge plus. I wouldn't have met my wife if it was not for AIM. She IMed me out of the blue one day about 2 years ago because the thought my profile was humerous. The rest is history :-)

    "The axiom 'An honest man has nothing to fear from the police'

  • Does that make the Mac version "MAIM"? It'd be fantasgreat if they had a Maim button in AIM. When Warn and Block don't do the trick, just press Maim to tear off an arm. Or maybe just bloody their Buddy Icon...
  • Give TiK [sourcefourge.net] a try. It works on all Linux/*NIX/BSD machines running tk/tcl.

    'nuff said. ;-)
  • Does that make the Mac version "MAIM"? It'd be fantasgreat if they had a Maim button in AIM. When Warn and Block don't do the trick, just press Maim to tear off an arm. Or maybe just bloody their Buddy Icon...

    Actually I've been longing for a Kick button, or maybe Punt. Ahh, if only they hadn't fixed the &#770; bug in AIM for Windows....


  • Why deal with all those protocols at all?

    Use Jabber [jabber.org]. It's an open protocol, and the server handles the ICQ/IM/MSN issues. Also, it has encryption and much better authentication than the other systems.

    I was an Everybuddy user, until I found Jabber -- this is _much_ better.

  • I heard a rumor that they were working on a Linux port of AOL 6.0, and that there had been an alpha release. I haven't been able to find any mention of this anywhere. Does anyone know anything about this?


  • Honestly, I'd never considered Mirabilis to be less annoying than AOL, so I've certainly not chosen clients based on the company's reputation.

    I guess I've always liked ICQ better because, well, it was there. AIM always was always bizarrely anti-elitist. The great unwashed masses were happily wallowing away, while technophiles used ICQ as the only viable option.

    Do you really suppose that your average AOLer will have a different opinion of *NIX just because an AIM client is available?

  • by Phroggy ( 441 )
    Bah! Hopefully they'll release a tarball for those of us who don't use RPMs. Or maybe someone could repackage it as a tarball?


  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @11:48AM (#866540) Homepage Journal
    The beef that AOL had with Yahoo, Microsoft, and Odigo wasn't just that they were allowing AIM customers in, but that other companies were slapping their OWN ads on these clients. Can you imagine how aggravating it would be if you built up a whole network for years at your own expense, and other people started making money off of it without your permission?

    GAIM, Everybuddy, TiK, et al don't have ads in them, so AOL doesn't consider them threats. The fact that they don't run out of the box on Windows or MacOS, the OS's that most of their customers use, makes them that much less of a threat.
  • You'd think that if they're really so interested in open source software (Mozilla anyone?) that they would be more interested in contributing to an established project like yours, that is already stable and mostly feature-complete, instead of hacking together this client . . .


  • Jabber supports SSL connections (at least on the server side, I haven't seen a client that supports it yet)

    The Latest Licq supports this in the client. Naturaly the ICQ servers don't, but since ICQ is more of a direct ip to ip protocol (although you can send through server if the other party is offline) it works. Of course, you can only use SSL between two Licq users, but it's a step.

  • I would just like to point out that they have not changed their protocol at all, and their RFC submission was not an actual protocol, but rather a broad and general architectural overview. Little has been done to be accepting of people still. Although there are small glimmers of light.

    Jabber ROCKS! [jabber.org]
  • I could, but why? With some minor irratating exceptions (this being one of them) all linux software is distributed as a tarball. If you want to support the more esoteric packaging formats, fine, but support the universal, accepted one first.

    That, and unless you have ALL your libraries and such installed with RPM to begin with (something you don't have unless your distro is RH or one of it's children) it's pretty much useless. It's not smart enough to check dependencies outside of it's little RPM database.

  • patrick bumped up the numbers because of all the soon-to-be-linux-users asking why he was only on 4 when companies like red hat and mandrake were close to 7. since slackware was the first linux distro (before that you had to get everything on your own), you can really blame the "money distros" for screwing up the numbers.
  • What advantage does AIM have over ICQ, other than the fact that it's used by millions of AOL users (no comment on that one :)?

    I never really got into ICQ. I started using AIM instead because I know many people who use AIM or AOL, and very few people who use ICQ, and I have yet to meet someone I want to talk to who uses ICQ and doesn't also use AIM. So yes, those millions of users really are a good reason. Well, some of the millions anyway.

    I've heard about a LOT of security issues with ICQ. Everything's client-to-client, so you can get everyone's IP address. With AIM, messages are send client-to-server, so there's no way for someone to get your IP address if you don't want them to have it. They recently added file transfers, voice chats and IM images, which are all client-to-client, but it asks you before accepting a connection, so if you don't want them getting your IP, you can just say no.

    Wasn't some group working on a unified messaging protocol? Is any progress being made on that front? The last thing I want to mess with is having multiple messaging apps on my desktop.

    AOL actually submitted a proposal for how to send IMs back and forth between different providers (AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, AT&T, etc.). I look forward to seeing it implemented; their proposal seems sound. Of course, everyone seems to see AOL as a bully in this issue, but really, what have they actually done that they shouldn't have? I won't say I particularly like them (and the AOL service itself certainly sucks), but I have to defend them on this.


  • That's right, now you too can run AOL from your Linux box! AOL 6.0, which current AOL users may beta test, will include both Windows NT (I'm sure after the millionth person called in and asked "why won't AOL work now that I've installed Windows 2000?" they decided they'd better add it) and Linux versions. I've installed the Win2k version on my little brother's windows partition, but haven't had a chance to try out the Linux version yet. The reasoning, of course, is that if AOL is going to release those Transmeta/Linux based web appliances, they'd better have a working Linux version of AOL to ship them with.
  • As far as i can tell, the only difference between the two is that one has adds, and the other doesn't.

    Did you look at the page? The AIM Linux client currently does not show ads.
  • by Erbo ( 384 )
    This is true, JabberIM (the client distributed by Jabber.com [jabber.com]) does not have source available at this time. However, there is another Windows client, WinJab [sourceforge.net], which is available as Open Source and has more features besides. The "official" Linux client at the moment is Gabber [sourceforge.net], which is also Open Source. Other client projects also exist.


  • LICQ does have some keyboard shortcuts. Of course, you have to get it in focus. Windows versions of ICQ are nice in that the scope of the keyboard shortcuts are global.

    ICQ2000a has moved more towards the AOL 'one window per conversation' model. I still like the normal ICQ interface. If I have 13 conversations, i don't need all the windows open at once.
  • by Erbo ( 384 )
    Jabber also has support for communicating with users on other IM networks (currently AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, and MSN are supported, as well as IRC). Unlike EveryBuddy, which has all the IM protocols implemented in the client, Jabber uses "transports" installed on the server to communicate with the foreign IM network. That way, when AOL changes their protocol, or when some new IM system shows up, the server admin can install a new or updated transport on the server, and it is immediately usable by all the clients, with no client-side updates required.

    Jabber's own protocol is based on streaming XML, meaning that the protocol can be used for more than just simple IM. Look for new and exciting developments along these lines, coming soon.


  • Absolutely, and we have transports for MSN and IRC as well. The Jabber protocol is based on streaming XML, which makes it very flexible. Here are some good Jabber sites to check out:

    Jabber.org [jabber.org]
    Jabber.com [jabber.com]
    Jabber Central [jabbercentral.com]


  • It looks like they're even using it on www.aol.com:

    $ lynx -head http://www.aol.com
    Server: NaviServer/2.0 AOLserver/2.3.3

  • The main reason I use ICQ over AIM is that AIM is just ugly :) it puts an annoying banner at the top sucking up valuable screen realestate. Another reason is that I couldn't use the screen name that I wanted to because someone had already taken it. I'm not sure what it is I like so much about ICQ, but I won't touch AIM with a 20 hop traceroute
  • "Questionable legality?"

    Feh. If making an AIM client without ads is illegal, then junkbuster is illegal as well. See anyone complaining about junkbuster's legality?
  • Hi, I'm the author of the Jabber AIM transport, and I would like to point out that it is in fact OSCAR based. I have been active in the movement to have an Open Source OSCAR stack for a long time, and it was a no brainer choice to use it in the transport. TOC is waste in many aspects, but has a few fine points (it actually worked for a while ;-]), but just wanted to clarify that point.

    Jabber ROCKS! [jabber.org]
  • The only reason AOL is doing this is because they are miffed by the fact that Gaim and various other X AIM clients don't have ads. Gaim (the only one I have used) works fine, is just as easy to use (if not moreso) as the Windows client, and supports more features. It can also operate seamlessly with the existing AIM network --- it supports the Oscar protocol as well.

    What's sad is that Linux distributions will likely package AOL's official client instead of Gaim (or others) merely because it is "official."

    Feh, I bet it'll probably use motif too. :(
  • If you want horror, go to Excite chat. It is filled with the lamers that I am afraid will discover IRC. They have automated bots that flood the channels with kiddie rap, and theirt conversations, admidst the flood are like: "A/S/L?", "I love everyone", "kewl I am in Kali too, wanna cyber?"
  • Thing is, AIM costs money to run. It's made out of piles of servers, large, speedy SQL databases and a bunch of load balancers and replication machines. AIM may seem simple, but on that kind of massive scale, it certainly isn't. The only current revenue stream for it is inline ads and integrated add-ons like Net2Phone. AOL doesn't really give a rat's ass who makes AIM-compatible clients; they just want clients out there that they're collecting all the ad revenue from. They don't go after the Unix clients aggressively because they account for practically no traffic at all.

    Now that AOL's getting into the net appliance business and gearing up to offer AOL service to Linux devices, Linux is a platform they care about because it will eventually be the platform of a big chunk of their user base. So they need an AIM client that they control, that they can serve ads to that can't be disabled, among other things.

    GAIM, swell as it is, can't be the basis for AOL's official Linux AIM client. Why? Because GAIM is GPL'ed, not even issued under a dual license. So anything they do with the GAIM code would have to be released as open source. Which would mean that folks would be able to make adless versions of it.

    Once a good 3-4% of AIM users are using Linux, or AOL starts offering its paid services via Linux devices, you should expect to see GAIM, TiK and the other OSS AIM clients get blocked out just as agressively as MSN Instant Messenger has been.

    And once AOL works out contracts with Microsoft, Yahoo, et al. that guarantee free flow and full reporting of AOL's ads, you'll see MSN Messenger, etc. suddenly gain access to AOL's network. Not so the OSS stuff, because it would imply discriminatory business practices.

    If GAIM were under a BSD-style or MPL-style license, you can bet AOL would make use of their code. My hunch is that the GAIM developers have no interest in a license that allows closed-source forks in the code, though. Good for them. But honestly, the GPL doesn't leave much room to work out a deal by which the GAIM developers could offer up AOL's ad stream in exchange for continued access to the AIM servers from an "official" GAIM release.

    The moral of the story? The GAIM team should start thinking about exit strategies. Do they modularize it and release each module separately under the GPL so they can be used as plugins by AOL's official client? Do they go to a dual-license model so AOL can use all their hard work? Do they find new projects to work on and leave it out to dry so none of the code gets used by AOL?
  • GNU Lesser GPL [gnu.org] was designed to allow code sharing between copylefted software (e.g. the Free IM clients) and proprietary software (e.g. AIM).
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! [8m.com]
  • by BadlandZ ( 1725 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2000 @02:10PM (#866615) Journal
    I have been saying it for a long long time. There is power in Open Source software, and hardly anyone is unleashing it yet. (Although I know the lifetime of /. articals is short, I figure if I manage to convince ONE person, it's worth a try).

    For years people have proclaimed "now you have the code, you can make changes if you want." Well, guess what, 99.5% of the people who use software don't know how to make changes!

    So again I'd like to point out, "Now that you have the code, you can OPTIMIZE it for your system." And, yes, that does really matter. And, no, you don't need to know how to program to do it.

    Take the example of Mandrake, maybe you think Mandrake is all hype, it's not. I started using Mandrake about a year ago after getting sick of recompiling everything by hand. I have done tests to prove to myself that Mandrake benchmark scores [current.nu] are higher than other Linux distributions like Gentus Benchmark Results [current.nu] on the exact same system (NOTE 1).

    And that's not the end of it... that's just Pentium optimized, I could throw a few more flags in for kicks and tweak the scores more.

    So, when I can get a gain of almost 40% using FREE software, try to compare the costs of doing it with hardware. A system that would be 40% faster (using hardware alone) would cost significantly more. Or, your going to get better preformance even on better hardware with optimized flags... so....

    I'm a little supprised that this benifit to Open Source (that applies to all hardware types, not just x86) is soo overlooked, and "the ability to change the code" is so bragged about.

    NOTE 1: Gentus is completely based on Red Hat, and Mandrake has it's roots in Red Hat software optimizations. Gentus is Red Hat with specific additions for Abit hardware, thus the better disk access times with Gentus (I can use ATA100) that with Mandrake (using only UDMA 66).

  • If you are so worked up about this, shouldn't you sig be: Free BeOS, runs from a Linux86 partition?

  • Ah, well, the only problem with that is the UAE 68k emulator has no MMU emulation... so, it can't do Linux. Which is too bad, because that would make testing Linux/m68k stuff a lot easier... A GHz Athlon running that emulator is a heck of a lot faster than a 66MHz Quadra...

    Supreme Lord High Commander of the Interstellar Task Force for the Eradication of Stupidity

  • I know a few people are going to be looking at this comment after that title. My comment is more on the irony of choosing one free chat program over another.

    Okay to clearify, MSN Messenger had the right idea when they attempted to make thier software log on to the AOL servers and chat with thier users. They just went about it the wrong way. And since MS has a reputation of of taking over every market that did not help either.
    There should be a way for AOL users to talk with MSN users,,,or ICQ users..or Yahoo...or whatever, maybe if there was a central server that could recognize the type of APP being used, and have it as easy as just adding a server or a plugin/TC to give the functionality, it would be a big hit. Though I don't know anyone with the bandwidth and the programming skills to pull off such a project.

    To be perfectly honest I didn't understand why AOL had such a problem with MS connecting to thier servers and allowing people to talk with other AOL users, other than the fact that they didn't ask and it had alot to do with finding a way into the servers that was almost to the point where people were calling it 'hacking'.
    But I see no problem with routing messages and getting them sent to other Instant Messaging programs. Sounds like it might be a good open source project. All we need is the bandwidth.
  • yes, TiK is great. gaim has its nice features, too, but its compiled vs interpreted. and believe it or not, gaim and tik aren't in direct competition. we actually occaisionally (read: not too often anymore) collaborate.

    i think that, since aol used to support TiK, everyone should submit a bugreport saying that aol should again support it, again opensource. and through their ideas/input/programming, both gaim and TiK would benefit. also, they wouldn't be dumb-goats (this is rated G, btw) by starting over again on an AIM client.

    ta ta for now

  • Linux is probably the main driver for the creation of open source AIM clients. That stuff probably also has formed the basis for many of the third party clients that irk AOL so much on Windows.

    Until they release the source code for this thing, I would simply view it as an attempt to reduce the incentive for open source clients to get created.

    And I think we are going to see a lot more of that corporate strategy: companies will be releasing "free" binary only or encumbered software for Linux to kill off true open source efforts, which in the long run threaten their business interests.

  • I know that AIM for windows has, or at least had, a buffer overflow that AOL was using to verify that people weren't using an MS or Tribal Voice client. I don't trust AOL's IM. I'm not logging in root to do ANYTHING with their software. At least with WordPerfect, they tell you NOT to log in root. I'll stick with the hack, thank you.
  • by Erbo ( 384 )
    Right you are. You might also look at the JabberIM client, which you can download from Jabber.com [jabber.com]. For the moment, its source remains unreleased, but it also happens to be written in Delphi (it was written for Jabber.com by Peter Millard, WinJab's author).


  • I'd like to think so myself :-).

    One important advantage Jabber has over Everybuddy is that its support for "foreign" IM protocols (such as AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, MSN) are implemented as "transports" that run on the server, instead of as part of the client. That way, if AOL mucks around with their protocol, or someone implements a new IM system, the server administrator can install the necessary transport, and it is immediately usable by all Jabber clients. No update to the client is required, it just works.

    Our open protocol is implemented using streaming XML, which is easy to understand and easy to extend for new purposes. I've even heard of a simple Jabber client being implemented using a combination of shell scripts, sed, and awk (though how it works I've no idea...)


  • o/` somebody wants to hurt sooouuundex.org... o/`
  • Please.. One thing I never understood was why they ditched the Java version of AIM a long time ago.

    If you have no idea what I'm talking about, set the way-back machine to 1997 and go to the AIM download page at AOL. They used to have Windows, Macintosh and :gasp: Java versions available for download. I used to run it all the time on my Sun box. One day it just disappeared.

    I will say that AIM now has a lot of cool features and GAIM just isn't keeping up.


  • >>across AOL's servers - which gives them the legal right to read my message

    >I'm not so sure about this. I know that a good sysadmin will never read people's email. I don't know if this is the law, or just ethics.

    Generally speaking, yes you're right - a good sysadmin would never read people's mail. However, that means that if I'm going to use IM based on that assumption, I have to trust that all of AOL's sysadmins are trustworthy.

    One could even argue that there is such a constant inundation of information passing through their servers that it's unlikely that anyone would ever pick out my messages. However, when you really think about it, all that's going through is text, which compresses easily and isn't hard to store...

    Which leads me to my final point, which is that if IM messages *are* logged by the servers, then your conversations can be requested by federal authorities for the purposes of crime investigation (refer to the Microsoft trial if necessary). I'd prefer to keep my converstations going through my own servers, thank you very much.


  • But, now they've got a client out for Linux, and it displays ads.

    You know, even if you don't run Linux, you could still visit the AIM web site to see screen shots of the Linux beta. And you will see, very clearly, that the client does not display ads. (Yet.)
  • by Erbo ( 384 )
    the problem I have with Winjab is that the MSNagent still has some glitches.

    It's likely that this is a problem specific to the MSN transport itself, rather than WinJab. The MSN transport is relatively new code.

    I'm also curious whether there is a list of Jabber servers, in the FAQ and Howto's are some references to Jabber servers that use the http port (could be usefull for chatting behind a firewall ;-) But I can't find any others than jabber.org and jabber.com.

    We can't necessarily find them either--Jabber servers aren't required to advertise :-). There are also Jabber servers at jabbercentral.com and hotjabber.com that I know of. Don't forget, though, that the server you're on doesn't really matter, as you can communicate with Jabber users on other servers; just add their Jabber ID (username@server.domain) to your roster, and the Jabber servers handle the details of communicating between themselves.


  • IRC is not as "unified" as AIM or ICQ because it is a protocol for many disjoint networks. Users on DALnet can't talk to users on EFnet, Undernet, or any other network.

"Don't discount flying pigs before you have good air defense." -- jvh@clinet.FI