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The Internet

Financial Companies Ask IM Companies To Work Together 259

sammy.lost-angel.com writes "From this CNET article: "Two weeks ago, six top financial institutions met privately with AOL Time Warner, Microsoft, IBM and other leading corporate instant messaging providers and urged them to build communications networks that interoperate." The article even talks about Jabber."
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Financial Companies Ask IM Companies To Work Together

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  • It's about time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jpampuch ( 72782 )
    External FINANCIAL influence always makes a difference.
      • External FINANCIAL influence always makes a difference.
      Yes, you are right. It always makes a difference, but makes difference for the wrong choice.

      The consideration about MS, AOL and Yahoo get paid is completely out of question IMHO. They want to make a paid service to become standard when there's a whole comunity (FreeSoftware comunity) avaiable for developing a brand new protocol to become the free concurrent, and maybe become the real standard.

      When will they hear their technical consultants?

      • Lets see.

        Something like 800 billion people using AIM.
        Something like 80 people using Jabber.

        Yeah, what in the world are they thinking?
  • Anyone interested, please see my website, and email me, or reply here.

    Summary:
    They are not good work tools, if you want to keep productivity high.
    • They are not good work tools, if you want to keep productivity high.

      ...because? At my workplace, we're trying out Yahoo! IM at the moment (with a view toward moving to something more secure behind our firewall). I've found it helpful for things it's appropriate for. It's saved me several long-distance phone calls already, and helped out in situations where I needed an answer quickly to give to someone on the phone.

      • Run a little sample survey, and see how many users have communicated with people outside of work, at least once using the IM. Chances are you will find all but one or two have.
        They are also another vector for virus infection, unless you configure your firewall properly.
        • So? If they don't have IM they might use the company phone or compose a long e-mail to the person? I tried looking for the paper but couldn't find it. I use an IM at work all the time and it's nice. If I'm talking on the phone to someone and they want a URL, I just IM to them, instead of trying to spell out the URL.
        • by Trinition ( 114758 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @10:33PM (#4255320) Homepage

          how many users have communicated with people outside of work

          And that is counter-productive? I have a close circle of personal friends who are all programming gurus. I consult with them about work problems all the time. And, I also BS with them.

          Take away one and you take away the other. My gains in productivity from talking with them will be gone along with the time I waste communicating with them for recreation (or, maybe I'd just resort to e-mail or telephone calls instead).

      • At my workplace, we're trying out Yahoo! IM at the moment (with a view toward moving to something more secure behind our firewall). I've found it helpful for things it's appropriate for. It's saved me several long-distance phone calls already, and helped out in situations where I needed an answer quickly to give to someone on the phone.

        How is this instant messaging any different than IRC? If I want to talk to people I hop on our private server and join the channel and talk away. As for people that aren't on IRC e-mail works just fine. If they're sitting in front of their desks chances are I will get a reply within a few minutes. I'd rather read my e-mail and reply when I have time than be a slave to IM popups all the time. Plus, do you really trust AOL, Yahoo, and MSN to see what you're chatting about, especially at work? I would think an IM system where you can setup your own private server and link it to external servers and ONLY route messages to external servers if they can't be reached on the private one would be a much more preferred solution for a standardized instant messaging protocol. But wait, how would they deliver ads then? ;-)
    • Yeah, I read that paper... A co-worker of mine IM'ed it to me today.
    • Summary:
      They are not good work tools, if you want to keep productivity high.


      Absurd. I'm a software developer, and like most software developers I'm an introvert. As such I have a desire to use forms of communications like email or instant messaging wherever possible, so I don't proclaim to speak for anyone and everyone, but rather for my "type": I would say, without the slightest ounce of doubt, that instant messaging (and its close cousin email) have been incredibly productive in the workplace. Why? While the reasons are several, the primary reasons are that they are instantaneous to send (no looking up a phone number, dialing, waiting for ringing...waiting...waiting for voicemail menu...talking for 35 seconds...hitting pound...1....2), they are asynchronous (they don't demand the time of the other person instantly, but rather effectively install queues in your workplace so that people can work most efficiently at given tasks. Of course every workplace has the work avoiding blamecaster who'll always be spinning his wheels idle, protesting to all who'll listen that he's "waiting on so and so". Such people should be fired immediately), and you can get to the root of the matter far quicker than you can using alternate methods of communication. I won't bother exploring any of these because they should be self evident.

      Having said that, I have met some very firm resistant from "old schoolers", and alternately people who I would best describe as "bullshitters": I worked with one gentlemen (to loosely use that term) once who was a unbelievable pathological liar- He would spin such a web of bullshit that it was just baffling. However, I noticed that he would never reply to an email, or send an IM, or even leave a voicemail for that matter: It always had to be a "quick meeting". Social hackers love the control that physical or voice meetings allow them as well (a control that is lost in asynchronous messaging).
    • Yes, if you want to keep productivity high
      it's much more efficient to get up
      and look for your coworker every time
      you need to ask them something.
    • Nope. I work Tech Support (Graveyard)for a company with offices in many countries. I have Wintel, UNIX and Network guys everywhere. And everyone is on my contact list, from the CIO (so I know if he's upstairs), to our UNIX guy in Singapore. If a call or ticket comes in, or a situation arises, I can - at a glance - at 4AM - tell who's in, and if they're actually using their PC. Instant messaging someone for whom it is a minor issue to perform some small task (restart something, whatever) certainly beats the hell out of Dialing For Dollars and waking people up who then have to boot, connect, fix it and try to get back to sleep. It also beats calling the guys overseas, who I frequently cannot understand. For some reason, these guys have perfect spelling and grammar on Trillian.
  • A typical day goes by running *nix, and I decide I'd like to talk to some friends:

    1) Open xterm
    2) [tom@mitosis tom] msnaoltwnjsms &
    (MSN AOL/Time Warner Netscape Jabber Sametime Messaging System)
  • by kryonD ( 163018 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @09:54PM (#4255179) Homepage Journal
    every 4 years over 250 Million taxpayers get together to beg the government to work as a team and look how far that's gotten!
    • I beg to differ. I know that I'm not the only one who wants goverment to NOT work as a team. Most of my family concluded long ago that the goverment only does things that we do not want them to do. (Mostly spend my money) Sure every once in a while they do something good, but the large majority of the time they do not. Case in point: Passing those terrorist bills after 9/11/2001 that limit freedoms more than terrorism.

      I wont' get into how only about 40% of the elligable population votes (in presidential election years, less in off years), Not to mention underage, fellons, and non-residents (citicians but I can't speel it:) who can't vote.

      • Sure every once in a while they do something good, but the large majority of the time they do not. Case in point: Passing those terrorist bills after 9/11/2001 that limit freedoms more than terrorism.
        Am I to assume that by "government" you mean the federal government, namely congress and the President? Nearly all of the things government agencies do are things the American people as a whole want, and local governments are generally more productive than the federal government.
        • I'm not too fond of local goverment either. At least we have a little more control, but the federal goverment puts too much pressue on what local goverments can do.

          I'm not sure I'd agree that the federal goverment does what the people as a whole want. I would say more they do what the people as a whole will let them get by with. With all the things that the goverment does, nobody has time to look at each one, I'm sure there are things (but I don't have the time to look close) that only a few people want, and the rest don't, but those who want it will vote to have it stay, while the rest of us don't know. The DMCA snuck in that way, I had no idea I had to care so much about that one issue until we discovered just how bad it was. I always wonder what other ones have got through that I'm not aware of.

          I'd run for congress, but I'm unelectable. (I would keep my promise to make goverment small, and plenty of retired folks, farmers, etc would balk at specifics (while encouraging me on what they don't care about...). Still, I vote for those who will make a difference, which is rarely the big two.

          • I'm not sure I'd agree that the federal goverment does what the people as a whole want.

            What, you're not happy working 5 months out of every year to pay taxes? How dare you, you ingrate! Shut up and pay, peasant.

            Maybe you don't like the federal government spending over 50% of the available US budget on imperial warmaking (er,... defense, that's it) on behalf of the US-based oil cartel? Well guess what, they bought this Administration, they're damn well going to get their moneys worth, and they don't care _what_ you might think about it. Don't like that? Well... you can just go pound sand.

            Or, in November (and two years later, too), you can vote _for_ candidates who stand a chance of defeating slimy Republicans.

            For the dense, that's _not_ Libertarian or Green party candidates. Voting for fringe ideologies just reelects the monsters, as the results of the 2000 elections should have burned into the conscience of every Nader voter. Congratulations, ... you elected Bush!

  • I purposely delete it and all my games off my system whenever I am in school and go to work full time. I never would of thought that they could have some bussiness value. Email seems to be the top of bussiness communications needs.
    • I got my MSN Messenger account when I was working at a tech school. MSN Messenger was a handy way of knowing when someone was in, out, teaching or at lunch. It's all in how you use it.

      Before that, when I was working at a bandwidth provider that went spectacularly out of business, we used a MUSH in a similar fashion. Being that many people worked off-site, the MUSH was extremely effective.
  • Trillian (Score:4, Informative)

    by elite lamer ( 533654 ) <harveyswickNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Friday September 13, 2002 @09:56PM (#4255187) Homepage Journal
    Trillian [trillian.cc] - Who cares if they work together? Trillian's still damn good, and despite threats of legal action, works with all the major IM networks (besides Jabber). It even has a quite nice IRC client.
    • Hooray for Trillian!! Its funny how the financial industry ignores Trillian and other such multi-chat software, like it was there idea first. Rediculous. Trillian has good styling and compatiblity. The down side? I don't think there is a version for Linux. Is there?
  • im (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sstory ( 538486 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @09:56PM (#4255189) Homepage
    wouldn't it be great if there was also an API? then there could be display clients on your machine, and you could interact with your online buddies as if, say, you were at a bar, e.g. Neal Stephenson's Metaverse. How cool is that.
  • AOL has announced plans to introduce a for-fee service for corporations, but has yet to set a launch date. However, the company has talked about introducing such a service since early 2001.

    That's smart. Far better a company keep paying AOL thousands a month than set up a Jabber server for, uh, nothing.
    Good marketing model, fellows.
  • by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @09:56PM (#4255192) Homepage
    Works fine for me.
    • Gaim! (Score:2, Informative)

      by bleak sky ( 144328 )
      Why, when you can use gaim [sourceforge.net] natively? And without all the ads and other clutter... It supports AOL and (with plugins that come with it) MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, even ICQ and IRC...

      John

      • >Why, when you can use gaim [sourceforge.net]
        >natively? And without all the ads and other
        >clutter... It supports AOL and (with plugins that
        >come with it) MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, even ICQ and
        >IRC...

        Hmm... was unaware that gaim worked with all those IM systems; maybe they should change the name to grillian?
        • Re:Gaim! (Score:3, Informative)

          by JabberWokky ( 19442 )
          Kopete is the new standard IM framework for KDE 3.1 (due out end of Octoberish), and supports AIM, ICQ, IRC, Jabber, and theoretically Yahoo. I say theoretically, because I'm running the prerelease right now, and while everything works fine (there are a few missing features - gaim *is* better), Yahoo support is looking like it won't be in 3.1. Of course, they are all plugins, so they can be updated individually.

          I'd say go with Gaim right now (I don't, but then I like filing bug reports for KDE :) ), and check out Kopete in a few months.

          Incidently, Jabber is a protocol, yes, but most servers have gateways to AIM, Yahoo, etc. They work fine - I was using Psi through charente.de (I probably have that server name name wrong), and would talk to all of my AIM, Yahoo and ICQ using friends. Again, Gaim still has the best support for all the features of the various protocols.

          --
          Evan (no reference)

      • The problem with GAIM is that it requires GTK+ 2. As far as I know, this cannot be used for windows yet, unless someone has done some uberhack that I'm not aware of. So until it's cross platform, or until you find a way to get these places to put a *nix on the desktop, then good luck, man. (note: I am a KDE user with GAIM as my primary AIM client, and like the program. not trying to flame GAIM in any way.)
    • Running trillian on wine seems to me like an awful lot of overhead. I use everybuddy [everybuddy.com] on my linux systems. It doesn't have a fancy skin-laden UI, but it does the job nicely. (I didn't like gaim because the interface annoyed me.)
  • Why? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's not going to happen. AOL, MS, etc, agreeing on what would have to be an open standard?

    *laugh*

    Unless your employees are simply wasting time, companies using IM software should have procedures and regulations for it. IE - forcing them to use one certain client. Problem solved, eh?
    • Problem not solved. Some of these companies want to use IM to comunicate with their *customers*. Now, they could, I suppose, mandate that the customer use a given client, but that isn't necessarily going to go over too big with the customer, especially if the customer is either a) religiously attached to their present platform/opposed to the company's platform of choice or b) not all that good at computers and or short on time and doesn't want to learn a new program.


      One would also think (although I'll bet there isn't actually a regulation about this) that a financial firm requiring its customers to use proprietary technology from a company on which they are also doing financial analysis would be a bit of a conflict of interest. Not that *that* would ever happen on Wall Street....

  • AOL is one of the worst companies when it comes to intrusive ads... Just look what they did with netscape, forcing them to remove the ad-removal options. Unless the united IM supports ads that aol can profit from they will never get on board.
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <treboreel@live.com> on Friday September 13, 2002 @10:06PM (#4255231) Journal
    and we use Jabber in house like mad to bridge all the other protocols. With Jabber I can ICQ, AIM, Yahoo all acrossed a validated http proxy. In house we also use Lotus Sametime, which IMHO SUCKS horribly compared to any of the other clients.
    • Whatever happened to the aim-t probelms? The last part of the saga I remember is that instead of making up new FLAP codes, AOL just started looking for large quantities of signon from the same IP indicating a possible Jabber server running aim-t and just blocked its entire class C (so as to prevent the server moving to a new IP in the same class C). Has that ceased, os has there been soe other workaround?

      Coming from AIM as my primary chat medium, that was ahuge hurdle to adopting Jabber personally. Now, I'm using Trillian Pro 1.0 [trillian.cc], happily.
      • I haven't seen it lately. A local university (CSUMB) has all of the dorms NATed, so you can a multitude of IM logins from the same IP. If (well, when) the network gets borked, the insant it works, AOL's servers reject all of the login requests from the dorms since they come in a sudden flood. It can reportedly take several hours for AOL to allow everyone back online. But it does explicitly block them forever.
      • Whatever happened to the aim-t probelms?

        AFAIK, aim-t isn't even an option at the jabber.com / jabber.org servers. There's not really anything that can be done to prevent an IP address ban. From what I understand, these are explicit bans against the major Jabber servers, and are not necessarily related to the amount of AIM logins.

        Coming from AIM as my primary chat medium, that was ahuge hurdle to adopting Jabber personally.

        Depending on how you feel about open standards (and I hope a lot of us feel strongly towards them here), I encourage you to put in a little bit more effort :) It is a darn shame Trillian doesn't support Jabber, otherwise I'd actually recommend the program. My advice to you is to use a Jabber client alongside Trillian. Yeah I know, using two clients sucks, but you were probably doing this before Trillian came around anyway. Start building your Jabber roster now. You're gonna have to do it eventually anyway, and starting early will speed up adoption.

        I recommend this especially to Trillian users like you, who probably have other Trillian-using friends that could all easily begin using Jabber. I agree it is tougher to convert your AIM-using Grandma to Jabber, but you Trillian users are natural rebels, right? Rebel! And keep Trillian around for talking to Grandma.

        Personally, I used to use ICQ for a long time, then I began using Jabber and the ICQ transport. Later, I decided to start using AIM and MSN transports also (I figured, hey, why not?). Bad move.. this brought me knee deep in proprietary IM. I strongly suggest NOT using IM services that you weren't already using. Ie, if you start using Trillian or Jabber, do the world a favor and please don't just start using every single service. This only promotes them.

        So one day I decided to bite the bullet and unregistered from ALL the transports I was using. Now I use Jabber only. It was tough in the beginning (well, a lot less people bothered me on IM, hehe), but eventually I rebuilt my contact list. All my friends use Jabber now and so does my family. Right now I've got over 100 Jabber contacts, although I can't say I talk to a lot of them. I don't recommend this route for everyone, but it sure feels good to be free of AOL once and for all (and there was much rejoicing).

        -Justin
    • The natural Sametime client is pretty raw.

      IBM has been developing a new Sametime client for internal use only for quite some time. It runs on Sash [ibm.com], IBM's RAD (sort of) platform. The external "weblication gallery" there is a subset of the internal one. What's really nice is that the "weblication manager" automatically updates managed apps a few times a week, without requiring a reboot. Its really very cool. Here [ibm.com] is the Redbook on Sash.
  • by Thorin_ ( 164014 )
    Good luck trying to get AOL to play nicely with everyone else. They know they have the largest base of IM users and do everything in their power to keep it that way.
  • in our post .com crash era its the customers coming to the IT companies asking them to sort themselves out so they can buy their product(s).
  • Use Gaim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jchawk ( 127686 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @10:33PM (#4255327) Homepage Journal
    I am using Gaim, and I have connections going to IRC, AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and ICQ. All work great, plus everything works as a plugin. I even have a plugin loaded the checks my out-going messages spelling. :-)
  • by blixel ( 158224 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @10:42PM (#4255351)
    "There has to be a business model where Microsoft and Yahoo and AOL get paid,"

    I disagree. There doesn't have to be and there shouldn't be. The article mentions that IM should be like E-Mail. Well, Microsoft and Yahoo don't get paid just because some guy using a yahoo e-mail account e-mails someone using a hotmail account.

    My advice to these "finanical" guys seeking standards - ignore it. The problem will solve itself in a matter of time. IM is too big of a thing to be contained within proprietary networks. As these all in one messenger programs like Trillian [ceruleanstudios.com] become the de-facto standard, companies like Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo will have to give up their futile efforts of hording all their IM customers to themselves. Or better yet, if (when?) Jabber [jabber.org] becomes the real standard, the corporations wont even have to worry about Microsoft or AOL anymore.
    • by Phroggy ( 441 )
      Well, Microsoft and Yahoo don't get paid just because some guy using a yahoo e-mail account e-mails someone using a hotmail account.

      Uhh, of course they do. You can't check your mail on Yahoo or Hotmail without going to their Web site, which contains advertising banners. The companies are getting paid to run those ads.

      (Whether you choose to see them or [phroggy.com] not [mozilla.org] is another matter, of course, but most people do, so the companies do get paid.)
    • Internet service providers already pass the cost of bandwidth onto their customers. There is no reason to charge again just because their customers are using a certain type of (very low cost) service. Especially when the customers on each side of the communication benefit equally from the mutual conversation.

      Like so much we read today, this is really about control. The financial institutions have large investments in AOL/Time-Warner, Microsoft, and Yahoo. They would like nothing more than for an elite club to control and profit from instant messaging. They know that if something isn't done quick, Jabber will take over as the de facto standard and eliminate the profit opportunity.

      It looks to me like they are trying to form an organization, similar to the DVD-CCA, which would dictate payment and conduct requirements amongst member companies. The organization (let's call it Chatter) would form an artificial barrier to entry for startup vendors. If you want to enter the instant messaging market, you will have to pay a modest fee ($100,000) to read the protocol specifications, and agree to pay an annual fee to communicate with the other vendors.

      Each member of Chatter would maintain their own servers. If you want your servers to communicate with other Chatter members, you have to become a member yourself. It does not matter if you're running a Jabber server, AIM server, or some other instant messaging server. If you want to communicate with the vast majority of IM users, you have to join Chatter.

      In the end, almost all instant messages will be filtered through a few small companies. In order to pay for the artificial costs (and of course generate extra revenue), vendors will force advertisements upon their customers, track who people communicate with, and otherwise turn all aspects of life into a commercial venture. Who knows, maybe they'll also archive conversations for law enforcement.

      What needs to be done, is for someone to smack them hard with an anti-trust suit. Of course, we all know that will never happen. If people would just switch to Jabber (before the formation of an organization like Chatter), this would all become a non-issue.

      • Uh no. Not everything is a conspiracy. US finservices companies now are required to log all email and IM for 6 years. Loging IM is probably a PITA because of all the different standards. It would make their life easier if they had one standard that they could easily log, use internally, and yet all use it for web based CRM stuff - allow customers to IM them for questions, etc.
        • Not everything is a conspiracy.

          This is true. I originally started writing assuming that AOL was trying to monopolize the IM industry, while Microsoft et al were trying to do the same thing. Whether it's a conspiracy or not does not matter. If the major IM vendors go ahead with an interoperable standard, the result is likely to be no different than the consipiracy I described.

  • by djrogers ( 153854 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @10:42PM (#4255352)

    from the article...

    "There has to be a business model where Microsoft and Yahoo and AOL get paid," Maghsoodnia said.


    Yeah, just like they get paid for hosting all of our web pages, email, and ft.... Wait a second, we run our own servers for those things! Why the heck can't we have an IM system that's the same way? Run our own darned IM gateways/server, and just include it as part of your address (whoops - screen name, can't have anything technical sounding). User@server has worked well enough for email, heck with an LDAP3 directory backing it, email your address could easily be mapped to the IM presence on your server/gateway. If you really wanted to get fancy, add an IM record type to DNS.

    Thinking like this is just plain stupid - there's no possible reason why this couldn't work without relying on MS/AOL/Yahoo to run our servers for us... Except they beat us to it. So how do we convince those planning to spend $$ to do it in a responsible fashion?
    • by slamb ( 119285 ) on Friday September 13, 2002 @10:54PM (#4255381) Homepage
      Yeah, just like they get paid for hosting all of our web pages, email, and ft.... Wait a second, we run our own servers for those things! Why the heck can't we have an IM system that's the same way? Run our own darned IM gateways/server, and just include it as part of your address (whoops - screen name, can't have anything technical sounding). User@server has worked well enough for email, heck with an LDAP3 directory backing it, email your address could easily be mapped to the IM presence on your server/gateway. If you really wanted to get fancy, add an IM record type to DNS.

      You've just described Jabber. Anyone can run a server. It uses user@server email-style addresses. Servers communicate between themselves as in email; this can be turned off for Intranet usage. It uses SRV DNS RRs which are a generalization of email's MX RRs. I think LDAP integration in the existing servers is poor so far, but that's an implementation detail and can be improved later.

      Thinking like this is just plain stupid - there's no possible reason why this couldn't work without relying on MS/AOL/Yahoo to run our servers for us... Except they beat us to it. So how do we convince those planning to spend $$ to do it in a responsible fashion?

      Jabber is being pushed toward standardization in the IETF, as the article mentioned. I think the situation will improve greatly after the IETF working group for it is created.

      • Man, what happened to 'talk'. I use this with my machines all of the time, and I can do 'talk joeblow@machine' very simply and its been around forever.

        Hell, even windows has the popup messaging protocol that's been around since at least WFWG, and I can still talk to windows boxes using Kopete today!
        • Hell, talkd in most RedHat boxen is completely broken. It's very sad, as it's one of the protocols I most enjoy. Anyone with a fix will be my friend for approximately as long as it takes to pour & drink a beer at the Falling Rock...
    • Yeah, sounds an awful lot like this [aol.com], which everyone has been ignoring, most notably AOL.
    • Mod parent up!

      This is, of course, exactly right.
  • Thats like asking all the Internet Application developers to please just develop one do-it-all Internet application that uses the same Protocol.

    The point is to have choice. Just because something becomes popular, lots of users start using it, and there is competition doesn't mean they have to interoperate or anything. Sure that would be a cool feature, but thats up to the developer, not the users. I don't go telling Linus Torvalds I want him to make sure Linux runs Windows binaries natively, at any cost.

    Its not the telephone system, its not an essential service that all should have free access to. Hell, everyone still has free access to use AOL IM AND MSN, AND YAHOO! AND JABBER. They're only complaining because its a "hassle" to have all those programs installed to chat.

    What next? The government decides AIM should interface with the public phone system so users without computers can still chat? Give me a break. There are no monopolies here. Its good healthy competition and it should remain like this. I wasn't forced to use AOL, I wasn't forced to use MSN, and I certainly wasn't forced to use Yahoo!. I'm still not even forced to have a home phone. Alright, enough ranting.

    Whatever.
    • The problem is that IM is now a widely used application of the Internet, and thus should be interoperable. The existence of programs like Trillian (and its millions of downloads) shows there is no question that the public wants interoperable IM. You may not think IM needs to be interoperable, but the rest of us certainly do.

      The reason the government stepped in on AOL is because they are so dominant. It is MUCH harder to enforce a standard this late in the IM game. Back in the early days of the public Internet, many services had incompatible/closed email systems (Prodigy, AOL, Compuserve, etc). Eventually they wised up and all agreed to use SMTP, but this was probably only because SMTP was already an established standard. It is much harder to wedge Jabber in as a standard today, when you've got millions already using the closed systems.

      I should add here that, for example, AOL does not offer POP3. They still use a proprietary email client. In much the same way, they can continue to use Oscar (the AIM protocol) internally for their users (and have all sorts of internal "value-added-competition-healthy" services), but they really ought to talk Jabber to the rest of the world.

      Anyhow, there's not much to debate here. Jabber is going to be accepted by the IETF soon, so finally we'll have an official standard. However, only time will tell if the big boys of IM will start using it...
    • They're talking about *PROTOCOLS*, not about *APPLICATIONS*. If I can happily access your MSN with my ICQ, we are both happy.
    • Taking your phone system analogy a bit farther...

      If your friends were on different long distance services (Sprint, AT&T, MCI, GTE), would you think it reasonable to have 4 different phones just so you could talk to them?
      hmm...Mary is on the blue 900 Mhz cordless, Joe is on the wall phone in the kitchen, Jim can only be reached from the 2.4Ghz, and Jill from the cellphone.

      oh yeah...that would work REAL well.
  • is it just me, or are we trying to re-invent the wheel here? namely, re-inventing email with the added feature of knowing who in your address book is currently also logged in to their email client...
    • If you don't understand the vast differences between IM and e-mail, you obviously haven't been using IM to its full potential.
  • For the month of July, 12.7 million office workers were using instant messaging services, including those from AOL, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ and Trillian.
    Whoa! I never knew Trillian was an instant messaging service--I'd always thought it was just a program that operated with other instant messaging services. I must've missed out on something. Maybe the newly released Trillian Pro is an IM service as well as client.
  • IM giants told to work it out

    I can't wait for..

    Financial giants told to shove it

    Seriously, where do these jackasses get off?

  • Does anyone know anything about the supposed unified IM service to beat Jabber and Gaim, written by United Coders [cjb.net]? Their website is lacking any information on the project, but from what I hear its very promising.
  • Financial companies should just give up "some fatass company should sell us things" and look how IRC is superior to all those closed and semi-closed "messengers".

    There is no compatibility problems between chat systems just like there is no compatibility problems with email. It's just closed email systems already disappeared, and closed messaging system are still there -- but people who rely on them deserve to suffer from their closedness.
    • IRC doesn't support a lot of the functionality of AIM, it's much less convenient for most of what I use AIM for, and maybe I don't always want everyone to know my IP address?
      • IRC doesn't support a lot of the functionality of AIM, it's much less convenient for most of what I use AIM for

        What functionality is in AIM and not in IRC? By IRC, of course, I mean "what can be reasonably done with it using existing clients and minimal scripting", not "what comes by default with the only IRC client I have seen 5 years ago".

        and maybe I don't always want everyone to know my IP address?

        Server doesn't have to disclose it, and you can proxy the connection if you are paranoid. Not that it matters for any reasonable purpose that financial institutions may have.

  • Why don't the financial companies in quesion get together and decide amongst themselves what IM system they will all use? Seems to me that would solve their problems and keep a healthy competition amogst the current services.

    While their at it, why don't get demand that all keyboard manufacurers all use the same exact layout. Or that all cars use the same size/type tires?
  • Ok, I'll start off by saying I am not familiar with Jabber, so please do not flame me if it does what I am about to describe - which is "Peer to peer IM services."

    Not client P2P, but server P2P. Follow the SMTP/IRC model. Anyone, ISP, company, whomever, can set up an IM server, just like they currently set up email servers (hell, you can probably combine the two.) Your IM name is similar to email address user@server. The client logs in to their IM server (user1@server1). When they try to lookup another user (user2@server2), the server opens a connection to server2.

    If done right, all connections should be SSL encypted. And no more than 2 servers involved in any conversation. Like SMTP, the client uses standard protocol to talk to server and can log into any server he has an account with. The servers talk to each other and can negotiate common set of features (again like SMTP).

    Like SMTP, this model is pretty scalable, and independant of a central server/service. But unlike SMTP, it can be build to be near real time and reliable and without large legacy overhead associated with email.

    Unlike IRC, there is no need to keep a large number of servers always in sync for every message. A lifespan of the message is between client1 - server1 -server2 - client2.

    The protocol is open so anyone can run their own server, their own client, etc. Large company like AOL/Yahoo/etc. can sell/give away their own accounts (like email accounts now) but any ISP can easily throw in this as service. No matter who your provicer is, you can communicate with anyone.

    For a large company, like the financial companies mentions, it would be easy to run an internal server that can have secure connections with their partners - one that never even has to leave private networks - like internal email or in the olden days Lotus Notes peering modem networks (anyone still remember those?) . The security implications of this alone are worth the trouble for them. And if they are concerned with logging everything, it would be as easy as logging email if they are running their own servers (I do not like this, but I am sure it will be needed).

    All in all, this is not all that different from SMTP, but SMTP is aging and has too much overhead to accomplish this. But it will be duplicating much of SMTP purpose and I can even see it replacing SMTP all together.

    The two biggest problems I see is a - the big guys will not like this - the only way to shove ads down your throat is to make you use THEIR service and THEIR client - and there will be no reason to. But if it gains enough momentum, it can happen. The bigger problem I forsee is SPAM. Not sure how to keep it down without compromising the whole model.

    It's my dream, what do ya think?

    -Em
    • "Ok, I'll start off by saying I am not familiar with Jabber, so please do not flame me if it does what I am about to describe - which is "Peer to peer IM services.""

      I'm not going to flame you, but I am going to tell you that yes, you just described Jabber exactly. I send an IM to my friend bob@bobchat.com, and my IM server, talks to the server located at bobchat.com and passes the IM, which in turn passes it to Bob, if he's online, if he's not online, then it just holds onto the IM for him until he is.

      The protocol is completely open, it's 100% XML.

      Another nice Jabber feature is that people can't get "presence" info from you (they have no idea if you're signed on, away, or what-not) unless you allow them. So the added privacy is nice too.

      So why don't you head on over to jabber.org and set yourself up a server. Jabber even supports Whiteboards now.
  • Marketing and fey technologism will never replace the central hub of the Internet.

    --Blair
  • AIM interoperability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AntiNorm ( 155641 ) on Saturday September 14, 2002 @01:00AM (#4255678)
    Wasn't one of the conditions of the AOLTW megamerge that AIM must be essentially opened up, allowing competing IM programs to interoperate with it? What happened to that, or am I missing something?
  • In other news, some of the top Wall Street brass asked the internet today if they wouldn't mind picking one IM protocol and port to make it easier to ban/snoop at work. The internet responded by eating the free lunch provided for the meeting, and then promptly leaving.
  • My first question... Why? Beyond the fact that it'd make our lives as consumers easier. It's like pleading with the 5 major ketchup makers in the US to sit down and brand one ketchup. I could use any number of products as an analogy, but I have to ask, why don't these great almighty 5 finacial firms just sit down and -gasp!- Pick one! Sure, it'd make our lives easier, but "they" generally don't care about you or me, so I ask: What is the real reason? What's going on behind the scenes? Offhand, I'm thinking one system would be easier for someone to control, level taxes against on, whatever. Speculation, but my spider sense is tingling... No, that's just heart burn. Nevermind.
  • If you're just looking for a way to communicate internally, as a supplement (or even replacement) to email I would suggest a program I found surfing the net. I didn't write it but I've been playing around with it on a few computers in the lab where I work and it's pretty nifty.
    "Peer to peer network messenger" [codeguru.com]
  • IM in banks... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by willis ( 84779 ) on Saturday September 14, 2002 @08:34AM (#4256322) Homepage
    Wassup -- I used to work on an IM project (jabber based) at an investment bank. There's a couple things floating around here that I don't think people are getting ::

    1. the messages
    It's not about just messaging "wassup" and other time-wasters back and forth to people. It's often two traders on different sides of the floor communicating prices back and forth, being able to IM clients from some research tool, broadcasting large market events/news to everyone at once, tech support getting IMed when systems start going through the death throes (followed by pages, etc). It might be getting IM'd and having the message go to a pager if you're away from your desk, or to email if your pager is down.

    2. productivity
    Working on multinational teams, or in different buildings, or using chatrooms to say stuff like "I'm taking down the test system" when you don't want to disrupt the guy next to you (and let 10 other developers descretely know what the story is) enhance productivity. Sure, there may be some bullshit floating around on IM, as well, but investment bank IT people are pretty industrious as a whole (at least from what I've seen), and a good number of employees over the entire firm take desk lunches -- implying they'll stay on task pretty well.

    3. logging/external service providers
    A big advantage to running an IM through your firm is that you can log everything (good for SEC, etc). I sincerely doubt that the banks are looking at having all of their internal stuff go through MSN/external or AOL/external. Anything that happens is going to be kept local unless it HAS to go outside.

    4. The current mess
    My company runs an proprietary chat server, jabber, sametime, and some yahoo gateway, and probably more crap that I don't know about. It'd be BRILLIANT if everybody (including clients) could standardize on one message format -- it could save all of us loads of trouble.

    5. jabber
    As good as jabber is in theory, the open source server components used to be pretty rough (last fall). The commercial stuff might be nice, but I remember spending loads of time hacking at the XDB/XML database and thinking "Damn, this is really not flexible for enterprise-level usage" (i.e. 20-80,000 users, multiple continents/offices/divisions). It would be nice if everyone standardized on it and everything was made bank-reliable (a system going down can literally mean millions of dollars lost). Maybe all the banks should devote a few good programmers each to fixing it up, or donate a mil to the jabber foundation or something.

    Just a few random points (I'm in a hurry)

  • Use what you have.

    With the current available OPEN protocols, there no reason why it can't be achieved.

    Use e-mail (SMTP+POP/IMAP), and TALK.

    Talk is peer-to-peer. No need to go through a server that can be brought down.

    The e-mail part is to disseminate your IP address when it changes. The chat application simply e-mails your IP address to your correspondant's e-mail addresses; the chat client looks periodically for those specially marked messages, and updates it's own IP address database.

    Big banks need not worry, as they have fixed IP addresses; their small fry, when they connect, simply sends out a flurry of small messages to all the correspondents.

    And to remove the risk of flaky ISP mail servers, the program could connect directly to the big company servers; a special protocol could be used in case the ISP blocks port 25; heck, make it HTTP on port 80!

    This way, the system is completely open, and doesn't need any commitees to implement in three years.

  • Why on earth would financial companies ask IM companies to cooperate? Are they suddenly finding their brokers and back-room deal makers suddenly IMing all the time? Wouldn't they have banned such behavior from their intranets and extranets?

    Sounds to me like they want to make the IM companies easier to acquire. (How you can build a company on something as nebulous as IMing is beyond me.)
  • Great. Just what I need is my financial information running out in the open, probably in an insecure fashion.

    People, if you need to communicate within your company with some sort of IM, just set up an IRC server for pete's sake!!!

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