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Jabber Gathers Steam In Australia 189

Jeremy Lunn writes "Jabber is on a rolling start in Australia with this article featured in The Age in Melbourne (and the Sydney Morning Herald) 'Jabbering classes push for more power' and the formation of Jabber Australia."
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Jabber Gathers Steam In Australia

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  • by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:13AM (#6159092)
    Jabbering classes push for more power

    By Nathan Cochrane
    June 10 2003

    A small band of Australian advocates of open source has joined a growing worldwide army trying to wrest the power of instant messaging away from Titans such as Microsoft and AOL Time Warner, handing it back to individuals and the enterprise.

    Imagine if you were to send an email but it bounced back because the recipient lacked the software to understand your message. Or if you tried to make a phone call, but were told by a canned voice that your phone number was not recognised. That is the state of instant messaging (IM) today.

    A user must install several IM clients - software chat programs - on their PC to communicate with others, and online chats often cannot be easily carried between services. Although some clients understand a variety of IM systems, they are not widely used and are liable to breaking at the whim of the entrenched proprietary IM providers, such as Yahoo!, AOL and Microsoft.

    Dubbed "the Linux of IM", Jabber is an XML protocol devised in 1998 that transfers messages in real time across the internet. Its open-source, open-standard architecture readily allows individuals and organisations to create their own services on servers they own.

    A side effect is greatly enhanced security and robustness of communications because messages are not sent in the clear to servers on the other side of the world over the insecure internet.

    Jabber clients - software programs such as RhymBox that exploit the underlying Jabber architecture - also work with proprietary standards, providing the best of both worlds and unplugging the IM bottleneck.

    Jabber's heavyweight backers include Intel, H-P, Sony, IBM and Hitachi, and telcos including BellSouth in the US and Orange. It is being formalised as XMPP (extensible messaging and presence protocol), an internet standard, by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

    Despite such impressive achievements, the adoption of Jabber in Australia has been slow, which is the reason an advocacy and technology steering group, Jabber Australia, was formed in Melbourne this week, says its founding president, Jeremy Lunn.

    In Poland, a million users hang off a single server, but there are far fewer users here and so far only 20 people have responded to the request for help on Jabber Australia's jabber.org.au website, Lunn says.

    But the local chapter has high-level support from the Jabber Software Foundation in the US that pioneers the protocol. On its board is Melbourne-based Robert Norris, a Jabber Software Foundation council member and lead developer of the open-source JabberD 2 server.

    "The key advantage in Jabber remains in the openness," says Lunn. "Jabber doesn't tie consumers to any one program or service provider. Consumers will now have a choice."

    Lunn sees Microsoft's and AOL's decision last week to sign a $US750 million peace treaty, making their rival systems compatible or "interoperable", as a "half-baked" yet positive step towards knitting together the IM archipelago.

    "It still doesn't allow people to run their own servers, such as in Australia, whether they be individuals, ISPs or businesses," he says.

    However, it will make things much easier for users of Jabber because less code needs to be maintained for Jabber to interoperate with other networks, Lunn says. "When these systems do open up to the public, providing they use an open standard as the protocol, it's good for Jabber and all IM users, regardless of whether it's SIMPLE (session initiation protocol for instant messaging and presence leveraging extensions protocol) or the Jabber protocol."

    Jabber faces competition from SIMPLE, also wending its way through the Internet Engineering Task Force a few steps behind, which has the support of IBM and Microsoft. But critics such as Lunn say SIMPLE is as simple does - it lacks the functionality and purpose of XMPP/Jabber.

    "Although SIMPLE has some great advantages in compa
  • As SIMPLE as that (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jabbadabbadoo ( 599681 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:17AM (#6159102)
    Jabber is, well, technically superior. But history is a good teacher (Beta vs. VHS, etc, etc, etc)

    SIMPLE is simple and standard; a recipe for success.

    • Re:As SIMPLE as that (Score:4, Informative)

      by Troed ( 102527 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:24AM (#6159121) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure a lot of people got your reference to SIP/SIMPLE [sipforum.org] .. so .. sorry for pointing out the obvious.
      • Re:As SIMPLE as that (Score:3, Informative)

        by Troed ( 102527 )
        Who's the idiot that mods a link to the SIP/SIMPLE standards "troll"??

        SIP = Session Initiated Protocol. Hey people - this is what routes your telephone calls now and more so in the future.

        SIMPLE = SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions.
    • Jabber is, well, technically superior. But history is a good teacher (Beta vs. VHS, etc, etc, etc) SIMPLE is simple and standard; a recipe for success

      Two cups and a string is simpler still. It's not so infrequent that technically superior actually does win.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      SIMPLE is simple and standard; a recipe for success.

      What's standard about it, compared with Jabber? It hasn't even been implemented yet. Show me a client that supports it.

    • by Sparks23 ( 412116 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:21AM (#6159484)
      Ironically, I find Jabber a much more simple/straightforward protocol than SIP/SIMPLE. Especially as Jabber in its present form can be used as a full-featured instant messaging packages, where SIMPLE is not far enough along, and the only SIMPLE implementations therefore rely on proprietary extensions to flesh it out.

      This isn't a troll; I do honestly think SIP and SIMPLE have their place. SIP is way more suited to negotiating multimedia streams than XMPP/Jabber ever will be. SIMPLE strikes me as much better for handling 'conference call' type situations without relying on Jabber's groupchat implementation, as well.

      But SIMPLE just ain't here yet...it's a promising base for a lot of things, and the pledge of various instant messaging networks to support it is great...but it's still under construction. Jabber /is/ here right now, and easy to implement, and functional today, and despite some of its own rough edges it's always felt a lot simpler to work with than SIMPLE. XML's pretty darn easy to parse. :)
    • by hey ( 83763 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:43AM (#6159785) Journal
      Jabber Inc has a white paper saying why they think Jabber's XMPP is better than SIP/SIMPLE ... The IM standards race [jabber.com]

      But don't believe them. Since you are reading Slashdot you can handle reading the real specs. XMPP is very reasonable and SIP is nuts. Just trying reading the spec.

      It seems Microsoft has backed SIP/SIMPLE. This is probably a political move. They cannot back XMPP since that's their "enemy". Of course, they'd prefer it if every just used MSN. What a horrible world that would be. In fact SIP/SIMPLE is so bad and far away from implementation that its good for them. And delay towards standardization is good for the company that owns the desktop and installs their IM client there.

      I could never imagine using MSN -- every thing you type going thru a server in Redmond! They'd also monitor when you took a coffee break.

    • by Dirus ( 592987 )
      Jabber is, well, technically superior. But history is a good teacher (Beta vs. VHS, etc, etc, etc)

      For those feeling confused about all this Jabber/XMPP vs SIP/SIMPLE, here [infoworld.com] is a short article which talks about the difference between XMPP and SIMPLE.

      The InfoWorld article also claims IBM is siding with SIMPLE, not with XMPP like the article in the Slashdot story suggests. Other [nwfusion.com] articles also [antepo.com] suggest IBM is siding with SIMPLE not XMPP. If you don't mind the PDF you can see for yourself [ibm.com] that IBM's Lotus us

  • by LamerX ( 164968 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:20AM (#6159114) Journal
    Here is some info for those of you who would like to know more about Jabber and how it's doing in AU.


    http://australia.internet.com/r/article/jsp/sid/ 13 152


    http://support.jabber.com/jimhelpfiles/Shared_Gr ou ps.htm
  • Jabber and IRC (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It seems to me there are a lot of similarities between jabber and IRC. The major two being that they're both open standards and they both distribute clients amongst many different servers.

    Unfortunately, it seems like this makes Jabber prone to the same problemst as IRC: netsplits. Could anyone tell me if Jabber has any sort of elegant solution to this problem?
    • Re:Jabber and IRC (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sparks23 ( 412116 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @06:34AM (#6159405)
      IRC servers can only connect between specific servers -- think of it like a tree. If you knock off a 'hub' server -- a branch -- then all the leaves off that hub are gone.

      Jabber, however, is more like e-mail. Any Jabber server can talk to any other Jabber server. Which, yes, like with e-mail means one specific Jabber server might be down, but like e-mail, it means the entire network doesn't fold.
      • Re:Jabber and IRC (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bunji X ( 444592 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:43AM (#6159535)
        I think the e-mail metaphor is a very nice one when explaining what jabber is to newbies.

        Unlike most other IMs, where there is only one server (no more than one adress for accessing the server(s)) the Jabber network is built up by lots of servers communicating with each other, like e-mail.

        Your jabber address looks and works a lot like your e-mail addresse. User@jabber.org or User@mail.com, same functionality, different protocols. A pretty obvious and shallow observation, but is very useful when explaining for newbs.
  • by westyvw ( 653833 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:24AM (#6159120)
    So it will let me reach out over the internet and Jab someone? Cool. I would like to Jab, poke, prod, and possibly main some spammers.
    • by evil_roy ( 241455 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:47AM (#6159190)
      Mate, come to Australia (well to Sydney anyway) and that attitude will get you everywhere. We even have an annual festival for it.
      • Re:Jabber? Jab who? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by westyvw ( 653833 )
        If you are truly australian. I have come to really like you guys. You have overclockers.com.au which is the nicest, friendliest, and great source of info anywhere. I used to have a bad opinion about the aussies, cause I worked with this cheap ass skank from Australia who didnt know a damn thing about anything.
        But I have beem turned around, also my kudos to Dans Data another great site.
        Jabber on dude.
  • Trillian (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zog The Undeniable ( 632031 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:37AM (#6159162)
    This problem was solved ages ago by Trillian, but AOL are always trying to kill it off. Isn't Jabber just *another* IM standard?
    • Re:Trillian (Score:4, Informative)

      by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:17AM (#6159249) Homepage
      This is true. However the difference is that AOL use a propriatory protocol. The only reason trillian can speak it is that someone sat down and decoded it. With Jabber however anyone can read the specs and write a client. Its is yes another standard but its an open standard so anyone can use it.

      • That's not quite true. Thanks to the FCC, AOL is required to allow third-parties to connect to their network, via the TOC protocol. The problem with that, is lack of file transfers, voice chat, etc.

        Some have reverse engineered the protocol to get those features back, but there's no guarantee that they will work tomorrow...

        Jabber has many many advantages other than being Open, although that should not be overlooked. For one thing, the server is open as well, so you could add any features that the server
    • Isn't Jabber just *another* IM standard?

      Isn't Trillian just another multi-protocol IM client?
    • Trillian is an IM client, Jabber is an IM standard. By the way, Trillian will support Jabber in its next release, so they are not mutually exclusive or anything.
    • Re:Trillian (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NisJørgensen ( 63095 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:52AM (#6159331)
      Jabber is not just another IM standard.

      Jabber IS an IM standard, as opposed to MSN Messenger, AIM, ICQ and YM! which are IM systems, consisting of a protocol (often secret), servers and clients. It is possible to replace the clients, but if you want to communicate with users of these systems, you have to use their servers (including having accounts on them). The AIM/ICQ server has been set up in a way that tries to lock out everyone who is not using their clients.

      Trillian (and other multi-system clients) deals with this by mimicking several different clients. Jabber deals with it by defining a standard with which users on different servers can communicate, then waiting for the rest of the world to catch on. In the meantime, jabber users can use a gateway on the server to communicate with/converting their old ICQ/MSN buddies).

      Note, BTW, that Trillian does not include a Jabber Client. They now where THEIR worst competition, and they are not going to help by making the transition easy.
      • Re:Trillian (Score:5, Informative)

        by Sparks23 ( 412116 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @06:49AM (#6159424)
        Uh. Worst competition?

        No, we just didn't include Jabber earlier because AIM, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo are a bitch to write for, and the time and energy needed to go into getting those right first. It's called prioritization of limited manpower (or, in my case, womanpower). :)

        The Jabber portion's working in the internal alpha builds, and the next version of Trillian does have Jabber support. While I'm not as active in the Jabber dev community at the moment since we're hunkered down debugging and cleaning up to get the next release out, we're pretty devoted to the Jabber community as well. I've been an active participant in standards discussions and revising and authoring JEPs, and we have some long-term plans for Trillian regarding Jabber which are pretty beneficial to both Trillian and Jabber.
    • Re:Trillian (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sparks23 ( 412116 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @06:44AM (#6159418)
      No. This 'problem' is not what we've solved with Trillian. The problem we aim to solve with Trillian is 'god, we need a way to have multiple IM and information clients in a single executable, because this is insane.' The problem Jabber aims to solve is 'my god, instant messaging is important to many things, we need an open standard so people can write software and set up servers as they need, without being hooked into proprietary stuff.'

      I'm one of the Trillian developers; trust me on this.

      Jabber picks up multiple network support on server-side as a benefit of the modular design of the server and extensible nature of the protocol. HOWEVER. The Jabber development community will tell you that the transports are not intended as an all-in-one solution; they're just there to ease the transition to Jabber, so you don't have to lose touch with existing contacts while you're urging them over to Jabber as well. The transports are, in fact, the bane of many a Jabber dev who finds people think of Jabber as a Trillian equivalent -- i.e., looking at it as a way to get onto the legacy networks and not looking at the Jabber protocol and Jabber contacts themselves.

      And yes, as noted, Trillian gets Jabber in our next release. :)
  • Cuz I ain't got time for the jibba-jabber.
  • A few questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jlanng ( 130635 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:49AM (#6159194) Homepage
    I use Windows mostly for work, and all of my friends use Windows exclusively. Are there any good Jabber clients for Windows?

    Is there any facility for end-to-end encryption?

    Does it work over port 80?
    • Re:A few questions (Score:3, Informative)

      by guruz ( 645678 )
      I have my gf using Psi under Windblowz. I've tried some other windows clients but this seemed to be the best. BTW, jabber me under guruz@jabber.bawue.net ;)
    • Re:A few questions (Score:4, Informative)

      by delx ( 676953 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:40AM (#6159297)
      The best Jabber client (IMHO) is PSI.. http://psi.affinix.com [affinix.com]
      It works for Windows, Linux & Mac OS X, and uses QT.
      It's under very active development, although there has not been a release for a while.

      Version 0.9test1 has full support for encrypted messaging. On a system with GnuPG installed and setup it works pretty much out of the box. There is no automatic exchange of keys though, you can use something like GPG Agent to do that for you.

      As to working over port 80, you can always setup a server yourself with port 80 open. But if you meant working over an http proxy, I don't think so.

      Hope that helps... Happy Jabbering! =)
      • The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000022). Click on OK to terminate the application.

        • Hi, I'm the author of Psi. If you are interested, it would be great if you could pass me any details about your system setup (OS, Psi version, etc) and the error you encountered. Throw an email to justin-psi_at_affinix.com if you can. Thanks!
    • Re:A few questions (Score:2, Informative)

      by hobbezak ( 621342 )
      GAIM [1] has (limited, I think) jabber support and is also available for Windows.
      GAIM also has 'native' support for MSN and ICQ and is pretty stable.

      [1] http://gaim.sf.net [sf.net]
    • Re:A few questions (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Plug ( 14127 )
      The article quotes RhymBox [rhymbox.com] (I wouldn't have named a client that with another program called RhythmBox out there, which actually makes more sense as a name!), which seems like a bit of a MSN Messenger UI derived client. Upon first play it's very nice!

      Free for non commercial use and apparently has source (according the the "You can modify software" clause in the license".)

      Otherwise, I use JAJC [jajc.ksn.ru], which is nice, but written in Delphi so not entire like the WIndows UI everywhere. But since when was any other
    • Re:A few questions (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sparks23 ( 412116 )
      Some Jabber clients have end-to-end encryption, but the standard on that is still a little shaky. It's basically just a PGP signing and encryption method.

      Best Jabber client for Windows presently really depends on what you need and want. Jabberstudio.org has a lot of good ones. Psi is an excellent one, RhymBox is a very clean and easy-to-use one, Exodus has a very plain and un-glitzy UI, but tends to support damned near every part of the protocol that pgm can cram into it. In my opinion, Psi's a good ch
    • IMO the best jabber client for the windows platform (and linux platform) is Psi - http://psi.affinix.com - I don't use jabber any more (I use Miranda www.miranda-im.org) - Mainly because I had to take my jabber server offline for a while. When I put it back up, I am still going for Psi as a client!

      The server runs on any port you wish! I ran mine on port 23 for a while (as a consultant in a firm where they had closed a lot of ports)...
    • Are there any good Jabber clients for Windows?

      Multiple. In fact, Windows is much better off than Unix... For Unix, the only graphical Jabber client I've found that doesn't require QT is GAIM, but GAIM's Jabber plugin doesn't support the great features of Jabber, just basic chat really...

      Is there any facility for end-to-end encryption?

      Certainly, there are several, although I do not know if any good ones are cross-platform.

      Although, you don't actually need end-to-end encryption. Most Jabber clients su

    • I use Windows mostly for work, and all of my friends use Windows exclusively. Are there any good Jabber clients for Windows?

      The best Jabber client availible at the moment (most feature-complete, user friendly) is JAJC [jajc.ksn.ru]. Unfortunately it is windows only (although it more or less works under wine) and closed source (so you are at the whims of the devloper as to what features will stay in, get removed and get added). It is, however, free-as-in-beer.

      Is there any facility for end-to-end encryption?

      The spec

    • I've had good luck with Exodus [sf.net]. Maybe give that one a shot.
    • Gaim is super cool multi-im program. And since 6.0 the windows build has been stable. It's my principle IM on all platforms

      http://gaim.sourceforge.net/win32/index.php [sourceforge.net]

      Gaim does AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, and a bunch of others. Check it out.

  • Another site mention (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:52AM (#6159201)
    Also covered in this article [linmagau.org] at linmagau [linmagau.org].
    Slackers at The Age are always behind the curve.
    Jabber rocks....
  • Interconnected? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nich37ways ( 553075 ) <slashdot@37ways.org> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:53AM (#6159206) Homepage
    Is there a system setup for connecting all the local, public jabber servers together to create a world network. Ie if I had the resources and wanted to could I create a server that allows people to connect to me and also talk to a host of international people as well?

    As nice as it is been able to talk to people in my country only (Australia) is it as simple as ICQ in talking to people all over the globe?

    I know not everyone would want to join such a system however this is what is required to really become popular with the *average* user, ie not anyone reading slashdot.
    • Re:Interconnected? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by samael ( 12612 ) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:11AM (#6159236) Homepage
      Yup. IIRC, everyone has an address of username@jabberserver

      You connect to your jabber server and when you connect to a user on a different one, your server talks to the other one and passes the message across, just like happens with email.
    • Re:Interconnected? (Score:5, Informative)

      by the_olo ( 160789 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:35AM (#6159287) Homepage

      Yes, server to server connections are a normal thing in Jabber. In fact, a jabber userID (the JID which identifies a user or a service on a server) resembles an e-mail address - it has a form of: user@domain.

      For example I've created a simple HOWTO on setting up server to server connections with Jabberd 1.4.2 on OpenBSD, you can read it here [altkom.com.pl].

      Moreover, Jabber protocol uses UTF-8 encoding for all communication and config files, so there are no problems with different character encodings - you don't have to mess with anything to write messages with polish diacritical characters, chinese, cyrillic or arabic!

      Actually, the Jabber protocol is gaining quite a big popularity here in Poland as more people are getting tired with local proprietary IM system called GaduGadu [gadugadu.pl] which provides the official client only for windows (although multiple unofficial have been created for Linux and BSD).

      There's also a central web site [jabber.itn.pl] for Jabber in Poland, and already there are multiple public servers like chrome.pl or jabber.atman.pl.

      The largest polish web portal, Wirtualna Polska [www.wp.pl] has even provided its own public Jabber server and has developed official client that supports voice and video chat through Jabber!

      It's good to see Australia go in the same direction!

    • The short answer is - yes. However it doesn't require a seperate system to make the servers talk to each other.

      Jabber is similar in concept to email, in that all net-connected Jabber servers can talk to all other net-connected Jabber servers. When you send a message to a friend on another server, your server simply passes the message along to the other server, which then delivers it to your friend.
  • something similar (Score:5, Informative)

    by leekwen ( 677248 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:07AM (#6159231)
    i've been using miranda [miranda-im.org] for a while now.

    it allows for protocol plugins so that you can use it with different IM networks. Check the site, people have been making tons. they get pretty whacky too, i know game server plugins exist. maybe a jabber plugin too. it puts it all into one nice clean little client unless you want it ugly and bloated and trillianish.

    miranda itself doesn't give you a server to IM everybody on but the way it's designed it should be simple to modify it so that it does. this is the biggest difference between miranda and jabber.

    miranda is open source, but the program is buggy (maybe only for me, maybe because i'm using windows client). so hurrah for them.
    • I'm using Miranda and its Jabber plugin [au.edu] when in Windows. It's a nice little IM client, the plugin doesn't have advanced Jabber features like file transfer etc., but I only need it for chatting anyway. Haven't noticed any instabilities.

      Watch out though, you currently need Miranda's nightly builds to use the latest plugin release.
  • Nice in theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trozy ( 666364 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:17AM (#6159248)
    While it sounds like a great idea, I'm sceptical as to whether it will actually become widely used.

    The big players have already claimed a significant section of the market. And the IM market is subject to the first mover effect (first in gets the biggest share) and the network effect (you need people to get people). It doesn't matter how good the protocol is, if there are only 10 other people you can talk to with it, it is not of much use.

    Not to meantion that Microsoft's Messenger (*shudder*), comes stock standard with Windows XP, and is a "built in feature", just like the DOJ thing with IE. I wasn't able to purge it from my system, through any control panel, but had to locate the directory and remove it the old fashioned way. Sadly I think this is far beyond the skills of your average GUI-domesticated user, so people will just end up using it.

    If you could get the major IM clients to conform to the protcol everything would be fine and dandy, but good luck with that....
    • At least in Australia, the IM market has changed hands at least once, only it was ICQ to Microsoft! I don't see why it can't change hands to Jabber if we provide what users want (we'll need to make it easy for them and we'll need a fancy looking client of which RhymBox already is).
    • the IM market is subject to the first mover effect (first in gets the biggest share)

      Well, the first mover was ICQ. I still have my ICQ number from when I first signed up, but hardly anyone I know still uses it.

      and the network effect (you need people to get people).

      MSNM seems to have the most people. Mind you, hotmail probably has the most email users, and it's still not as ubiquitous as Microsoft would like (although I was asked by someone at the beginning of the year what my 'hotmail address' was *

      • Re:Nice in theory (Score:3, Informative)

        by sirinek ( 41507 )
        MSNM seems to have the most people

        NO! I see this claimed constantly, and its simply not true.

        AOL IM has many times the active users of MSN's IM software. Now, thats not counting "has the client installed", which would mean almost all Windows users. Most of them don't use it though! My sister had no idea what it even was until I told her! I'm betting msot people are the same way.
        • NO! I see this claimed constantly, and its simply not true.

          I didn't say that MSN has the most users, just that it seems to have the most users. The point is important. I don't care if AIM has 100 times more users. If everyone I want to speak to uses MSNM then I have to use MSNM (or Jabber with an MSNM transport, which I actually use).

  • Jabber is the future (Score:5, Informative)

    by jrepin ( 667425 ) <`moc.1kcedoloh' `ta' `plj'> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:20AM (#6159256) Homepage
    Jabber is a great protocol and it has a lot of flexibility in it and will expand into who know what in the future. It is also quite popular here and it became my main IM protocol a few months ago. I use Miranda IM with Jabber plugin and it works perfectly stable. In Linux I use Gabber and it laso works just fine. I have a Jabber server runing on my home LAN and so we can easily chat even if the internet connection is down.

    Thanks to all working on Jabber and clients for bringing us this great piece of code!
  • by TelcusFreshbreeze ( 601347 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:34AM (#6159283)
    We recently deployed Jabber as our company IM protocol (yay, more waste of time). Unfortunately, our computers are somewhat backwards and the de facto standard has been Windows 95 (Yeah I know, I know) with a sprinkling of XP. The client that runs on the XP Machine is very, very nice. This client unfortunately doesn't run on 95. So we have a very substandard substitute for most of our workers. (BTW, If anyone knows of a good looking Jabber Client that runs on 95, I would be very grateful). Anyways, apart from client issues. The best bit about Jabber is that you can set up your own server, independent of ones run by the producers of the product (ala Yahoo or ICQ). So it is very good in a business setting where you want everyone to keep in touch without clogging email or wasting phone time.
  • Openness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:40AM (#6159296)
    "The key advantage in Jabber remains in the openness," says Lunn.

    The problem is that the average Joe doesn't seen openness as an advantage. If it doesn't allow him/her to chat to Rita, Bob and Sue on MSN and/or ICQ, then he's not going to change.

    Openness is great and good and is a worthwhile goal, but unfortunately you have to tell Joe that in order to get the full advantages that Jabber has to offer he's going to have to change his client AND get his friends to change (and they'll not want to change unless their friends are going to change too).

    Unfortunately for a lot of people - that sounds like too much hard work and they'll stick to MSN or ICQ.

    Side note: Most of my friends use MSN these days having initally been initially on ICQ (we're talking 5-7 digit UID's) and they're not all techies. Some far from it.

    • Re:Openness (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Narcissus ( 310552 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:58AM (#6159346) Homepage
      Unless, as other people have mentioned is happening, they start to use it at work. When you use a tool at work often enough, you grow accustomed to it and look to using it at home.

      Also, I see a potential for this in schools. Instead of having a pen friend, or email friend, as schools seem to be encouraging, there's no reason why they couldn't push for IM friends, I guess. The beauty of having the server code open source, and the standard open, is that there's no reason why you couldn't implement a "closed system" of student servers. They could still use it from school or home by connecting to their school's server, but you could still talk to other students connected, too.
      • Another advantage of closed servers on college campuses is that the traffic doesn't leave your network. While your network may run on fiber, chances are your T3 has somewhat more limited bandwidth. If your students do most of their chatting (and file trading) through local machines, it saves real money on upstream. The odd off-network connection cannot compete with what is transfered around the dorms proper.

    • Re:Openness (Score:5, Informative)

      by RickHunter ( 103108 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @06:44AM (#6159416)

      Except, and if you'd even looked at any article about Jabber for more than five seconds you'd know this, Jabber does let you talk to your friends using MSN/ICQ/AIM/Yahoo. And without any wierd client-side stuff, either! In fact, that's what I use Jabber for right now - a nicer client for talking to all my friends who use ICQ/AIM/whatever.

      Determining how Jabber performs this magic is left as an exercise for the reader.

      • Re:Openness (Score:3, Insightful)

        Determining how Jabber performs this magic is left as an exercise for the reader.

        That's a bit harsh, considering that all the popular Jabber servers were blocked from ICQ and AIM years ago (i remember when ours was), and the MSN transport is as far as I know, unmaintained.

        I used Jabber as an inter-IM solution for a long time, but eventually gave up and just use Gaim instead. Simpler. I still use Jabber, I'm in the unusual position of knowing a lot of people who use it, so it's imperative that I have a

        • Well, Psi [affinix.com] is a pretty nice client. I'd say its a quality client. I've also never had problems with transports getting blocked - all of the servers I've used have been able to connect to ICQ and AIM without problems. Of course, any attempt to interoperate with ICQ and AIM is eventually doomed - AOL has made it clear that they want people using their client and ONLY their client. The problem with doing all that client-side is that each program needs to implement its own ICQ/AIM/etc. handling, and can still be

      • You give the jabber server your AIM/ICQ/MSN/Yahoo username and password, and it signs on to that service for you. I'd rather manage my own connections with Gaim, though I do use Jabber, but only with the couple friends I've switched to it.
  • Jabber Australia (Score:5, Informative)

    by kNIGits ( 65006 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @05:48AM (#6159318) Homepage
    Jabber Australia was incorporated several days ago, and has half a dozen young enthusiasts on the committee. The article in The Age probably ran a little early, because we don't currently have any services to offer the public...yet. We are in the process of putting together our website/forums/server/services, and it should all be up and running within a week or so.

    Our current website is very basic, but it's standing up to the Slashdot Effect so far. :)

    - Tony (Jabber Australia Committee)
  • LinMagAU (Score:2, Informative)

    Some people may also be interested to see our coverage in LinMagAU
  • tlen.pl (Score:5, Informative)

    by jedrek ( 79264 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:06AM (#6159453) Homepage
    In Poland, a million users hang off a single server

    The server mentioned is run by tlen.pl, Poland's fastest growing communicator. Tlen has taken a big chunk out of both gadu-gadu and icq, both with notoriously poorly written clients and technical problems on the server-side. Tlen's approach has been similar to MSN's - along with a IM account you automatically get an email acct, which you can check in the communicator itself. It's actually a pretty nice package, if you can ignore the banner ads and the fact that they're up to version 4 and *you still can't search the archive*.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Along with Trillian and Gaim, another alternative is CenterICQ (console based for those who use screen!) CenterICQ site [konst.org.ua] CenterICQ fan site [centericq.de]
  • a very nice protocol (Score:5, Informative)

    by truth_revealed ( 593493 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:31AM (#6159507)
    Jabber is more than "just" an instant messaging thing - it's a simple bidirectional socket-based generic DTD-less XML protocol [jabber.org] that is computer-language agnostic. Unlike the request/response model of HTTP, Jabber messages are asynchronous (unsolicited messages allowed in both directions) and share a single socket connection until the session is complete. In each direction on the socket you have a single-rooted XML document. Each Jabber message is basically a sub-node of this document as parsed by your favorite SAX-style parser firing a callback when the message is received. There are some manditory tags for joining groups, broadcasting and requesting info among other things. For the most part you just support the message types that you care about and you can add your own application-specific messages with custom XML payloads. If a Jabber client or server is not familiar with a message type it is ignored. Nice. Simple. Effective.
  • Jabber rocks. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by porter235 ( 413926 )
    Open standard.
    XML based.
    server side transports.
    can be used for more than just IM (games etc. can use the same protocol, and it won't get a chat msg and a chess move mixed up)
    you can ENCRYPT! as well as SSL... (This is great for large companies who don't want all of their communications being routed through Microsoft or AOL)
  • by nich37ways ( 553075 ) <slashdot@37ways.org> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:13AM (#6159619) Homepage
    At work we have been playing the "No you can't use yahoo messenger for internal communications" game for a fair while now, with people continuing to try despite the explanations that putting potentialy sensitive information over a system we have no control over is totally unacceptable in any security model.

    Has anyone here succesfully rolled out Jabber in a corporate environment, how succesfull was it and how well did the users react to it?

    Can Jabber authentication be tied into standard linux/unix account authorization systems so that it becomes possible to tell users they have an account and to access they use there standard user login and password. I assume it is relatively easy to stop the jabberd from connecting to other jabber networks as this would be a must.
    • by azimir ( 316998 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @11:37AM (#6161341) Homepage

      Has anyone here succesfully rolled out Jabber in a corporate environment,

      At our institution we have deployed jabber quite successfully. Our implementation is quite open, but for you it sounds like a little more lockdown is in order. The main things that I can think of to help your jabber buisness case are:
      • Deploy your own jabber server
      • Decide on the *highly* recommended, or required client(s)
      • Create accounts that sync with your central authentication servers. This might take a small amount of code to translate accounts.
      • Decide if your users can have offsite accounts in their local clients. If they cannot, then block the jabber ports.
      • Decide if your jabber server will pass messages to offsite JIDs or not.

      This really is not that huge of a list, but creating a security model that satisfies management, users and sysadmins is rarely easy. If your users truly want/need an IM to use, jabber is the way to go. What other system gives you the ability to make all of the above choices yourself?

      Good luck in your endeavours!
    • Has anyone here succesfully rolled out Jabber in a corporate environment, how succesfull was it and how well did the users react to it?

      There have been quite a few, according to the Jabber mailing lists. We're working on one right now, and it has done rather poorly - most of the users are not very interested in keeping in touch. That and the clients are pretty bad. Oh, and the ones who do do IM already run on client, and are highly resistant to running another one. In other words: inertia is a big factor

    • Also, you can tie your current authentication systems into the server. jabberd, the open source server, can easily be extended with a script to use PAM (and there are several out there to do that), and there are also several scripts out to authenticate against a domain.

      There is a server for windows that allows you to authenticate directly to the domain.

    • I've rolled Jabber out in something worse than a corporate environment -- an academic environment. We have jabber (1.4.2) servers running on solaris boxen for the users of different clusters. We have the ability to authenticate against PAM or Radius. PAM allows us to authenticate anyone who has a UNIX account on the server. Radius allows us to authenticate against a much larger database. As of now, we do not connect the different servers together, but it is trivial to do so, even though we don't really
    • I work for a pharmacy company, we have about 12 pharm's located around Texas. Our main office has about 50 users. I rolled out a VPN based on freeSWAN over DSL to the pharms and one of the services I installed on the VPN was Jabber. Now all of our collectors and other administrative types can talk securely to the pharmacists without expensive long distance calls. So far the results have been very positive. The only problem is convincing users who have never been exposed to IM to use it instead of the phone.
  • by tst ( 35631 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:34AM (#6159734) Homepage

    Let me list some of its main advantage:

    1. Open Protocol.
    2. Many clients and servers to choose from.
    3. Scalable. Instead of a few huge server controlled by big corporations, there are many server run by anyone who wants to run a server that echanges information between them.
    4. Less vulnerable. There are no single point of failure.
    5. Able to talk with propietary protocols such as AIM and MSN

    6. The analogy with current email system is hard to miss. Think how bad it would be if you are forced to use joe@hotmail.com and joe@aol.com as the only way to exchange emails. Even worse, you have to log into joe@aol.com if you want to send email to bob@aol.com, and then having to log into joe@hotmail.com to send an email to alice@hotmail.com. Not to mention that having to use the name joe2001@icq.com because joe@icq.com is already taken by somebody else.

      Shameless plug: please try our jabber client at
      www.akeni.com [akeni.com]. It is runs natively on both Windows and Linux. It has some nice features such as tabbed chat window.

  • Don't you just love articles on /. that have just as cryptic description as the title providing no clue to what it's about if you never heard of "jabber"?
  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @11:13AM (#6161085) Homepage Journal
    The problem with Jabber used to be that it didn't work. This article has inspired me to give it another try, and I'm glad to say it does now work, so I'm going to try using it for a while.

    There's still a big problem that'll get in the way of user acceptance, however: it's extremely complicated. Some of the complication is unavoidable, in that you have a multi-server system with gateways to multiple external protocols. However, some of the issues are just down to the fact that it's a system where the clients are currently being designed and built by hackers, for hackers.

    What is a message queue? Why do I need to care about it? I've never seen any other IM client that expected me to deal with such a thing. "Close the event window going to compressed mode"? Uh, whatever.

    "Custom presence entries"? WTF is that, presence of people who don't exist? "Synchronize presence with multiple copies"--uh, why would I want that, in case I have multiple personalities? I just want to log on from wherever I am and have it work.

    I'm not trying to be picky here. I'm a computer scientist. If this thing isn't blatantly obvious to me without looking at the documentation, there is zero, I repeat, zero chance that my mother and my arts graduate friends will be able to deal with it.
    • Having used Jabber in a production environment for a while now, I have gotten to see many of the pros and cons of the protocol. I apologize if this sounds rude, but you have a skewed idea of "Jabber" the protocol, and "Jabber Clients" the software which interfaces with a specific jabber server. The solution to your issues can be answered by asking yourself a question: Is one jabber client giving you too much rope? The answer is simple! Use another one. There are plenty easy to use ones if you open you
  • well the msn transport really, is the fact that the nickname only shows up as a custom away status, and not as the actual name in the contact list. Does anybody know of a way (or has anybody modified the transport and put it on their server) that will show a persons nickname in place of their email on the roster - I'm not talking a client side hack here that would replace the status, but something that would work regardless of the client.

    I seen somebody else mention that the transports are supposed to be a

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