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AOL to Replace AIM with Triton 240

An anonymous reader writes "BetaNews is reporting that AOL has begun beta testing a replacement for its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) software. Triton has an entirely new user interface that adds highly anticipated features including tabbed messaging and logging. The client will also be open to third party plug-ins." From the article: "It is no coincidence that AOL is fielding so many betas concurrently. AOL Browser, an Internet Explorer based Web browser; AOL Media Player, a standalone audio and video player; AOL search technologies and AOL's synchronization utilities are all part of what was once a unified communications client called Fanfare."
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AOL to Replace AIM with Triton

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  • Pretty Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by endtwist ( 862499 )
    Pretty interesting stuff. Hopefully it wont suck like the latest AIM versions...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @03:58PM (#12351233)
    "OMG WTF?!?!?"
  • Deja Vu (Score:5, Informative)

    by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @03:58PM (#12351241)
    Sounds familiar [sourceforge.net]
    • Re:Deja Vu (Score:3, Insightful)

      by me at werk ( 836328 )
      I've seen screens before it came out of alpha, and it's also directly ripping off iChat's messaging window. You don't know what I'm talking about? Thank goodness for google images and bloggers [ohio-state.edu] with their screenshots [chumpco.com].
      • Re:Deja Vu (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arose ( 644256 )
        Ugly, worse than ugly.
      • That appears to be an early iChat, not AIM

        triton looks much different
        http://beta.aol.com/projects/tritonbeta /index.html ?
        go to testing instructions for SSes
        • Yes, it's iChat. I don't have the AIM screens handy, they are saved at home. However, trust me, they have exactly-like-that chat now available, which I had seen in Kopete (which copied it from iChat).
    • ...except without the ability to connect to other IM networks. Really, why should I use an IM client that doesn't allow me to connect to people on other networks, and forces ads down my throat?
      • They've already mentioned the ability of others to write plugins. I'd expect at least a Jabber plugin PDQ for this, which would give you all the multi-system chatting you could want.
    • The only reason that I don't use GAIM on my WinXP box is because I;ve never been able to resize the font in the default skin. I tried the little GUI config, editing some GTK file, playing with all sorts of crap and nothing.. still too small to be read comfortably. So, for that issue and that issue alone, GAIM lost out to Miranda.
  • I'll stick with trillian...
    • You and me, both.

      If I just used AIM, then Triton might interest me.

      However, some of my friends insist on having MSN names (I guess they like putting an entire fucking paragraph in for their handle,) so I'd just rather have one catch-all program, which Trillian does quite fine since I upgraded to v3. I'm dissapointed that it took so long for me to be able to see the fonts that other users had set, though. Before, it just always showed my font for everyone, regardless of their settings.

      Now, if only they'd

    • I totally get your point- being able to talk with people using different clients is from one source is handy. But I don't think Trillian is the killer app people make it out to be. I've used it, and yeah it's OK, but Trillian is basically just an IM client aggregator- it doesn't provide any messaging capabilities itself, I don't find any of its own features that useful, you still have to have an account with each service you want to use, and until recently that was kind of a pain in the ass (cue flaming ar
      • For me, waiting for the next release and wondering if it's in there sucks.

        Welcome to the world of closed-source crippleware.

        Now I wish there was a software like Trillian but open source. Oh, and I tried GAIM, but the bugs and lack of features made me go back to trilly'.

        Sucks, doesn't it?
      • There's no tabbed messaging

        Tabbed messaging has been in Trillian since 2.0. See here [trillian.cc].

        you still have to have an account with each service you want to use

        For at least a couple of the services, you can do this right through Trillian (for the others, it loads up a web page just like the official client does). I don't see how this is any different than what you'd do with an official client.

        Trillian is basically just an IM client aggregator- it doesn't provide any messaging capabilities itself

        Well, being an IM client aggregator pretty much makes it a killer app in itself (yes, I know there are others, but that alone instantly puts it a rung above all "official" IM clients, as does the lack of ads).

        Being nicely designed and skinnable puts it yet again a step above even most other aggregators. Trillian 3.0 is so far ahead of any other IM client in terms of clean visual presentation throughout that it's not even funny. All apps should look this good by default, and if by some remote chance you don't like it, you can just download a new skin. The entire UI is skinnable, not just the outer edges. It also supports all sorts of plugins, from RSS readers to IM forwarders to weather.

        Having features like tabbed messaging and 128-bit encryption is yet another point in its favor. No other freely downloadable Windows-based IM clients have these features, that I know of.

        In short, Trillian does a lot of things, does some things no other IM client does, and everything it does do, it does well. AOL is apparently copying many of the features of Trillian in Triton, which should tell you something - I don't personally know anyone who actually uses the regular AIM client anymore.
        • Gaim, my own preferred IM client, is available as a free downloadable win32 exe. It supports just about every protocol (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, jabber, IRC, etc), has tabbed messaging, and also lacks ads.

          Since it's gtk2 based, you can apply whatever themes you want to it (and it will also integrate into your desktop that way if you happen to run it under linux). And the free gaim-encryption [sourceforge.net] plugin allows secure messaging as well, in an easy to setup/use interface. In addition to all these features, it's Free,

    • The client will also be open to third party plug-ins.

      It probably will connect with multiple IM services. It will probably have ads, though.

  • Cool. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rekenner ( 849871 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @03:59PM (#12351246) Homepage
    Stuff that programs like Trillian (Windows), GAIM (windows, Linux), Fire (osx), and Dead AIM (Windows, add on) have had for years.

    And then VoIP? Skype...

    Nothing new to see here, move along...
  • by angst7 ( 62954 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @03:59PM (#12351247) Homepage
    adds highly anticipated features including tabbed messaging and logging

    I've been using this for quite a while, though. It's called Gaim [sourceforge.net].

    • Is it me or does loading gaim screw up people's buddylist? By screwing up, I'm referring more to the order of the buddies, than actually removing buddies.

      I've stayed far far away after using it several times and it always happens.

      On the other hand, plugins for tabbed messaging and logging already exist. AOL just likes to "upgrade" whenever such a plugin exist and breaks the plugin. I think many of them have just given up seeing that there's a lack of motiviation recently since none of the aim patches supp
      • It doesn't screw my buddy list up per se, but I get a couple hundred (literally) windows telling me a buddy list request needs to be sent to someone that's been on my list for years, and I end up having to kill the process to get everything cleaned up. Doesn't do it on the Linux version, only the Windows one. I normally use Trillian otherwise, but I find the tabbed windowing to be a bit spotty at times.
      • By default, I believe gaim sorts your buddies alphabetically. Go to Preferences \ Interface \ Buddy List and switch the "Buddy List Sorting" to "none" or whatever you want.
    • Personally, I dislike, even hate, tabbed messaging windows. It's wonderful for browsing, but horrible for IMing. I don't want to, if I'm in another window doing real work, have to alt-tab, and then use the mouse or execute another keyboard command to bring up the appropriate IM conversation - I'd wind up giving messages to the wrong people and getting everything all screwed up.

      So, all that being said, they should make certain that tabbed IM conversations can be disabled. Surely I'm not the only one tha
  • early beta (Score:5, Informative)

    by frieked ( 187664 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @03:59PM (#12351254) Homepage Journal
    It is worth noting that this is still an early beta.
    I installed it this morning and had frequent crashes so I switched back to the regular 5.9 version.

    Here's a select quote from the betanews forums:
    "Why is it that so many small or independent developers give us so much quality software, often without reward, and huge companies like AOL can only spit out this bloated garbage?"
    • Re:early beta (Score:5, Interesting)

      by barzok ( 26681 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:19PM (#12351446)
      Because the small guy actually cares about the product, has passion around it, enjoys the work, and wants to put out something that makes him look good. He's also far more likely to "dogfood" the application, so it has to work for him before anyone else.

      Huge companies like AOL (this is a generalization!) only care about the bottom line, and the passion & interest for the product isn't nearly as strong at the level of the developers. They aren't building something they believe in, they're building what they're paid to build. Add in "too many chiefs, not enough indians" (basically, every mid-level manager and marketdroid has to get their word in and impose their will) and the end result is bloated garbage.
      • Add in "too many chiefs, not enough indians" (basically, every mid-level manager and marketdroid has to get their word in and impose their will) and the end result is bloated garbage.

        Don't you mean, "Too many chiefs, too many Indians?"

        Actually though, I think this has more to do with a bottom-line management style with a warpspeed dev cycle, rather than a deficit in quality talent. (though is anyone really attracted to working at AOL given the crap we see come out of there?)
    • "Why is it that so many small or independent developers give us so much quality software, often without reward, and huge companies like AOL can only spit out this bloated garbage?"

      Because small developers (even freeware/open source) have to compete for mindshare to survive. An established giant like AOL or Microsoft with a captive audience does not. They stagnate, and begin to focus on extracting more money from said captive audience than gaining a larger, more loyal, or happier audience.

      The little guy
  • by Jeremy.DeGroot ( 878927 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:02PM (#12351283)
    A lot of those features touted in the headline are features that I've been using for years with alternative clients. Oh, but what's this? Support for VOIP? Address books? Plug-in architechture? Now it's sounding more interesting. I may have to start using the AIM client again.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:02PM (#12351286)
    Answering another user grievance, AOL will pair down the number of preference options in AIM, taking what it refers to as a "smarter approach." A spokesperson said that the current AIM client was heavy with preferences because, "We couldn't decide one way or another."
    But they still tacked on tons of ads and annoying pop-up windows, the dumb approach. Hopefully the new version will be ad-free and user friendly. Is this possible?
    • As far as I can tell, they've taken away pop-up windows (AIM Today screen), and even put a handle on SPIM, with the IM Catcher.

      There isn't even a stock ticker on there anymore.
      So, where are you getting "they still tacked on tons of ads and annoying pop-up windows, the dumb approach."?
  • New *client* (Score:5, Informative)

    by gregfortune ( 313889 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:02PM (#12351287)
    Just as a clarification, this is *not* a new protocol. This is a new client that integrates the AIM protocol and functionality with other services.

    • Re:New *client* (Score:3, Informative)

      by MCron ( 737313 )
      To expand on that, AOL has two protocols, OSCAR (which is used by the AIM client and Triton as well as gAIM and Trillian) and TOC (which was released in 1997 for third-party developers).

      While TOC has been fairly crippled, OSCAR is still expanding (server storage of aliases, for example) and shows no sign of needing replacement.
    • Such a shame, too... I was hoping they might just implement XMPP. ;-)
  • TRITON!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jicksta ( 760596 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:03PM (#12351291) Homepage

    Now with bigger, more explosive ads!
  • by matt me ( 850665 )
    features such as logging and tabbed conversations. cutting edge innovations? ha! i think not. maybe they should call it agaim or something. now they're taking stuff back.

    looking at http://images.betanews.com/betanews/articles/11144 80209/triton.png screenshot they are quite clearly trying to replicate MSN 6 to 'please' users. same ugly style. expect similar bloat.
  • I'm going to stick with trillian.
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:05PM (#12351314)
    I think now I'll write a P2P application that runs on top of Triton called Tritonster. When AOL inevitably sues me for trademark infringement I'll claim that my daughter's nickname has been Tritonee for some time.

    Sounds like a winning business plan [answers.com] to me!
  • Opening Up? (Score:3, Informative)

    by MCron ( 737313 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:06PM (#12351325) Homepage
    They say they will be opening up to third party developers.
    I checked the acccore.dll file, and seems to have some pretty extensive hooks. All the same, this is entirely client-side.

    Recently, they have been clamping down more and more on third-party developers of services on the network. For example, a free offline messaging service, DoorManBot [doorman.info] was forced offline for a few days recently. Hopefully, this new spirit of being open to developers will carry through.
  • Not very impressive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kimos ( 859729 ) <kimos.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:09PM (#12351343) Homepage
    I live in Canada so have never used AIM. I am, however, an avid user of Trillian [ceruleanstudios.com] and GAIM [sourceforge.net] over ICQ and MSN. Now I'm not sure if it's just me, but offering tabbed chatting and logging features doesn't seem that impressive to me. Honestly, I wouldn't use a client that didn't log conversations and offer some type of window control.

    I didn't RTFM, but I hope that those aren't the best features that Triton has to offer...
  • by pg110404 ( 836120 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:16PM (#12351411)
    With the advances in CD/DVD burning and buffer underrun protection, I've not made any coasters in a really long time.

    It's like c'mon, what else can I put my cup/glass on? I don't even get the Bell sympatico CDs anymore either.

    Cheap bastards. Don't they know their CDs are actually worth something to me?
  • awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ohzero ( 525786 ) <onemillioninchange@yahoo . c om> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:16PM (#12351417) Homepage Journal
    it'll be like....trillian 0.9B!!
  • by jhewitt ( 120161 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:20PM (#12351459) Homepage
    Triton was completely re-written from scratch using a new GUI toolkit called "Boxely", which was derived from Mozilla's XUL. As a result, this new AIM is extremely extensible, and hackable.

    Poke around in C:\Program Files\Common Files\AOL\AIMBeta\services and you'll find a bunch of javascript and xml files (ending in .box). These contain the code that drives the entire product. You can easily modify and extend AIM, just as you can write extensions for Firefox with XUL. This is no accident, AOL wants developers to build on AIM as a platform.

    When I worked at AOL, I developed Boxely as a fun side project. I left the company a year ago, but they kept my project alive and now seem to be building real software with it. I probably should have open sourced it from the beginning.

    On my blog I've written more about Boxely and how it compares to XUL: http://www.joehewitt.com/
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You might want to double-check with any AOL contacts... pretty sure Boxley was gutted due to Python guts.
    • They did replace the Python script wrapper with Javascript, and they have optimized the code quite a bit and added some new features. However, as far as I can tell, the markup language and general architecture hasn't changed much at all.
  • by jtriska ( 520530 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:21PM (#12351469)
    Just what does this client do that it needs more than a 600mhz computer?

    I got the installer, which was annoying as it's not even an installer at all but an install-getter, and it immediately prompted me with the message "Your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements to download and install AIM® Beta."
  • Security? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tuxlove ( 316502 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:25PM (#12351513)
    The client will also be open to third party plug-ins.

    Yay! More ways for spyware and viruses to take control of your computer! And propagate themselves to your friends' computers too. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
  • by AdityaG ( 842691 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:30PM (#12351559) Homepage
    I know AOL doesn't have a record of doing smart things, but if they actually make the client non-shitty, it can only help. People won't generally switch to Gaim and Trillian, because they don't know the company. People want a name brand. We see this with Linux vs. Windows and such.

    So if they actually make a better client, maybe one that instantly kills noob fuxx0rs, the world will be a better place.
  • I'm not sure why they decided that they need such a huge change from what they already had, I always thought that (exessive ads from in the buddy list aside) AIM had a pretty decent UI. In fact, the only thing that ever really annoyed me about AIM was it allowing people to set the background color on their text, because people seem to invariably love sending lime green text on a hot pink background, or something else equally blinding. But looking at the screenshots of this new client, it seems bulky and w
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:45PM (#12351695) Homepage Journal
    "It is no coincidence that AOL is fielding so many betas concurrently."

    What, did they get bought by Google?
  • Adium (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot . ... t a r o nga.com> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:47PM (#12351713) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like they were paying attention to Adium, which is webkit rather than gecko based but otherwise sounds similar.

    Well, except that Adium works with just about every IM service out there.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    AOL bought them a few years ago for 350 million and didnt do anything with it. ICQ had everything AIM didnt why dont they just use ICQ.
  • by British ( 51765 ) <british1500@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @04:49PM (#12351732) Homepage Journal
    It's been a while since i used AIM(I use trillian instead), but do new windows pop up *and* give focus ?

    Always hated that. You're typing in the first half of a sentence to person A, and right at that moment Person B messages you, and you accidentally end up tying the rest of the sentence to person B. '

    Of course if you're shit-talking about person B, you end up with egg on your fae.
  • ...like using pure Flash for advertisements?

    I had to switch to GAIM not for any particular feature, but to get rid of the advertising.

    Seemed the version of AIM I was using at the time allowed Flash advertisements with sound, and the sound completely ignored my other settings in the AIM client to turn all sounds off.

    so here i am, in my quiet little room trying to get work done, and suddenly I get interrupted by a trailer for some movie coming from the one app that should have been totally silent.

    I was not amused.

    and AIM was off my box in seconds.
    • Truth to that. Same thing happened to my boss while we were in a meeting with her. Unless they take away the worthless sound ads or some guy comes up with another ad hack I am not going anywhere near it.
    • by zerkon ( 838861 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @05:51PM (#12352350)
      Don't even get me started on AIM advertising, how about one day I walk over to my computer and the Java VM is running... odd there isn't a browser open... all thats open is AIM?? last thing I need is aim using up (in addition to the already bloated software that it is) an additional 20MB of ram to run Java...

      then of course there is the "mouse over to hear" advertising that comes blaring out of my speakers when I minimize a window and mouse over by accident...

      and my gf wonders why i use gaim
    • Yeah, I remember that...it was a little before I moved to Linux, and I wrote a little batch file to block the AIM ad servers (that served that audio ads) with the hosts file. It was a limited time thing, as I remember, it was a 2 week(month?) trial of audio ads to see what the response was. Though I can't be 100% sure since I don't use Windows or AIM, I'm pretty sure those audio ads are no longer in service because the response was overwhelmingly horrible. -Jay
    • I moved off of any official ICQ application because the little add window made that damn IE click noise every time it changed the ad. I was willing to put up with the ads - AOL was providing a service to me, but I tend to keep five or six ICQ windows open at a time, leading the a chorus of clicking noises. I tried deleting the sound file that appeared to be the one they were using it to no avail.
  • Does this mean they are finally going to ditch ICQ? While it used to be popular in the late 90s I think I have two people left on my list who still use it.

    I never understood why AOL wanted to have two toally separate IM clients. I realize that AIM and ICQ are using the same protocol (or close) now, but they really should have merged the clients or picked one or the other by now.
    • Re:future plans? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by prionic6 ( 858109 )
      ICQ is still the big thing over here in germany. I have only two people that use AOL on my contact list, none use MSN, none YIM. You can add AIM-Contacts through any ICQ-Client and vice versa by simply using AIM handle or ICQ number... You can even _connect_ to the AIM Server with your ICQ data and it uses your contact list! The problem about it is your contacts show up as ICQ numbers, not names. Even regarding using AIM-Contacts over ICQ servers I still prefer a multi-protocol client so that I don't show u
  • hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Incudie ( 875860 )
    First they are copying Gaim... next well see a CLI version like Naim for the windows CMD. http://handhelds.freshmeat.net/projects/naim/
  • ... "Triton" should read "Gaim"

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