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AIM Now (Mostly) Open To Developers 187

gregsblog writes "Today is a historic day at AOL as we announced a software development kit for AOL Instant Messenger. Open AIM will empower you, as the developer, to write custom clients and plugins. For now, lets concentrate on the Open AIM SDK and get into what it can do for you. First, the development kit is written using COM, so plugins and custom clients can be written for Windows in languages like C++, VB, C#, and eventually J-Script. In the near future we will have solutions for LINUX, MAC and Windows Mobile devices. Why is this important? We now have a solution to provide all AIM users and consumers to build their own IM clients and to extend the features of Triton via plugins. Of course all of this is free of charge. How do I get started? Well my team has provided a quick start guide, and tutorials, in addition to numerous coding examples, from the simple to the complex. Our examples are in C++ and C#. What are the limitations? Basically anything goes, with the exception of writing multi-headed clients."
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AIM Now (Mostly) Open To Developers

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  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) < minus caffeine> on Monday March 06, 2006 @09:31AM (#14857200) Homepage
    No, they're not releasing protocol specs from the looks of it. They're releasing a closed source library that people can write their apps around.

    BTW, multi-protocol clients a la Gaim and Trillian are verboten with this new library.
  • by ursabear ( 818651 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @10:06AM (#14857379) Homepage Journal
    I, for one, am very glad they're making steps to opening the API to outside developers.

    But one critical question comes to mind: In the past, AOL has been very picky and fussy about "non-authorized" tools and processes accessing their "IM network infrastructure." Their TOS does not (or, at least, did not) allow anything other than genuine AOL AIM clients to access their infrastructure.

    Does this new development opportunity change the TOS such that non-AOL AIM clients can now access the infrastructure (while remaining within the boundaries of acceptability)? Several companies have banned anything other than genuine AIM clients because of AOL's AIM TOS. Has this changed?
  • by sreekotay ( 955693 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @10:09AM (#14857390) Homepage
    Just for context, this may feel small from the outside (and perhaps it is), but it is directionally indicative of a big cultural shift from AOL. The one thing to keep in mind is that this is NOT about IM network interop - its about opening the AIM network up for "customization". I expect I'm not the only AOL employee that discusses this further on his/her blog: graphicallyspeaking so (some) more info there...
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Monday March 06, 2006 @10:28AM (#14857517)
    Using that logic, you cannot distribute under the GPL3 an app created for a third party service that requires a identification code or key, without the distributor creating said codes for every downloader. And that may be against the terms of service. Think 'Google API' for a good example.
  • by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @11:15AM (#14857845) Journal
    With the limitations imposed by the license, there doesn't seem to be much value to this. Thinking out of the box though, perhaps it is a setup for new lawsuits against the other clients cracking into the network. By opening up, even to this limited extent, they may be countering some of the arguments anticipated where other clients are claiming that AOL left them no viable alternative other than reverse engineering the protocols and cracking in.
  • Re:libgaim (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Geoffreyerffoeg ( 729040 ) on Monday March 06, 2006 @11:24AM (#14857925)
    So, in other words, AOL are going to have something much more limited than libgaim (AIM protocol only) available in the "near future"?

    And legal.

    IIRC anyone who's ever agreed to AIM's click-through license has promised that they won't try to crack the protocol. And it's hard to crack the protocol without running AIM. The only previous open library for AIM was TOC, which is very limited.

    And if you're going to break the AIM client license and reverse-engineer it, then why not as well break the Open AIM license and get something equally legal but with better compatibility? Or use Open AIM for the purposes they allow you to (if you can manage it) and not break any licenses?
  • It already exists: []

    My apologies to Tienshiao if I just slashdotted his server.

    (AIM client for the Treo 600/650 which uses a direct TOC connection... no sms needed)

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