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Basic Internal Instant Messaging Solution? 155

sk8dork asks: "I am pretty much _the_ internal IT person at the company I work for and I am recognizing the need for internal Instant Messaging more and more each day. While email is quick and easy to send, it's not always the quickest way to get your message to someone when they're not monitoring their inbox every second of the day. Having come from a position in Dell tech support I've experienced the MS communications solution but was put off by the instability of it and, now that I've looked into purchasing it, the steep price as well. For more stability we often used an internal IRC channel, but most people would either not login or they'd just be put off by its complexity. In this new company, where close to no one is 'computer savvy', I am in need of an Instant Messaging solution that is easy to use, secure, limited to our network, and inexpensive. I'd like to stay away from the mainstream IM clients such as Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ and others. We're running Windows Server 2003 for Small Business (sorry) and will be soon upgrading out of the SBE to regular Windows Server 2003. Any helpful information will be greatly appreciated."
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Basic Internal Instant Messaging Solution?

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  • Open Source (Score:5, Informative)

    by packetmon ( 977047 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:25PM (#15529326) Homepage
    Jabber [] along with Exodus [] works wonders. When I worked at a small/mid sized (200 employees) business I configured this across the board along via VPN. It was secure, fast, stable and as good as any IM client and server I've come across. I configure employees into groups in accordance with their office (e.g. NY, Miami, Mass, etc.). Workers were able to transfer files when necessary, vent gripes without worrying about snooping, etc.
    • The other advantage of Jabber is that you can setup your server to be able to interact with other jabber servers on the Internet. So for example, can send a jabber message to, without having to log into the gtalk server (actually Google might be blocking this, but it would definitely work to

      I wish I could get more of my friends over to Jabber. I can have the power of running my own server with the flexibility of being to talk to anyone on the Interne
      • Indeed. I had employees using their AIM, Yahoo accounts on Exodus as well. Well, those employees I trusted. There are a slew of other functions as well including group chats, broadcast messages (via plugins), etc. I stood away from clustering with any servers though since it was meant to be an internal messaging system. The configuration is easy and the only issue I came across was having to explain to the older employees how to accept files and send them. Yes it was as simple as reading the prompts, but he
      • Nope, Google works with the wider Jabber net. No group conversations though.
      • My company was recently acquired, and our new Texan overlords use an annoying homebrew IM system :-)

        But before that, we used a Jabber-based system that included one server inside the firewall and one server outside the firewall (probably in a DMZ), which meant that I could use the corporate IM system from work and also from home, on or off a VPN connection, which was amazingly convenient. It also meant that I could start up the IM client when I booted my laptop, and if I was at home, that meant that it c

    • Re:Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wordisms ( 624668 )
      I recommend giving the IRC servers you have now a try, but use Gaim [] to access them. It works very well and is very familiar to most users who use other IM clients at home.
      • Re:Open Source (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ZephyrXero ( 750822 )
        While I also suggest using some sort of local jabber server with Gaim, it'd probably be a good idea to install some sort of encryption plugin, like Off The Record [], to make sure no one's intercepting conversations from the inside of the network even.
        • An SSL connection to your jabber server is enough. No need for end-to-end encryption. If you don't trust your own internal server, what DO you trust?
          • Re:SSL is enough (Score:4, Informative)

            by GiMP ( 10923 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @09:10AM (#15531490)
            There is substantial benefit for the higher-ups to have end-to-end encryption. With an end-to-end encryption, the parties at both ends can discuss things like terminating the systems administrator or confidential information that may affect stock prices. With SSL, the systems administrator(s) can snoop.
    • Re:Open Source (Score:5, Informative)

      by gi-tux ( 309771 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:31PM (#15529355) Homepage
      Or pickup the software from JiveSoftware []. They have a client and server. The server can even tie into you Active Directory Domain if I remember correctly. I used an earlier version of their server with both Exodus and Gaim (before they had their own client).
      • I've used it and prefer it over Jabberd2 what I ended up using. :( My coworkers didn't understand that point and click web based administration (imagine that!). Jive definitely rocks. If the person asking this wants even more security along with VPN's (if he has them) he could set up proxies, etc.. Come to think of it, if he doesn't have VPN security, he may just want to use SASL or TLS. I know I wouldn't want to be sending propietary messages over the net without encryption.
      • and let's not forget that it has support for asterisk. The list of contacts gets updated with who's on the phone, etc. and there's a pop-up with the caller ID on your screen (bottom right corner).
    • You can set up your own Jabber server behind the firewall. You can take your pick of the various IM clients to use -- most of them implement Jabber.

      When I was interested in such things (2002), I bought and read O'Reilly's Programming Jabber. No doubt it's dated by now, but it's my recollection that it was thorough and helpful.
    • Another huge advantage of Jabber (on top of having several clients & servers, most IM functions of the concurrence and the ability to bridge to the global Jabber networks including GMail as well as to Hotmail and Yahoo servers) is that it's the only IM with ICQ that can still send messages offline...

      Which allows you to get pretty much rid of e-mail for anything but the cases when e-mails are required.

    • There are really two IM standards that matter - the better developed one is Jabber, and the emerging one is the SIP standard used for VOIP, which is a proxyable presence server that can support various media including text, VOIP, and video. Other than that, most of the choices tend to be proprietary, so you use clients like GAIM that tap into them. A number of the bigger IM services are moving from proprietary-only protocols to one of those two standards, and if you're doing VOIP anyway, it may make sense
      • &ltaol>me too</aol>

        100% agree that SIP is the best way to go forwards, as it means you've then got a user authentication database to hang a VOIP telephony system off when you want to go that way.

        also, whilst the other players might not like to inter-work too much with instant messaging, there's a slightly bigger chance of them doing SIP gateways for their voice chat.

  • Net Send and find a gui?
    • "Net Send and find a gui?"

      Heh. At a company I worked at a couple of years ago we had net send disabled becaues we kept getting ads through it.

      Well, since I'm wasting space with this post, I'll ask a question: Did Microsoft finally fix that in XP, or did they just disable the service by default?
      • Heh. At a company I worked at a couple of years ago we had net send disabled becaues we kept getting ads through it. Well, since I'm wasting space with this post, I'll ask a question: Did Microsoft finally fix that in XP, or did they just disable the service by default?

        It's called "use a firewall".
    • That would be WinPop.
  • Have you heard of DBabble []?
  • Jiveserver (Score:5, Informative)

    by s0abas ( 792033 ) <> on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:26PM (#15529335)
    We use JiveServer (Wildfire) [] and the associated spark client.

    It uses the jabber protocol and as such, can be used with a variety of IM clients.
    • Re:Jiveserver (Score:3, Informative)

      by #undefined ( 150241 )
      let me second jive software's wildfire jabber server. []

      it's java so it runs anywhere. i'm currently running it as a service on a windows 2000 workstation.

      the web admin interface is nice.

      i'm running the old version (jive messenger) as the newer plugins and expanded database support haven't been reason enough to upgrade and i don't consider security a big enough issue on an intranet. don't let my downplaying of the new plugins discourage you, but instead it should speak highly of how well the basic server ful
      • I would also recommend Psi as the client. Besides all those goodies you mentioned (cross-platform, easy to support, free and open source, open standards) there is the big advantage of Psi being, along google talk, pioneering the jingle protocol.

        For those who don't know, jingle is an extention to the XMPP protocol which delivers voice chat, which is nice.
    • Re:Jiveserver (Score:3, Informative)

      by gbobeck ( 926553 )
      I would also recommend Wildfire (formerly Jive).

      I set up a Wildfire server at Loyola University Chicago, and it was exceptionally easy and secure. Since we use LDAP authentication in our computer science, we were able to instantly have user accounts pre-loaded. For Windows users, Wildfire should integrate with active directory very easily.

      I would also recommend using Spark or Gaim as a jabber client.

      Of course, the Spark admin plug-in for Wildfire is a good addition, as it provides a localized download are
      • I can confirm that integrating with Active Directory is easy. We use Wildfire at my office and it took me about five minutes to get it talking to the LDAP service on our domain controller. It then take a few more minutes to get it providing VCards based on the directory information. It worked like a dream.

        We have users here using all sorts of different clients. I use Psi, while our single Mac user uses iChat. Some guys use Miranda IM so that they can use MSN Messenger as well. One lovely thing about Jabber

      • The medium-sized enterprise where I work has dynamic and often rigorous requirements, including
        - end-to-end security
        - the option to log centrally for multi-user chats
        - multiple client platforms
        - interoperation with external partners and collaborators who may use other services
        - alert delivery to external endpoints
        - sms integration
        - integration with internal groupware user administration

        I found all of this easy to do using GAIM as a default client with a Jabber server, AIM/Yahoo/MSN/IRC plugins on the server
    • Wildfire won a ServerWatch product award [] in the Real-Time Communications category, ahead of MS Live Communications Server.

      It may also be worth looking at ejabberd (which is what now uses).

    • Been there, done that...

      Wrote some documentation:

      Wildfire server with SSO and MS SQL []

      I recently had to do an implementation of Wildfire with Single Sign On, with a backend in Active Directory and Microsoft SQL server. This is with the Pandion client and pulling all the data from Active Directory and populating the client. Even if you think the documentation sucks, at least look at the links on the end if you want to know more information.
  • Jabber (Score:5, Informative)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:27PM (#15529338)
    I mean, honestly. []

    Yes, you can get a server for a Windows platform, yes you can pay for it too if it helps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:28PM (#15529340)
    I use this novel instant communication technique called talking.

    See I get up, or just raise my voice (depending on the situation) and talk to the person I want to have an instant communication with. It is pretty easy to have one-to-many instant messages, too.

    It is nice in that this instant messaging technique continues to work even if the server or network goes down.

    One the down side, it only works for short distances, but you can get the phone plug-in for longer distances. But with the phone plug-in it is tough to see if the person you want to send an instant message to is "on-line".

    The other downside is you can't change your avatar (aka buddy icon), and I don't like the way mine looks. Some people try to hack this sometimes (Halloween for example) but it rarely looks right. You can get your avatar professional altered but that cost a lot of money.

    • Not trying to be flamebait here, but I would have modded this up.

      How big can the place be if the guy is the only internal IT person?

      A shovel and a backhoe are both "technology" solutions. If you're digging a swimming pool, the backhoe is the better technology match. If you're planting two shrubs in your back yard, the shovel is the better technology match.

      Why can't a cell phone work here? Does the "instant" message need to be in text and not voice? I'll grant that it might be too difficult to t
      • Non-repudiation.
      • Actually, it can be quite usefull even in a small company with only one IT person. I used to work for a company where I was one of several programmers, and there were a few electronics engineers there as well. We had multiple office rooms and offices, and we only had one IT person. We used IM for communicating on our designs. It's rather difficult to copy and paste lines of code, URLs, chip docs and schematics with speech! ;)

        We might have had more IT people if the majority of our employees weren't so

      • actual conversations aren't logged and easily searchable. Also, you can't simply paste a chunk of code into an actual conversation, or transfer long URLs.

        "hey bob, what's up? Oh, right, yeah, just go to Reply&threshold=1&commentsort=0&mode=nested&pid=15 529472 [] and you'll find what you need. See ya tomorrow. Yeah, 188393. Right. commentsort equals zero, you got it. Later."
      • Why can't a cell phone work here?

        Maybe the reception in the building is horrible.

        Maybe the company doesn't want to purchase service for those that don't have phones already.

        Maybe it would be more efficient to be able to real-time IM someone while one or both of you are on the phone at the same time.

        Maybe they want to be able to give group annoucements without calling everyone's individual phone, waiting for them to check email, posting flyers, or disrupting workflow to have a meeting.

        Maybe it's useful (for
    • Sure, it seems like a reliable solution. But it doesn't work when you need it the most, like when all the air has been sucked out of the office. What are you going to use then?
    • Yeah, I kind of agree, for a company that's small and decidedly not tech-savvy. My company made an attempt with Skype, with these results:

      • About half of the old codgers were cool with the VoIP side of it.
      • Less than 20% figured out the text-based chat mode. And these were engineers! One guy thought it had something to do with online dating.
      • Everyone still uses phones and the intercom system.

      So, if you're willing to put some effort into training everyone on Jabber, go for it. Otherwise, just make sure e

    • by ichigo 2.0 ( 900288 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:05AM (#15530659)
      File transfers are a bit slow though. Also, outsiders tend to get confused when I stand up and say: "Hey Mike, here's that file you wanted. 10101011101011010100010101010011010101010110101010 01010010101010101010101010010101110101010101101010 10101100101101010100101101011101010101101101001010 10101010010001010100101001010010100101011010101010 10100101111101010101110101010010101000001010101000 00101010010101000101010000000000000001101111111111 11010101010000000110010101010100101010010101001010 10010101010010101010010101010010101011010101010101 010010101".
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Warn me next time, I can't see sick shit like that while at work! >: (

        10101011101011010100010101010011010101010110101010 01010010101010101010101010010101110101010101101010 10101100101101010100101101011101010101101101001010 10101010010001010100101001010010100101011010101010 10100101111101010101110101010010101000001010101000 00101010010101000101010000000000000001101111111111 11010101010000000110010101010100101010010101001010 10010101010010101010010101010010101011010101010101 010010101".

      • The other flaw is that nearby users are able to recieve traffic that's not intended for them. This can be mitigated by whispering, but this tends to result in increased data corruption and the need for retransmissions.

      • ESUj¥uVËTÕm*©)JV¥õ]R


  • However you spell it, isn't Rendezvous basically what you're looking for? I mean, that's the simplest way to do messages and file-sharing over a LAN, right? I think it's called Bonjour on a Mac. I've only used it once or twice, but it seems pretty simple.
    • Rendezvous is no more. It's called Bonjour now. Those are just Apple's fancy names for what everyone else calls "zeroconf".

      Zeroconf has nothing to do with IM or file-sharing. It's a network service configuration protocol. Think LDAP-helper here.
  • Even if one assumes that "we have a windows server, so everything must be on Microsoft's platform no matter what", I'm pretty sure there are a few legally free servers available that run on windows, in addition to the reference implementation and a few others that could easily be run on a scavenged box running Linux.

    XMPP is well documented, and it's easy to set up an "internal only" server for in-house use. You can also add more servers and link them together later if you end up needing to, for example, s

  • by penfern ( 760298 ) []

    The best jabber implementation that I have used is Wildfire by Jivesoftware. It was really really easy to install and setup (even with LDAP support), and our company has been using it for months and months. It's really great to have an internal IM server.
  • ICQ Groupware (Score:3, Informative)

    by bstrunk ( 535976 ) on Tuesday June 13, 2006 @10:31PM (#15529357)
    ICQ offers a groupware product, designed to be used on internal networks only. Best of all, its freeware. roupware.htm []
    • Re:ICQ Groupware (Score:2, Informative)

      The ICQ groupware beta - which is abandonware, and has been for years - is buggy, limited to 200 clients, and has absolutely no support. Go for something Jabber-based - I use jabberd2 and GAIM in our environment, but we're a mixed shop - FreeBSD/Samba (with OpenLDAP for the userbase), with Win2K/2K3 Servers where necessary. Jabberd works nicely in this, since it can use the LDAP database for authentication.
  • "I've experienced the MS communications solution but was put off by the instability of it..." [and] "... the steep price as well."

    Sometimes it seems to me that Microsoft is more of an adversarial behavior company than a software company.

    Today someone called from Microsoft, inviting people at my company to come to some kind of educational event. She had inaccurate information about my company, even though we have been selling Microsoft products for more than 20 years.

    The previous caller from Microso
  • Wildfire and Psi.
  • We used to use an app called LanChat at a previous office. Dead simple, does what the name says.

  • Waste may be an option: [] I haven't implamented it, but a while back I was looking at it to use for my dev team. It's opensource and I believe it was created by the NullSoft (Winamp) guys. I haven't looked at it in a while, so I don't know how stable it is but you could give it a try.
  • I'm frightened to live in a world where IRC is considered complex.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Have you tried Tonic []?

    We use it at work for instant messenging. It has a number of features similar to MSN/ICQ, etc but its LAN only and best of all its free!

    We have about 60 users online and the performance is very good.
    Their latest beta builds are improving nicely with features such as multichat so hopefully a new version will be released soon.
  • Uh. It's built in. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You've almost certainly got an instant messaging solution installed and fully functional on every one of your desktops right now. It uses less screen space than almost any 3rd party app and it supports single sign-on without configuration effort. Here's how to send someone a message using it:

    [windows+r] net send {username} {message text} [enter]

    P.S. The UNIX guys have a similar utility called "write" that's been on every UNIX-ish system I've ever used.

  • I have to say that Campfire [] is really cool. Although it is hosted, and not exactly IM, it's easier to set up and more productive than Jabber or IRC.
  • We use it where I work. Dead simple to use. Works a treat over the entire country. I wish I had more to offer as a rewiew but I am a mere fork-and-spoon operator in sector 7-G.

    More info at []
    • I was hoping that someone would mention e/pop.

      This was used to be a fairly good product (e/pop Professional). It offered encrypted communications, tied into various directory schemes *and* offered you a built-in remote control facility so that you could see the user's screen. That was invaluable for support staff as they could see what the user was trying to do and help them out directly. It was also fairly robust (although there were bugs when e/pop had to deal with multi-homed machines such as remote
  • I recently set up ejabberd [] and JWChat [] (AJAX-based web client) at my office. ejabberd authenticates against our Windows domain using LDAP, and using JWChat means there's no client to install. I tried a couple of other jabber servers, but ejabberd was the easiest to integrate with JWChat.

    I haven't had much buy-in yet, but that's another story.

  • by Soong ( 7225 )
    I set up jabberd in an afternoon. Adding the jabberd 1.4 chatroom server module to jabberd 2 was a little annoying, but now it's up and hasn't given any trouble. It even comes with a decent example /etc/init.d/ style script which works with fedora core and probably other systems with little modification.
  • and suggest a (gasp!) commercial solution. Not free, but supported: Sametime []. Commercially supported by IBM/Lotus, fully secure, with a built-in web conferencing system, and works on your Windows 2003 server. Can be completely stand-alone, or you can have it authenticate to your company's LDAP directory. The nice thing is you buy only the number of clients you need, with no need to purchase server software. Clients are $47.59/user, and allows you to use the stand-alone Sametime Connect client (Windows, Mac
    • We are currently trying to disable MSN/Yahoo etc and make Sametime widely used in our company. v6 isn't that bad but v7 (which is about to be released) seems to be very good with connectors for AIM/Gtalk/Yahoo (and probably MSN). IBM is also trying hard to develop clients for Windows Mobile OSs. It also has very good web conferencing (whiteboard, app sharing, voice - video) options. I suggest that you give it a go.
    • We use sametime at work, and I find it much more effective than msn/icq/yahoo etc. There are a couple of extended client versions available offering more functionality than the original (though this functionality is intended to be included in Sametime 7.5)
      Notes Buddy [] and
      IBM Community Tools (ICT) []

      Quite a reliable system, I've found!
  • I know you commented about the instability and cost of the "MS Communications solution"--by which I assume you mean the Communicator/Live Communications Server combo--but you may wish to look at it again. LCS 2005 is actually quite stable for an MS app.

    Where I work, I recently switched from a Unix group to a Windows one--trying new things, learn new tricks, blah blah blah--and was given a project to establish federation using LCS. In researching LCS, I was actually pleasantly surprised at the SIP RFC compli
  • Jabber or IRC would both work. I would reccommend against AIM, MSN, & Yahoo simply for the fact of viruses. I'm knowledgeable enough to pick up those spoof IMs that contain links to viruses, but those less computer inclined may not realize that their buddy is really not sending them that IM. On a business network with nearly everyone using AIM, the virus could prove dangerous. Learning from experience, educating the users on this matter may prove useless. (At my job, we constantly tell people to ma
    • What should one watch out for in IM clients like MSN? My daughter started using that, but I never have.

      I warned her about fake links in emails and fake email senders, and showed her how easy it is to send a mail

      From: Saddam Hussein <>

      (After which we played a while sending fake emails to her friends, seeming to come from other friends, teachers, etc. so for email, I think she and her friends got the message... Next exercise will be to spoof the school web site)

      But having
      • In general, if you don't know the person on the other side of the connection you should assume that they're up to no good and are not who they say they are. And even if I know the person on the other side, I don't automatically assume that they are who the screen says. I keep an eye out for non-standard speech or someone that suddenly starts asking for sensitive information who normally doesn't.

        I'm not sure how one would go about teaching that. Except by teaching your children not to believe everything
      • Watch for IMs from your/her friends that say something like: "Check this out, this is so cool!" with a link in it. That link then goes to a virus. Easiest way to confirm whether your friend actually sent it or not. And don't blame your buddy for sending it, because the virus causes AIM to send them without the user knowing. Just ask something like "did you send me an IM just now?" and you can pretty much find out whether that link is genuine or not. You can also look at the link. If it ends with *.c
    • Jabber or IRC would both work. I would reccommend against AIM, MSN, & Yahoo simply for the fact of viruses.

      I concur, but there is a social aspect to consider in many environments. Users may want/need to be able to communicate with people outside the company via one of the above networks. They may want to do so. You can set up Jabber or IRC to be a bridge to them, but a little education is needed in any case. Here we just use multi-protocol clients and IRC. Users are educated (well they're mostly secu

  • We use e/pop [] at the law firm where I work (I'm not in IT, my only exposure is to the client). It's about as basic as you can get, and even senior partners can operate it (we have a few that weren't even on email until 2-3 years ago). No other connection with the software, just use it and know that it's 'good enough' for us.

  • by pen ( 7191 ) *
    Just chiming in to say, Jabber. I work at a large financial institution and that's what we use. It works great. I use Pandion for my client.
  • Pretty rudimentary but it comes with windows....
  • What? You're not using an IBM VM mainframe where you work? :-P

    Oh, the havoc we used to wreak with CTCP SMSG...

    • Ahhh, the good old days. I remember being bored one night and seeing how many machines we could route "Hello!" through (smsg vtam smsg rscs ... Hello!).
  • by vallee ( 2192 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @08:48AM (#15531366)

    Here at Pythian Remote DBA [] we've had a client these past two years called Omnipod []. They run a good shop and the tech guys there are absolute tops.

    Their software is a turnkey hosted secure instant messaging platform. It integrates with the big three networks just fine. It has amazing archiving and audit abilities, thus its popularity in the financial sector (those dudes have to keep all written communication for a few years or they're not allowed to use it at all).

    Furthermore, it has an extremely cool feature that's not in any of Y! AIM or MSN: You can create Venn-diagram like overlap groups so that line workers can't just IM the CEO, and so that you can control the communication of presence information inside and outside the group.

    It's all very cool and I can recommend it without hesitating. Although it's not FOS, the fact that you don't have to administer it and that you can be up and running tomorrow totally kicks ass.


  • If you are willing to buy both an email system and an instant messaging system, consider Novell GroupWise.

    Runs on Windows, comes with an Instant Messaging component, and to appease your management that might be worried about IM traffic carrying company secrets out to your competitors, it doesn't hook up to YIM, AIM, or MSN. However, the GAIM client does talk to both Jabber and GWIM.

    Best, is that should you later want to move to Linux, your GroupWise system will move seamlessly.

  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:02AM (#15532242)

    You said when you had an internal IRC channel set up, your users would avoid logging into it and were turned off by its complexity.

    Regardless of what Instant Messaging solution you eventually decide on, will the situation be any different? If your users don't see the value of IM, it will be hard to convince them to make use of it, no matter how secure, convenient, or simple it is.
    • You said when you had an internal IRC channel set up, your users would avoid logging into it and were turned off by its complexity. Regardless of what Instant Messaging solution you eventually decide on, will the situation be any different?

      For many users, yes. A lot of casual computer users know and use AIM, or MSN. They have friends online and want to be able to chat with them during the day. They don't know how to do voice chats or group chats and don't want to. If you IM them a file, they ask for help

  • by Goose42 ( 88624 )
    I had this exact same problem at my last job. 120 employees, 1 IT guy, no funding for anything. My answer, which worked insanely well:
    • 1 400MHz Celeron-based computer running SUSE Linux 9 (most recent version available at the time)
    • jabberd2 for the Jabber server, with a MySQL backend
    • Psi client for all the Windows users.
    • A PHP script [] to automatically add everyone to everyone else's contact list (yeah, I'm the guy who posted that).

    Psi was great because it was easy to configure so that their applica

  • My sysas a really really really loud voice. Works wonders
  • Get a copy of VMware Player (it's free at []) and load any of several Jabber virtual appliances. (You may have to change the virtual ethernet adaptor to use the bridged network.) Here's one applicance that looks like a close fit: 8 []
  • I've done some basic tinkering with Akeni LAN Messenger [] and I think it fits your needs pretty well. It operates on the local segment only, not across the internet, and provides basic messaging / file transfer functionality. There's a linux version too.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus