October 19, 2006

Jabber

October 19, 2006

Jabber is best known as "the Linux of instant messaging" -- an open, secure, ad-free alternative to consumer IM services like AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo. Under the hood, Jabber is a set of streaming XML protocols and technologies that enable any two entities on the Internet to exchange messages, presence, and other structured information in close to real time. Jabber technologies offer several key advantages:

  • Open -- the Jabber protocols are free, open, public, and easily understandable; in addition, multiple implementations exist for clients, servers, components, and code libraries.

  • Standard -- the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has formalized the core XML streaming protocols as an approved instant messaging and presence technology under the name of XMPP, and the XMPP specifications have been published as RFC 3920 and RFC 3921.

  • Proven -- the first Jabber technologies were developed by Jeremie Miller in 1998 and are now quite stable; hundreds of developers are working on Jabber technologies, there are tens of thousands of Jabber servers running on the Internet today, and millions of people use Jabber for IM.

  • Decentralized -- the architecture of the Jabber network is similar to email; as a result, anyone can run their own Jabber server, enabling individuals and organizations to take control of their IM experience.

  • Secure -- any Jabber server may be isolated from the public Jabber network (e.g., on a company intranet), and robust security using SASL and TLS has been built into the core XMPP specifications.

  • Extensible -- using the power of XML namespaces, anyone can build custom functionality on top of the core protocols; to maintain interoperability, common extensions are managed by the Jabber Software Foundation.

  • Flexible -- Jabber applications beyond IM include network management, content syndication, collaboration tools, file sharing, gaming, and remote systems monitoring.

  • Diverse -- a wide range of companies and open-source projects use the Jabber protocols to build and deploy real-time applications and services; you will never get "locked in" when you use Jabber technologies.

Need to get up and running quickly? Here's how!

  1. Download a free client.
  2. Install the client client and start it up.
  3. Using your Jabber client, try to log in with your preferred username on one of the many free Jabber servers (see list) or just use your Gmail account.
  4. Log in and start chatting with others on the Jabber network.

For more in-depth instructions, read the Jabber User Guide.

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