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What a Blacklisting Brings to Light

By Adam Theo in Internet
Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 01:51:10 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

This past Sunday, AOL blacklisted my public Jabber server, Theoretic.com, making it only the third Jabber server to be blocked from accessing the AIM and ICQ networks, after the two "official" public Jabber servers of Jabber.ORG and Jabber.COM. I found out by coming home from a relaxing day out to see neither AIM or ICQ was working on my server. Very odd. I had received no emails from AOL, no error messages in the server logs, just an abrupt rejection from the AIM and ICQ servers.

This story takes everyone from reasoning out my own options to ending up understanding my solution is easy, but the cures for the greater symptoms are much more difficult to obtain, and asks how prodigy projects can hope to face corporate titans and forces of nature.

While I am flattered that AOL recognizes what many of my users have been telling me: that my server is the most reliable and highest-quality Jabber server on the Internet; much of it's success has come from it's very reliable AIM and ICQ Transports (server-side plug-ins to the Jabber server to automatically translate between different protocols). With the loss of AIM and ICQ, I'm wondering if my users will flee in droves to other (less reliable) servers.

It has been suggested to me that I bring back AIM and ICQ support to my server by using a different IP and trying to block IPs coming from AOL itself in an attempt to prevent them from seeing where my transports are. After some thought I think this would be a very poor solution since IPs are a very unreliable way to track users, and I would certainly do more harm for my user-base than good. Besides, it would only be a matter of time, likely very short time, before they found the new IP and blocked that, too, erasing all that work in an instant.

Also, I don't think any solution that would force alteration of the jabber clients would be a viable solution at all. This would in effect create what's called "multi-protocol clients" like GAIM and Everybuddy, which handle AIM and others alongside Jabber. Anything which requires a client-side modification is doomed to failure, since users would be slow to pick it up and it would only complicate their user experience.

You may next think a server-side solution is the only way, then. And that is partially correct, but messing with the Jabber servers on such a low level could easily introduce new problems just when the code has stabilized.

The only technical solution feasible is a transport-side one, where the IM transport itself is modified to somehow evade AOL detection. This is slightly different than the server-side, since a transport is a server-side component independent from the Jabber server itself. I had been thinking a possible solution would be to have the transports form an "OpenAIM" network, with each knowing about the other AIM Transports on the Internet and intelligently "shuffling" user connections around between themselves in a random fashion so to avoid AOL from knowing what connections were coming from where. But then someone pointed out that AOL engineers connect to an AIM account through a downloaded Jabber client, and watch to see what IP that account comes in from, so they would be able to get the end IPs anyway. So this is also not a viable solution.

So it seems I must accept the fact there is no way I'm going to be offering AIM and ICQ again any time soon. I will simply have to reserve Theoretic to handling non-IM Transports such as my increasingly popular SMTP Transport and hopefully IRC and POP/IMAP in the near future.

But, that doesn't adress the Bigger Issue, I realize. That is, AIM and ICQ connectivity for Jabber in general. With Theoretic's blacklisting setting a precedent for other non-official Jabber servers to be blocked, it is only a matter of time before more and more Jabber IPs are blocked as well. And I don't think chasing AOL's tail while avoiding the bite is a long term solution. I have been working with Jabber for almost 9 months now, and would hate to see it's superior technology fail because a Big Dog crushed interoperability for it. Jabber has alot of potential, even with it's current feature holes and wantings.

Should we then reason with this Big Dog? Try to negotiate for them to open up their system at least to Jabber servers, to try and do for IM what was done for email in the Early Days? I have set up an unofficial petition to request AOL open AIM and ICQ to Jabber, but can it do any good? The key to answering this is to ask "What's in it for them?". email became standardized because a critical mass of the server admins at the time were academic types who had interoperability in their mind to begin with. SMTP was the result of this de facto standardization, and all of the proprietary email protocols were left in it's dust. However, as has been pointed out, the IM-scape today is very different. It is dominated not by university computer labs, but by corporate titans using it for profit. They would gain nothing to let users freely flow from network to network, and everything to gain by trying (even with mild success) to chain users into their network. To these titans, controlling 25% of the market with an iron fist is many times better than merely influencing 60% of it. In this environment, negotiation without having to hand over cash is about as likely as I am to stumble upon a bag of unclaimed cash (slim to none, for your information, and you know what just happened to slim... yep, it left town).

Perhaps good technology is the way to win after all, then? Perhaps Jabber needs to be so damn good that few users can deny it. Could Jabber and it's clients be so appealing that hackers and newbies alike will rush in droves to download and use? Sometimes, even I am skeptical. I mean, Jabber has great potential, but it has taken a long time (3 years) even to get to this purgatory stage.

Jabber still does not have a standard file transfer mechanism. No video conferencing support, not even voice over IP (VoIP) abilities. Why is it taking so long? Is it the difficulties of implimenting these resource-intensive features in low-range client/server architectures? Or is it lack of time, the age-old nemesis of open source projects? Or possibly even as strange as it may sound, lack of interest? After all, Jabber is still largely the realm of it's own developers, who are typically at home in plain text and sometimes buggy interfaces. Can a developer "think user" when it comes to IM?

Can the Jabber protocol and network survive the corporate investments? Can it survive being tweaked and ripped apart by various companies each wanting to be the Big Dog of Jabber IM? There are a couple now, and many more on the horizon fresh with investment monies. Few have any ties to the open source project that began the whole thing. Few have any open source advocates among their ranks or any open source plans. I know of a couple that might end up being downright hostile to the open source project. How can Jabber as an open platform for everyone hope to retain that coherence?

There does exist the Jabber Software Foundation, modeled after the newly formed Python Software Foundation and inspired by the Apache Software Foundation. But the JSF is very young, and has not really had time to build it's muscles, let along flex them already. Besides, some would argue it's too easily controlled by those corporate interests anyway. Not enough focus towards the individual member (although my personal opinion it's leaps and bounds above many other such software foundations). Should the member base organize under a "Union" of sorts to make sure it's always in the driver's seat? Or perhaps a radical approach of joining or merging with a more experienced and respected organization should happen? I do believe the JSF is the answer to keeping Jabber intact and making it successful in face of AOL and Microsoft, I just hope it has the strength to do it.

My mind is swimming with all of this. All of these options, all of these possabilities, all of these disasters waiting to happen. After a quiet sit on the couch and one cup of orange tea later, I have realized I cannot retaliate against AOL like I was about to. I cannot make them see the Internet and Jabber through my eyes. No amount of flames, polite petitions, or reasonable negotiation will sway them. There is only one thing they will listen to: money. And if I can't give them money to make them give in, then I will have to take it away to make them give in. I now see the only, the *only*, way out of this mess for me and everyone else is to fight to make Jabber so damned irresistible to everyone that the power of superior technology and open standards can't be refuted.

But as I said, there is an incredible amount of work to do. Lack of features, a need to clean up the current infrastructure, too few developers, too little investment, too much investment... Where to begin??? So, is my reasoning flawed? What can this open project do to survive let alone thrive?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


What will the future of IM look like?
o One corporate titan like AOL or Microsoft will control it all. 19%
o It will remain fractured between incompatible systems as with today. 37%
o IM will die, for one reason or another. 4%
o An open standard will form by being adopted by IETF, etc. 11%
o An open de facto standard will form through pure market forces. 27%

Votes: 88
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Jabber
o Theoretic. com
o Jabber.ORG
o Jabber.COM
o Everybuddy
o SMTP Transport
o unofficial petition to request AOL open AIM and ICQ
o Jabber Software Foundation
o Python Software Foundation
o Apache Software Foundation
o polite petitions
o Also by Adam Theo

Display: Sort:
What a Blacklisting Brings to Light | 51 comments (47 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
Quick question (4.09 / 11) (#4)
by AmberEyes on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 11:30:50 AM EST

Not trying to start anything here, but if AOL wants to block you from using software over their servers, using their bandwidth, without them getting money back for it, what's the problem?

I kinda think this situation would be like a group of houses: bandwidth travelling through networks doing searches would be like visitors stopping in your house, grabbing a quick bite to eat, then popping out to go to another house. I could understand a house owner getting peeved that those visitors were not paying for the food. It's not a perfect example, but I don't see why it's unfair to you that AOL wants to dictate how the bandwidth they buy can be used.

I mean, it would cool I guess if AOL would open their bandwidth up to this application, but I don't see why they should have to. Knowing that, I think your best bet is to figure out how Jabber can make AOL some money (unless they are feeling particularily charitable). The easiest way I can think of is to require a fee to register with Jabber, but that kinda kills the purpose of it being free.

Otherwise, I'd actually take the initiative, and block Jabber from using AOL's bandwidth -- I don't think it's quite kosher for the service to hammer at AOL's bandwidth while they quite clearly are trying to prevent it to.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
Not quite, I think, but foolish of them anyway (4.25 / 4) (#6)
by itsbruce on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 12:14:58 PM EST

if AOL wants to block you from using software over their servers

That's not what is happening. Messages are being routed from people on one system to people on another in a fashion more analogous to e-mail or snail mail. What AOL is doing is more like a country refusing to honour postal mail that doesn't use stamps bought from its own postal service. Perfectly legal, rather stupid and ultimately futile.

--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]

What's stupid about it? (5.00 / 4) (#7)
by AmberEyes on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 12:45:55 PM EST

Again - what AOL does is up to them, but if they aren't getting money from that service (since, even in your example, you said that they only want to honor mail that have stamps bought from their own postal service), then what's the point of them supporting it?

To continue with the mail analogy: If you owned a mail company, would you spend more of your own money to pay for other people's mail? Raising the price of your own postage isn't quite fair either, since your country's people aren't causing the excess mail? Most postal services seem to be charitable, but nowhere should AOL be forced to be charitable. Again, as I said before, it would be nice if they were, but that's not neccessarily how the business world works. :\

As I understand this service, it seems to be a peer to peer service, similar to Gnutella, meaning if I am talking to you, the packets might pass through server ISP's (including AOL's) before it reaches the destination. Please correct me if I am wrong, I've never used the service. If that bandwidth is being used up when AOL members aren't even using Jabber, I can see why AOL doesn't want to pay for it.

Business-wise, I can't fault them for this. I think we've all seen what happens with the failing dot-coms who jump on the "give free software and services away like crazy and don't generate revenue" bandwagon lately. Now, whether it's ethical or not, I'll leave that for someone else to decide.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Not About Bandwidth (4.25 / 4) (#9)
by Bear Cub on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 03:05:58 PM EST

AOL isn't concerned about bandwidth. And regardless of network traffic load, the routers/servers belong to AOL, and they can configure them however they like. They're selling a service to AOL cusomers. Connectivity to the rest of the world is relevant to AOL's interests only so far as it helps bring in new customers.

By keeping the border open, and delivering instant messages regardless of source or destination, AOL would help the value of their service. It has been observed that the value of a network grows exponentially with the number of people using it. By linking AIM to Jabber to ICQ, the value of AOL's service would go up dramatically.

But AOL isn't concerned about the total value of the service. This is about customer lock-in, and control of the IM market. By closing the border, AOL is forcing users to choose between AOL and the rest of the world. When you're the Big Dog, this is the right move.

------------------------------------- Bear Cub now posts as Christopher.
[ Parent ]

Client Also Important (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by mech9t8 on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 03:34:23 PM EST

While I agree that locking people into using AOL is probably their main motivation, don't forget that locking people into the AOL client is also a prime motivation.

Besides the obvious current application of advertising, the instant messager client is destined to become a key part of future communication - just look at all the add-ins that are currently available or are being planned for Windows XP Messager (MSN Messager). AOL wants to make sure all its millions of AIM users are being fed the AOL advertisements, notification services, finacial tools, video and audio, etc etc etc.

Maintaining control of the client is key. If they let third-party clients in, someone's going to come up with a plug-in for Windows Messager and the AOL client will be rendered unneeded for a whole lot of people...

[ Parent ]
Just speaking from experience (none / 0) (#17)
by nutate on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 05:08:29 PM EST

There are at least a few clients out there for non-windows OSes that will communicate with AOL using Oscar. Sadly, the best GUI one, gAIM, still can't do all of the cool things that the real AIM can do. This is a blessing and a curse. I don't quite understand why someone would want to use the jabber protocol to then connect to aol, when you can do it on the client end. gAIM supports Jabber, AIM, and msn chat (or whatever they call it) and more. And with a search, I found that there is also a multi-service client for windows, trillian, and it's freeware.

Not to be a total jerk, but if Jabber ever did anything that made me halfway excited, I could see creating an account on it. But I'll still use AOL servers directly for their service. I see no need for a middleman on that transaction.

Just this moment, I checked out Jabber.com. They seem to have some deals in the works that are of note. Who knows, if some cash comes into the developers pockets, maybe they can make a competitive product. Whether AOL or for that matter MS would want to interoperate is another question.


[ Parent ]

Polite Correction about Jabber (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by Adam Theo on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 11:33:12 PM EST

I feel I need to make a couple of corrections to this and a few other comments I've seen that seem to mis-understand what Jabber is. I take partial blame for not talking about what Jabber is in my article, but the comments here imply they arlready have formed opinions. I just want to correct them.

One: There is a company called "Jabber, Inc", located at jabber.com. However, this company does not own the Jabber protocol in any way. It is merely the first commercial venture that saw potential in Jabber and decided to attatch itself tightly to the project by hiring the core development team to work on Jabber as a day job, not just a hobby. This has lead to a great deal of confusion, confusion probably spurned on by them (it is benefitial to them for everyone to think they *are* Jabber). But Jabber, Inc does not own or control the Jabber protocol or platform, the newly-formd Jabber Software Foundation does. Jabber, Inc only owns the "Jabber" trademark, since they are also the ones who supplied the $$ to purchase it from an existing company at the time.

Second: The benefit of having Jabber act as a middle layer between AIM, ICQ, and other networks is so Jabber clients themselves can remain small, light, and simple. When clients have to code for AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, IRC, Email, as well as Jabber or anything else out there, the program not only gets resource intensive but also the possability for bugs and errors dramatically increases. By having the Jabber Transports take care of the conversion from foriegn protocols to Jabber, all the clients, bots, and any other user of Jabber has to know is how to handle Jabber.

I hope this helps.

-- "A computer geek free-market socialist patriotic American Buddhist."
[ Parent ]

Jabber floats my boat (none / 0) (#42)
by tzanger on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 09:59:11 PM EST

Not to be a total jerk, but if Jabber ever did anything that made me halfway excited, I could see creating an account on it.

How about having a totally open protocol specification with extensibility in mind? Or the ability to own and run a server which operates on that protocol? Or the ability to write a god damn protocol interface once and have it run on a zillion clients, whether they be GTK, QT, Win32, Perl, Tcl/Tk, or web interface?

I admit, I was not keen on Jabber for a long long time. I had my ICQ client and I wasn't interested in all the "features" that AOL jammed into the protocol.

But then it happened. AOL decided to start aggressively (but not 100%) dropping packets from non-official clients. Dropping 100% of packets would have been optimal but they decided to be real pricks about it. I had actually helped out Arik Vardi and Sefi (not sure of his last name) with the original ICQ protocol and since they sold out to AOL it went down the shitter. Fuck 'em. I found Psi which was designed to be small. I love LICQ but every Jabber client I found until Psi was GTK and very screen-expensive.

Needless to say, I'm not 100% Jabber. I run my own damn server and I can talk to any other server regardless of political agendas. I don't have to worry about the protocol disappearing. I can finally reccomend an IM to my company for inter-company communications because the server is in their control. And the choice of clients is extremely nice.

So give yourself some more time; you'll get bit too, and after that time you'll probably write a message kind of like this one. :-)

[ Parent ]
Not Only About Customer Lockin, Either (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by j on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 03:46:53 PM EST

AOL provides usage of the AIM service to people who are not customers. The thing is that you are only supposed to use it with their client. Why? I guess it's all about ad revenue. AOL's official AIM client show all kinds of advertisements. Others don't - and if they would, they probably wouldn't forward their revenues to AOL. They want to make some money with their service - even if they can't use it to 'recruit' more customers.

[ Parent ]
Instant messaging is already commonplace (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by itsbruce on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 03:09:26 PM EST

Most younger internet users have it (and a few older ones;)), companies are using it for corporate communication etc. It's becoming a basic internet service that users expect as part of the basic package and they expect to be able to contact whom they want. AOL have some fond dream of lock-ins and captive markets and that's not going to be. In the short term they'll just piss people off.

Now if this were the IM equivalent of spam-blocking, that'd be different.

--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]

AOL has IM (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by AmberEyes on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 04:07:29 PM EST

I couldn't agree more with you about how people expect to be able to use instant messaging, but AOL already has IMs built into their system. You can download AIM and run it, and voila, you've got instant messaging. Jabber is not the end all, beat all, do all of the IM world -- there's other options.

I mean, granted, I run AIM and ICQ -- AIM for AOL users and people who are more familiar with AIM on my system, and ICQ for my friends who exclusively use ICQ.

If you want to talk with someone, why Jabber anyway? Why not use an alternative that isn't using AOL's bandwidth? I mean, other than doing it just because you can, why is it better? Why can't you use alternatives, especially in the case of this product obviously bothering AOL to the point, be it bandwidth or not, that they're blocking it from their servers?

I mean, isn't that what open source and the methodology of the progammer is all about? Finding problems, and rather than complain about them, find solutions to circumvent them to make everyone happy and not leave one entity controlling all the shots? It seems like complaining and petitioning AOL is just playing right into AOL's hands -- Jabber is still blocked regardless.


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Transparency/universality (none / 0) (#16)
by itsbruce on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 04:47:01 PM EST

That is to say, the ability to message anyone on any of the systems. IMO that is what users expect, until they learn "better" and it is what will eventually happen. People expect to be able to e-mail anyone no matter what they run. A particular mail system may provide extra features to its internal users but the basic functionality is common. That's the model I see happening and they should be looking for ways to make that model work for them.

--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]

Jabber transport security and the end-to-end model (4.54 / 11) (#8)
by jason on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 01:58:03 PM EST

sigh. Anyone consider the security aspect of AOL's action? Jabber servers store users' transport passwords. That's right, your AIM password/token is on the Jabber server. To authenticate with AOL's server, you auth with the Jabber server, and then the Jabber server auths with the AOL server. The AIM auth info is protected between sessions, but it's only as safe as the Jabber auth.

Maybe AOL doesn't like their users storing passwords on another machine. Any security improvement on AOL's part is neutralized by people using Jabber. Kinda like how many admins think Hotmail, et al.'s POP-retrieval facility is a stupid idea...

This is why I'm not fond of Jabber's foreign transports. They break the end-to-end model and introduce more complexity. Jabber stores a ton of information in the middle, which is ok, but you also communicate through the middle for the transports. This is supposed to reduce the n2 interaction problem, but it introduces security and (according to the article) reliability considerations.

There are other possibilities. One is to bite the bullet, implement the variety of protocols, and push for standardization. This is the "multi-protocol client" approach. Another is to have a messaging ABI and retrieve interfacing code from servers directly. That's a Java or .NET or trusted-x86 or... model. It's quite nice, although the trust relationships grow complex very quickly.

Yes, the traditional email store-and-forward system isn't end-to-end, either. You can make some transactions end-to-end with LMTP and some (proposed?) SMTP extensions. There are times when you don't care about end-to-end issues. One is when you need the message to get there eventually, but not right away. "Instant" response really needs end-to-end for reliability, scalability, and security.

Maybe you should take the AOL action to heart and build a better network. Add features. Maybe introduce SIP support and allow people to set up voice conferences? Maybe just send voice messages? Dunno. But there are unexplored possibilities. I realize AOL also takes action against gaim, libfaim, etc. Those actions are stupid. The one against Jabber is reasonable, imho.

Jason, getting over a cold and babbling...

I prefer the Jabber model (none / 0) (#43)
by tzanger on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 10:10:53 PM EST

Jabber servers store users' transport passwords. That's right, your AIM password/token is on the Jabber server. To authenticate with AOL's server, you auth with the Jabber server, and then the Jabber server auths with the AOL server. The AIM auth info is protected between sessions, but it's only as safe as the Jabber auth.

Not to make your post trivial, but so what? I like that idea, although I'd encrypt it all and use my Jabber ID/password as the key. Encrypt your list and your passwords with a key you present to the jabber server to log in. How is that any different than storing it locally? If you don't want the jabber server in the middle, write a "local server" which you can then tell any Jabber client you choose to use. (i.e. connect to, like you do with VNC if you want encrypted tunnels or IRC with stunnel.) I fully believe that the Jabber model is superior to all the other IM systems I've run across (ICQ/AIM/Y!/MSN/ and all their clones/derivatives).

As far as using the middle to communicate -- That is a good and bad thing. If I'm locked behind a firewall set up by some conspiracy theorist totally paranoid or ultra-anal and micromanaging network admin, I'll just use an http client. But you're right -- it adds complexity and another place to break, but IMO it's a fair tradeoff.

From a corporate/enterprise standpoint, storing all that information on a corporate-controlled server somewhere is ideal! The less you have to put on a local drive somewhere and lose, the better. Personally I have my jabber server for myself and my remider app and that's about it. Overkill maybe but I can log on from any machine, be it my notebook, desktop or some web client in an internet cafe. My contact list is there, my conversation history is there, everything is there. I love it.

[ Parent ]
One password to rule them all... (none / 0) (#46)
by jason on Fri Jan 11, 2002 at 01:39:13 PM EST

Couldn't resist. ;)

... although I'd encrypt it all and use my Jabber ID/password as the key.

And how is this different than simply using the same password for both services, at least from the security perspective? It isn't. Yet by forcing this choice, you deny others of greater security. If someone else wants two different passwords, forcing them to store one locked only by the other reduces the two into a single password.

Having many passwords can be a pain, but at least you can localize storing them. And if you want to store your key ring on some central server, that's your choice. It may or may not be mine. The Jabber model forces that choice, so I don't like it.

Say AOL issues special hardware tokens to access AIM... Then Jabber's completely out of luck and has to be redesigned fundamentally... Not a good thing. Similarly, say a company or group comes up with a whiz-bang great way to secure key rings. Software supporting a more end-to-end model would have a local component that needs replaced for affected users. Jabber would need extra protocols to determine which client supports what storage strategy, etc. It would impact all clients. Either that, or it would have to store all user information related to the new mechanism, destroying any of the new mechanism's benefits.

Allowing localized changes and experimentation is one of the end-to-end model's great benefits. Having to support Jabber and other middle-men limits what you can do greatly.


[ Parent ]

Three ideas (4.85 / 7) (#11)
by psicE on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 03:17:15 PM EST

World domination: As you said, AOL would rather have 25% of the IM market with an iron fist than influence over 60%. Is that implying that, while you wouldn't want the 25%, you would want the 60%? However much we like the idea of an Internet made up of only free (libre) protocols, the vast majority of people don't care, and why should we care what they use? Use Jabber personally, make your server available for all people to use, advertise Jabber if you want, make features so that it can do everything AIM can and more. Even if the general public keeps using AIM, we can keep using Jabber. I see a parallel between this and people who want Linux to take over the desktop. I don't think Linux has a chance of taking over the desktop, and I don't think it needs to. As people want something different, they'll use it; for now, they're happy with what they've got (or wouldn't change regardless).

TOC/OSCAR: Did your server use the TOC or OSCAR protocol? I may be wrong, but I think I remember that TOC is a public protocol that AOL lets people use, while OSCAR is a private protocol and AOL blocks all servers that make use of that protocol. If you were using OSCAR, try loading up the transport again with TOC, and see if AOL blocks it again.

OpenAIM: The name OpenAIM gave me an idea. Why not make a completely open version of AIM, based on the OSCAR protocol (so it had all advanced features), and distribute a patch that made the AOL-standard AIM client connect to that open AIM server instead of AOL's? Pretty much, a network supporting all those features would have to be built, and a patch would have to be made to [a] change the server and [b] let users login to the old server at the same time (or, get lots of people to install the patch at the same time).

Redundancy: In the beginning, AOL had a proprietary web, but the open web beat them, and now we all use the same web (and email). Make Jabber good enough that people would rather use it than AIM (including, make a GPL client that works like JabberIM but better, as WinJab is far too complicated for the majority of Windows users), with all the features people have from AIM and more, including lack of banner ads and similar.

Price: AOL can't be making too much money on AIM. They have to pay lots for the bandwidth for their AIM servers, and their only revenue (IMHO) is from banner ads, which is steadily declining. AOL will eventually have to make a decision: is AIM good for [a] a loss leader to drag people into paid products like AOL; [b] something that people should pay a subscription fee for; or [c] something that has no place in a for-profit business. If C is true, and AOL did decide to abandon AIM, then Jabber's already won. If B is true, then I'd expect people to leave AIM in droves, especially considering how many AIM users are under 18 and don't have credit cards or much (if any) income. If A is true, then most people would stay on AIM, but I doubt that AOL will think that. Some people at AOL are saying that even the AOL proper subscription fee is too low, considering dropping banner ad money, and probably everybody on the planet who wanted to get on AOL has already done that by now. Therefore, they'll either go with B or C, and then Jabber will win. In fact, if they do B, after losing almost all their customers, I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to open up AIM to Jabber just to keep the few users they have left.

TOC Won't Save You (none / 0) (#24)
by matthewg on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 08:08:04 PM EST

TOC lacks some critical features, like being able to view away messages; using it won't save you from blockage anyway. I used to use TOC in IMIRC (née AIMIRC), and AOL put a block on allowing only two simultaneous users from a server. I've had to move to OSCAR to get around the block.

[ Parent ]
OSCAR & a Better Win32 Client (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by Adam Theo on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 12:27:46 AM EST

I used OSCAR, because TOC is no longer reliable for even individual messaging (many dropped messages, etc), and also TOC is very lacking in the basic features.

Yes, I agree on improving Jabber. It is important for Jabber to try and beat AOL at it's own game, by "creating a better mousetrap". But what is first needed is a kick-ass Win32 Jabber client. I'm starting up a project to bring together developers working on their own clients to come together and make one really complete one. It will likely use a COM-based and very plug-in centric like WinAmp in order to make it as easy as possible for new developers to contribute. Yeah, it will be lsower and bulkier due to the COM aspect, but the important thing is use of use and developing for a wide base.

-- "A computer geek free-market socialist patriotic American Buddhist."
[ Parent ]

Try Psi (none / 0) (#44)
by tzanger on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 10:13:55 PM EST

But what is first needed is a kick-ass Win32 Jabber client.

What's wrong with Psi? I was looking for a QT, slim, clean client that closely matched LICQ or the original ICQ clients.

[ Parent ]
WinAmp Plugins (none / 0) (#51)
by ucblockhead on Wed Jan 16, 2002 at 11:56:07 AM EST

WinAmp plugins don't use COM. They are simple DLLs. As such, they don't have to be either slow or bulky.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
AOL does give away things (none / 0) (#32)
by haflinger on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 12:36:12 AM EST

Note products like Netscape, Winamp and Shoutcast. Also ICQ itself, which AOL doesn't even put banner ads on.

AOL seems to have taken the attitude that promoting Some Things is a part of being a good net.citizen. One of the reasons why they got repeatedly hammered in the early days of the AOL/Internet bridge was because they didn't contribute back to the 'net (well, except for large numbers of clueless idiots on Usenet :)... I suspect that they do these things in some part just to annoy Microsoft.

The most interesting thing is that, on MacOS (at least in Classic), out of the four major commercial IM packages, AIM is by far the most mature. Mac ICQ barely works, Yahoo! crashes at any given time (like when it receives a message, for example :), and MSN is... well, let's just say its new name of Windows Messenger is accurate. ;)

AIM is the only one that supports voice chatting and also supports all features when it's behind a SOCKS5 server on MacOS. Now, AOL isn't known in general for being particularly Mac-friendly (their origins actually lie in the C=64 in the ancient times), so this puzzles me. My best guess is that they really want to get everybody using AIM, because that way AOLers will have more people to chat to (AIM's built into the AOL frisbee AFAIK).

That would also explain their working with Apple to make the AirPort Base Station compliant with their funky protocol.

But I don't get their opposition to Jabber. I mean, they own ICQ, if it comes to that. The Jabber people are just linking together two networks - both of which they own. Huh?

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

Both of which they own? (none / 0) (#34)
by psicE on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 07:22:45 AM EST

The Jabber people are just linking together two networks - both of which they own. Huh?

The Jabber people are trying to link their network with AOL's AIM and ICQ networks. Out of those three networks, they only own one. While I feel that AOL has nothing to gain by blocking Jabber users, they might, and they are currently acting within the law by doing so (if we're lucky, they'll have to open up whenever they add so-called "advanced features" as per the Time Warner merger).

[ Parent ]

"They" (none / 0) (#48)
by Lazarus Short on Sat Jan 12, 2002 at 03:21:25 PM EST

I think halflinger's reference to "both of which they own" was meant as "both of which AOL owns". (Which, I think, means you're both in agreement: AOL should have nothing to gain from blocking Jabber.)

"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance."
  -- Sam Brown

[ Parent ]
Well... (3.37 / 8) (#14)
by core10k on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 03:47:15 PM EST

You could start by not leaching off of companies' resources.

and asks how prodigy projects can hope to face corporate titans and forces of nature.

Hah! Your project wouldn't exist without leeching off of those 'corporate titans.' There's this thing called the network effect. Knowing what the network effect is, and knowing that corporations can and will actively try to stop you from siphoning off their services, will help you understand why you're destined to failure.

The Internet was build on our tax dollars (5.00 / 2) (#39)
by peace on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 02:35:29 PM EST

And in the early 90's the corporations, including AOL, were 'tisk 'tisking anyone caught up in this internet "fad". Meanwhile, small groups of _people_ built the basic services that still provide the foundations of the most popular aspets of the internet: E-mail, web and chat.

But oh did the corporations scramble to buy up every internet "mom and pop" shop in the country when it looked like maybe there was going to be a buck to be made. Thus what had always been free, became corporat PR hand-outs for the people. Like when Netscape privatised Mosiac, then went head to head with MS, lost, gave Netscape back to the people, at which point Mozilla proceeded to kick the crap out of all other browsers, say what you will about it.

The government decided to "hand off" management of the backbones to private enterprises. Now AOL struts around like it created the internet and has a right to allow or block services based on it's selfish corporate interests.

I say renationalize the backbone. It's about as much of a public service as the real highways.

This would of course not solve the problem at hand becuase the backbone is a layer or 2 down from the AIM protocals but it would go a long way to insuring that this importaint and integral part of life is forever in the hands of the people. Corporations are working to a world where the internet allows for no freedom but what you pay them for.

A little OT perhaps, but companies like AOL will destroy the best parts of what we have if they are allowed to. I've worked with them in the past, just as they were dealing with MSN and the Internet. They were bastards then and I see that they are just more so now.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

working around AOL (3.50 / 4) (#18)
by jesterzog on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 05:43:38 PM EST

At least a third of your article seems to be about why it's technically difficult to sneak around whatever blocking mechanisms AOL puts in place. Did it occur to you that just maybe, AOL doesn't want you connecting to its server? These things do cost them money to run and they're not obligated to donate it to anyone. How many of your ICQ and AOL users didn't click through a terms of service that stated they would only use AOL software to connect to an AOL server?

I like Jabber and often use it. I think it's great that people such as yourself run Jabber servers, and I'll wish you good luck in the future whatever happens. I haven't used your particular server but maybe I should.

I also don't necessarily like the various decisions that lots of commercial entities make, including AOL. But I can't see the point in trying to crack through AOL's security system. In what way don't they have legitimate grounds to take reasonable measures to prevent people they haven't authorised from accessing it?

jesterzog Fight the light

Tapping into aol= ok; blocking: nok->read why (none / 0) (#23)
by looksaus on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 07:58:05 PM EST

It's not about locking out an individual.

(The following simple bit of reasoning starts from the premise im infrastructure isn't all that expensive in itself.)

The value to the user of any instant messaging system increases exponentially with the share of the total instant messaging user base accessible through it.

That's why deliberately fencing off part of the user base (AIM, MSN,...) is so wrong. It takes away from the user a value he is entitled to.

How about this strange comparison...
Philips (the Dutch electronics giant) produces electric shavers. The special thing about these is that they are engineered to break after x time. Clearly against the public (environmental) interest. And still perfectly legal!

If you want to manufacture a shaver, you shouldn't try to make it break on purpose for your own profit of selling more.
If you want to offer an instant messaging service, you shouldn't lock other people out deliberately to earn more.

Not interested to offer your product/service under these terms? Then don't. Setting up the infrastructure really isn't that prohibitively expensive to do it ourselves, as a network of users...

http://MusicaLiberata.org Towards a Free Classical Music Library
[ Parent ]
Sorry. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by mindstrm on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 08:59:14 PM EST

Your analogy doesn't work.

AOL is under no obligation to provide ANYTHING to ANY aim user. They do so solely at their own discretion, to get popular.

They are under absolutely no obligation to cooperate with anyone.

If you want to connect to their servers, they DO have the right to insist you use THEIR software.

In fact, they could probably sue you for attempting to get around their access control mechanisms.

[ Parent ]
At this moment, you're 100% right,but my point was (none / 0) (#35)
by looksaus on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 11:36:37 AM EST

(pls reread my original comment, too)

Tapping into AOL this way is indeed almost certainly illegal. Facts are facts.

What I was trying to say:

AOL SHOULD not just be allowed to tap into the worldwide im user base in the proprietary way it is.
They take away much more value (everyone able to talk to everyone) from the user than what they create (some proprieatry infrastructure).

Yes, of course, you're 100% right that at this very moment, there's nothing to prohibit them from doing that. But does that make it a good thing. Wouldn't we want to change that?

Just one practical example, regarding MSN this time. I have a friend who is using MSN because most of his friends are. I personally have a problem of conscience getting a Microsoft Passport thing. So I don't get into MSN unless I cheat (which, BTW, I don't).

OK. If you're libertarian, skip the next paragraph :-)

What rules are there on telephone carrier monopolies? How different is this situation?

Imagine a law that orders im services to be open. Wow, I can talk to my far away friend again! More users, more interaction, more value to the user. Somewhat less profit for sure in the short term to corporations that offer the service infrastructure. So what? They should still be able turn a profit on this.
This should benefit the user experience in the first place.

That's the wonderful thing to the digital world. That Mercedes engine won't fit into a Beetle, but you can force im protocols to work together. There's no more excuse for monopolistisc corporate lock-in behavior in such an environment.

Aargh, rules, I hear you scream, you're taking away my freedom. No, not at all. I'm even giving you more freedom! You'll be able to chat with anyone, regardless of their provider. You'll be able to customise your im environment, guaranteed. You'll be able to study the network architecture.

Oh well, just a thought...

http://MusicaLiberata.org Towards a Free Classical Music Library
[ Parent ]
So you're saying... (none / 0) (#37)
by threshold on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 12:38:50 PM EST

Lets say I build a theme park, and its got the coolest, most fun rollercoaster ever, I mean people from everywhere want to ride it. And I let them in providing they either pay or wear a purple shirt. Then some people want to ride the rollercoaster who bought a ticket to another theme park down the street or happen to being wearing a yellow shirt that day. You are saying that the government should make me open up MY OWN theme park just because it will add value to some other tickets or shirts? What about the value of my theme park, that I worked hard and built. Why is the value of other tickets and shirts worth more then the theme park I built? Why should I be forced to share and play nicely if I don't want to? Furthermore, where in the US Constitution does the Federal government get the right to do that, either for theme parks or IM systems? Your agrument quite frankly doesn't seem logical to me. If I invite a new mode of transportation, should I be forced to share it with everyone? It would be nice to, but I shouldn't be forced.
Open Source, Open Standards, Open Minds
[ Parent ]
Digital Networking Changes Everything (none / 0) (#45)
by Adam Theo on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 11:33:50 PM EST

I see your point, about ownership and the owners having the right to control. But I personally don't see interoperability like a theme park with set borders and ways to control it. I see interoperability on the Internet like taking pictures of other people in public places. If I'm walking down the street, there is no way I can legally or technically stop others from taking snapshots of me or even seeing me with their own eyes. I see Interoperability on huge networks like the Internet as such a situation.

-- "A computer geek free-market socialist patriotic American Buddhist."
[ Parent ]

More metaphors (none / 0) (#49)
by jesterzog on Mon Jan 14, 2002 at 08:53:37 PM EST

The way I see the Internet is that perhaps you can't stop people from addressing packets to you within reason, but that in no way obligates you to treat any given packet the same as other packets.

The road for transit might be a publicly operated one, but why should you let in everyone who knocks on the door? Please don't tell me who I have to let use my computer.

jesterzog Fight the light

[ Parent ]
How to build a cult. (3.00 / 3) (#19)
by DwarfGoanna on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 05:44:33 PM EST

Perhaps good technology is the way to win after all, then? Perhaps Jabber needs to be so damn good that few users can deny it. Could Jabber and it's clients be so appealing that hackers and newbies alike will rush in droves to download and use? Sometimes, even I am skeptical. I mean, Jabber has great potential, but it has taken a long time (3 years) even to get to this purgatory stage.

You know, this is exactly what Apple is trying to do, and yet they still only have 5% of the mindshare. This is they way I would like to tackle giants, but it's track record is poor in the 'real world'. Lets put it this way: If this is the strategy you use, you may lose users, but the ones that stay will be very very happy. Especially if your project appeals to newbies and hackers alike.

It's a free service (3.85 / 7) (#20)
by PresJPolk on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 06:08:26 PM EST

You didn't pay AOL anything, they didn't enter into any agreement with your promising to provide service, so what's wrong here?

If you want AIM, use AIM, not Jabber. If you want Jabber, use Jabber and be happy. Don't go moaning like a 5 year old when you can't get everything, and a two-scoop ice cream cone besides.

signed, the author of the AIM client in KDE who has since made version 2 into a Jabber client.

Yes and no ... (none / 0) (#21)
by aphrael on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 06:55:27 PM EST

There would be significant benefits to everyone involved if all of the major instant messaging systems could talk to each other and providers competed on features. But we don't live in that world.

[ Parent ]
What the AIM Jabber Transport developer thinks (4.75 / 4) (#22)
by julian on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 07:57:22 PM EST

If anyone is interested, the developer of the AIM Transport for Jabber has already posted his comments.
-- Julian (x-virge)
Why does AOL even bother? (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by woofbot on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 08:37:11 PM EST

What always throws me about this whole AOL blocking Jabber mess is that there doesn't seem to be any good reason for it. When MSN attempted to connect its systems to AIM, I can see where AOL could have an issue with it since the numbers there were in the millions. Unless my impressions are wrong, I'm guessing the number of Jabber users who connect to the AIM transport is only in the tens of thousands, which is effectively negligable, particularly since most of the users are technical types who are not likely to pay any attention whatsoever to the advertising that AIM attempts to shove down their your throat.

I like Jabber because it saves me the trouble and memory that comes from running 4 separate IM clients. In addition, it allows me to pick the client I want, rather than having to suffer with the often clunky clients made by the companies. This is actually a big deal for me because nearly every client out there brings up a separate popup window for each discussion. WinJab nicely provides me with the option of using an MDI/tabbed interface to consolidate all of my active conversations. Not that any of this matters to the various IM services, but I felt the need to bitch about it. *grin*

Ads in the AIM program (4.60 / 5) (#27)
by xee on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 09:10:42 PM EST

AOL runs a little banner ad in the AIM buddy list window. Two ads, in fact, but one is for AOL itself. Opening the AIM network to Jabber servers would enable enitre NETWORKS of users to IM ad-free. Gaim and other client software only allows single users to IM without ads.

Also, i believe, AOL does not want to wind up being the general cross connect between small independant networks. Assume I were to set up a Jabber network, and (miraculously) get thousands of users signed up and using it. If I wanted to let my thousand-user network communicate with the rest of the internet, AIM (or ICQ or any other major IM network) would be the obvious answer. I don't think AOL wants to give this even the slightest chance of happening -- so they're nipping it in the bud, so to speak.

Furthermore, AOL has (in principle, at least) the ability to monitor all IMs passing through its network. If it were to open up AIM and ICQ to other networks it would lose this ability -- at least partially -- to monitor user's communications.

Proud to be a member.
[ Parent ]
AOL *does* monitor IM data ... (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by dougmc on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 12:13:07 PM EST

Furthermore, AOL has (in principle, at least) the ability to monitor all IMs passing through its network.
I can't remember where I read this (perhaps somebody can help me here) but somebody was mentioning how if they sent a URL over IM to somebody, this URL would then be hit by AOL's spider shortly after. Even if this was some totally whacked URL that they could never determine in any other way, it would still be spidered within a day or two.

[ Parent ]
AOL's web proxy (none / 0) (#41)
by xee on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 05:20:38 PM EST

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, AOL might simply be doing this to increase performance for their users. If they spidered the page and stored it in a proxy, then the person you're sending the link to would see the cached page -- giving them a quicker response time. I'm not arguing for or against this practice, but it may be more benign than you'd expect. As far as I know, AOL proxies everything for better performance.

Proud to be a member.
[ Parent ]
Why does AOL bother? (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by PresJPolk on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 10:13:17 PM EST

1) Yes, there are plenty of people who would pay attention to the ads. Ever see all the discussions people have about this television ad or that, or people wishing for more targeted ads?

2) AOL has a reputation to maintain. Think of who their users are - those who know least about how computers work. If there is a problem with an aim-t, that causes many users' passwords to be lost, it could hurt their image, as falsely as they may be. So, whenever there is a large concentration of users, that makes for a target, they block.

3) Advertising. I'm sure AOL gets paid per view, rather than per click. The more users, the more money. And guess what? The more people whine that "All my friends are on it," the more AOL has motivation to proceed.

[ Parent ]
The Rights of AOLTW (4.60 / 5) (#30)
by Adam Theo on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 12:20:14 AM EST

Hello, everyone. This is just a follow-up to my post, in order to express my general feelings on the matters of AOL's rights and how Jabber can fight back that are spread through-out these comments.

I will first state that while I'm sure AOL does spend significant resources maintaining the AIM and ICQ networks, and they do consider their user's security, it is my personal belief that the primary (#1) reason they block outside networks is to lock their users in. This is not a paranoid raving, but a conclusion I've come to after seeing past actions (sorry, I don't have any legally-viable proof) and rationalizing the matter out.

I do not see AOL Time Warner as similar to the friendly mom and pop store down the street, even though they are both examples of capitalism and rely on the same economic rules to survive. I feel that being a conglomerate creates it's own "personality" around the company, and this personality realizes it can get away with alot of stuff that even it's managers and employees consider immoral. I don't expect anyone else to share this view.

Second, I am slowly coming to the belief that the networked digital age we now live in changes the rules of almost everything. It's beeing stated that AOL has every right to do what they are doing. It is after all, "their's". And the amazing thing is, a year ago I would have staunchly agreed. I used to be a die-hard capitalist, believing a true free market would solve any problems that came along. I don't know why, but I've been watching myself loose that view.

The networked digital age changes the rules of boundaries of ownership, I think. Now I don't mean any type of socialism where there is no property. I mean what we formerly considered ownable by specific entities like AOLTW is being forced to change. AOL no longer owns the borders to their network. Digital connectivity makes that a quaint and impossible concept. AOLTW can no longer control it's borders no more than I can control who takes a photo picture of me on a public street. I believe us users and us developers nopw have the right to digitally interoperate just like we have the right to take photos of public places.

I will follow up my negative attack on AOLTW with a constructive suggestion. They currently try to lock users to their clients in order to get ad revenue from the small banners in the clients. As has been stated, not only is banner ad revenue plummeting, and has been for a couple of years, but AOLTW cannot "open up" because of loosing this revenue stream.

What about this: Instead of banner ads, AOL should employ text ads. Sort of like email ads. But instead of the rampant spamimg like in email, AOL automatically sends out these ads once a week to every IM address that connected to it's networks to either be a user or communicate with users that past week. This would work very well, I think. That would allow anyone to use any client to connect, AOLTW would still get ad revenue, and also I would think that kind of text-based ad would fare much better than the small banner ads currently used.

In fact, I *really* like that idea... enough to consider something similar for Jabber servers to impliment. Alot of work to be done still, obviously, but it's worth a shot.

-- "A computer geek free-market socialist patriotic American Buddhist."

Until (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Robert S Gormley on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 01:27:32 AM EST

Some zealots edit the source code, to block out those ads, cause they've decided even those ads are still too high a price to pay.

[ Parent ]
Who needs source code to block/remove ads? (none / 0) (#38)
by phunbalanced on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 01:40:51 PM EST

And these are for the ads that everyone seems to think aol values so much!

Remove ads from ICQ client

Remove ads from AIM client

[ Parent ]

Spamming?? (none / 0) (#47)
by bmetzler on Fri Jan 11, 2002 at 06:46:24 PM EST

Instead of banner ads, AOL should employ text ads. Sort of like email ads. But instead of the rampant spamimg like in email, AOL automatically sends out these ads once a week to every IM address that connected to it's networks to either be a user or communicate with users that past week.

I'd think you'd get cries from everyone that AOL is now spamming. And that wouldn't be nice at all now, would it?

No, I think we need to accept that just as OracleSmallBusiness doesn't let people use there resources for free, AOL should be expected to use there resources for free. I don't know, maybe AOL would be willing to negotiate a small fee to support other services using its resources.

Otherwise, it'd be like a LUG meeting at a local resteraunt, filling up all the tables, and bringing their own food!

www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Best way to keep Jabber alive... (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by The Solitaire on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 04:18:56 PM EST

Well, here's my idea for making Jabber eventually beat out the big names.

Use it. And don't use the others.

Obviously, this is simplistic - I agree that there needs to be an easy-to-use client for Win32 (I've never used Jabber on win32 so I don't know what's out there already). And I think that Jabber also needs some good old fashion evangelism - that seems to be the way that ICQ really got going in the first place.

But really, the big thing that will stop people from moving to Jabber is that all their friends are on ICQ (or AIM or MSN etc). The transport idea seemed good to me originally, but I realized that it may hurt the cause as much as help it. I switched to Jabber from ICQ, and told everyone I knew about the great new open source alternative that could communicate with all the other IM networks. But they didn't really know anyone who used those (aside from ICQ in my case) networks, and they could still talk to me using ICQ, so why switch? Maybe because of the warm fuzzies associated with using open-source software, but I'm starting to think that not everyone gets those same fuzzies. Especially when it requires work.

So start using Jabber! Start boycotting the other networks! Spread the gospel to all your friends! It's gotta start somewhere, and it may as well be with you.

I need a new sig.

Jabber (none / 0) (#50)
by mstich on Tue Jan 15, 2002 at 07:15:51 PM EST

This is a really passionate issue of mine, I am really into the whole jabber scene. It is a very interesting technology, and I can really see it going somewhere.

The internet is supposed to be an open network, where everything should be interoperable. All of our normal internet functions are open (http, ftp, irc), so why should IM be closed?

I think for the time being, we should just politely speak to our friends and colleagues about this issue and how it is better in the long run to use Jabber as opposed to the closed protocol counterparts (ICQ/Aol, Yahoo). Hopefully they will understand.

At first, Jabber looked amazing, because of the fact that it can communicate via "transports" to various IM systems, but that's not all jabber is. It is also a self contained IM system on it's own. So if we all get some people to switch over, that would be great. No need to reverse engineer Aol's protocol just to communicate with it, we should all just use jabber in the end.

-- Mike D. Stich

What a Blacklisting Brings to Light | 51 comments (47 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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