In the super-fast paced world of today, something which is not ‘instant’ is as good as a rock. And above all, we need instant communication. For communication over the internet, we have e-mails and Instant Messengers or IM’s as we call them. Most of the IM’s belong to the line of CSS such as MSN and Yahoo! The developers of these systems do not disclose their source codes.
Known as the ‘Linux of instant messaging’, Jabber is an open source communication multi-protocol instant messaging application, i.e. it has the ability to connect to multiple IM networks. First developed in the year 1998 by Jeremie Miller, Jabber saw its first major release in the summer of 2000. By the year 2003, it had over 10 million users.
Jabber is used to refer to a set of open protocols for streaming XML elements. To spare you the technical jargon, it is an application very similar to the ‘classical’ IM systems such as MSN, Yahoo! etc. One can send and receive messages, know when their contacts are online, transfer files and play games. It has clients for Windows, Mac as well as Linux.
The advantage of Jabber over other IM’s lies in the fact that it is very transparent and easy to manipulate. It provides an alternative to directly managing each IM account through the multi-protocol client: IM gateways, or transports. Using transports, connections to the closed IM networks are handled by a gateway on the user’s server itself, not a master-server like in the case of CSS IM’s, while Jabber users talk to each other directly. This feature functions well for users running private Jabber servers. However, large public servers sometimes face problems of server overload. But the pros outweigh the cons significantly. Using a Jabber transport brings several benefits while keeping the utility intact, both for the end user and the programmer of the client: less complexity on the client level, possibility to log in with multiple clients (e.g. mobile phone and computer) to the same account accompanied by a lower chance of impingement of privacy of the end user thanks to the fact that the user’s IP address is not disclosed..
The software itself is closer to ‘instant e-mail’ than to a classical IM. It is user friendly, easy to understand and work with. Users create their own servers where they can chat with their contacts; there is no master-server. Every user has a unique Jabber ID (JID) of the form email@example.com. This has an advantage over other IM’s such as MSN which use the user’s email ID for their account name, hence making them vulnerable to spam mails. The official website of Jabber, www.jabber.org gives a description of how the messages are delivered. A better description could not be asked for:-
Juliet doesn't send a message directly ("peer to peer") to Romeo, at least not in the Jabber world. Juliet has an account on a Jabber server, and her JID looks a lot like an email address. Since Juliet is a Capulet, she registers the username "juliet" with the Jabber server running at capulet.com, so her JID is firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly, Romeo has an account on his family's server and his JID is email@example.com.
Once Juliet has logged into the capulet.com server, she can send messages to her sweetie. To be precise, here is what happens when Juliet starts the client on her Windows laptop out on the balcony:
Juliet sends a message addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The message is handled by the Jabber server at capulet.com
The capulet.com server opens a connection to montague.net if one is not already open
Assuming that the family elders have not disabled server-to-server communications between capulet.com and montague.net, Juliet's message is routed to the Jabber server at montague.net
The server at montague.net sees that the message is addressed to a user named "romeo" and delivers it to the Jabber client running on Romeo's PDA in the Capulets' orchard
The message appears on the PDA screen, and Romeo swoons “
Jabber has a long and distinguished list of clients: Google, Sun Microsystems, Gaim, Buddyspace, Exodus, Psi and GoTalkMobile to name a few. Constant development is being made to improve the technology. All the known code libraries for Jabber developments are freely available, true to the nature of Open Source. Users can build custom functionalities for their Jabber system.
Jabber has tremendous potential. Developers are discovering this and developing software and applications whose core comprises of Jabber. Jabber IM provides a fast, reliable and ad-free alternative to the ‘classical’ IM systems.
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In the super-fast paced world of today, something which is not ‘instant’ is as good as a rock. And above all, we need instant communication. For communication over the internet, we have e-mails and Instant Messengers or IM’s as we call them. Most of the IM’s belong to the line of CSS such as MSN and Yahoo! The developers of these systems do not disclose their source codes. Read More