Jabber

It’s official. Jabberforum.org has replaced the old forums on Jabber.org. Besides running a real forum software, it has a lot of nice features.

Social Groups: Social groups are communities on the forum, where members can post some pictures and post messages. A bit like Jaiku Channels, just with pictures and without SMS.

Thats fun, but there’s more!

The coolest feature we just installed is: Mailinglist integration! You can now read all posts from the mailinglists via the forum, and also reply to them via the forum! We currently have set up 3 lists, Jadmin / Jdev and Juser, but we’ll add more soon.

I showed this to stpeter, who is mainly hanging out on Mailinglists, and isn’t really familiar with Forums, but even he said:

[00:08:28] <stpeter> niiiiiice!

This means something 🙂

So join the 21st century, join Jabberforum.org

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First off, if you have a good 3G data plan with unlimited everything, or don’t care about paying your precious €€€s to mobile service providers, you can skip this article altogether 🙂

My E61!The last few weeks I’ve been traveling quite a  lot, and didn’t always have Open WiFi near me. So I needed to use overpriced 3G connections by Proximus.

Before you tell me, why don’t you have a Data Plan, let me tell you that they are only valid for Belgium itself, and not foreign networks. Why should I need a Data Plan when I am at home? So much about that.

Using 3G a lot in foreign countries, I asked my provider what the actual costs would be. They told me, using Pay&Go Cards you are paying 1,50€ / 100KB. I thought, hey, sounds fair. I mean, the only thing I want to do is check my Jabber Offline Messages and E-mail from time to time.

Let me tell you one thing in the beginning: Do NOT check E-mail with such a rate plan. I downloaded the headers of my E-mail once, and it cost me 400KB! That were just the headers. So forget that directly.

Talkonaut 4.0So I used Jabber. My setup was Talkonaut 3.0 with compression enabled. Do not try to use Jabber without compression. Ask your Server Administrator if the server supports compression, and make sure your client supports it. Using compression I had about 10x less data transferred. If you think about the overpriced traffic, it’s worth enabling it.

I have to say, compared to MSN, yes, I have that installed too, Jabber consumes a lot less. So use Jabber transports instead of native clients.

But what can be improved?

First of all, typing notifications. They consume bandwidth for nothing. And when being mobile, do you really care about someone typing? You don’t. This should be filtered on the server and not sent to the mobile device.

Then you have status changes. About 50% of all my traffic were status changes of people on my roster. Ok, I have a big roster (around 400 persons), but again, I don’t care about people coming online or offline, when I am chatting with someone. I don’t see the roster, and I don’t want to. As proposed at the XMPP DevCon, these statuses should be queued on the server, and just the last status should be kept, until my client requests them, i.e. I check my Contact List, or hit a refresh button.

Talkonaut 3On third place, I have my contact list. Every time I log in, the contact list is downloaded. This consumes with compression enabled about 30KB on my account. That’s just a waste of bandwidth. My contact list doesn’t change that often, why can’t the client cache it? Then you need to get the status of every contact. My guess is, that you get them one by one. I.e. contact 1 is online, contact 2 is online, contact 3 is offline … etc. You could do: contact, 1,2 are online, contact 3 is offline. This would compress better and you would save bandwidth. Again, this should be prepared on the server.

I remember that a big part of the discussion for mobility was about power consumption. I have been using 3G quite a lot and WiFi, whenever I found one, and I have to say I don’t see any problem with the consumption. But if anyone has seen the battery of an E61 by Nokia, you know why. It’s huge! I think it’s more important to get clients that consume less bandwidth, as that is something that you really have to pay for. You can recharge your mobile phone nearly anywhere.

Well, that’s it for today. Feel free to comment with your ideas and experiences with your mobile and 3G roaming.

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I started using Jabber in 2004. Since then, I’m sorry to say, not much has happened.

Jabber still more or less only supports text messaging, file transfer works quite bad, compared to other IM Networks, and Jingle isn’t implement anywhere. This might be exagerated a bit, as there are some attempts for Jingle implementation, and file transfer works with some clients, but it doesn’t work with most of the clients.

I think this is a pity, as Jabber is a technology with alot of potential on so many levels.

Jingle:

Jingle would be great if it would be implemented.  But apparantly it is too complicated. So if there would be a few good libraries, this could be realized.

File Transfer:

File transfer is more or less my favourite topic on Jabber 🙂 . It often doesn’t work. Just tried to recieve a file without any success. Although both sides have a SOCKS5 proxy set up. Weird.

Then, at the XMPP DevCon, Pedro Melo came up with the idea, why not use torrent? There are tons of good libraries which can be added to the clients, and all of these libraries do very good NAT traversals and this technology could lead to cool new features.

In theory, you could send one file to several persons, without uploading it to everyone seperately. You could also have Pubsub deliver content, for example your podcasts as torrents.

Server operators could run a torrent proxy, which speeds up downloads, and many other things are possible.

Jabber vs. XMPP:

The last thing I’m going to talk about in this post, is the name. The technology has been renamed to XMPP to make sure that there will be no legal issues in the future with Jabber Inc., but many of us still use Jabber instead of XMPP.

Jabber vs XMPPAs you can see on the graph, Jabber is far more known than XMPP. Red is Jabber, blue is XMPP. All the marks are explained here.

Invisibility & blocked contacts:

Then we have invisibility. There seems to be no real standard for being invisible.  It doesn’t work with all transports. Then you have blocked contacts. I have to be honest, I haven’t played with Privacy Lists on my account, as I generally like everyone on Jabber, but I am missing the button, block contact. This is something which would be useful for all the switchers from other networks.

Well, I think this is all for today. Keep on Jabbering 🙂

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Today I discovered a very interesting initiative. It is about Data Portability.DP Logo

This might be the future for all websites and internet related applications. As a user, your profile, contacts, photos, videos and any other form of data is stored on the service providers servers. This means, for every website, you need to create a new login, invite all your friends manually to the service, upload your avatar and so on.

The next issue is, that you need to have some trust in the operator of the service, because he stores your password and other personal information.

Why shouldn’t it be possible to use a single login for everything? All your account data is stored and managed by yourself, so that the service providers don’t get hold of your personal information.

There have been some attempts in that direction, such as OpenID, but the Web needs alot more.

As mentioned above, your login, contacts, files should be portable from any service to another.

Jabber LightbulbAnd this is where Jabber comes in. I would like to be able to migrate my contacts from any Jabber Server to another. Instead of issuing re-invites to everyone, starting with a new roster, you should be able to transport all your data from any service provider to another.

But what about Identity theft? Isn’t that more dangerous if you have your own identity for every service? I.e. one E-mail adress gets hacked, and boom, you loose your identity?

Is this worthy of an XEP?

Think about it 🙂

Tell me what you think.

/Florian Jensen

Links: XSF; DataPortability

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Proprietary protocols are things from yesterday. Today, Opensource technologies are taking over the world! AOL / ICQ has just launched a test server using XMPP, an open technology. This means that you’ll soon be able to talk to your ICQ / AIM contacts via Jabber. Google has already started using it. So who’s next? MSN!

AOL seems to be making its ICQ and AIM services compatible with XMPP: xmpp.oscar.aol.com PS: it’s still buggy and is only claimed to work in Exodus and Coccinella. It works in nearly all Jabber clients. But that is probably because the server is overloaded.

There has been a vivid discussion today on the Jdev MUC room about this. It looks like Jabber will be the solution which will rule the future of all messengers.

You can try to log in to ICQ with the username icqnumber@aol.com on server xmpp.oscar.aol.com on port 5222. TLS is required.

Let’s see what happens in the next few months with Jabber.

You can find Jabber Hosting for your Domain on Flosoft.biz . You’ll probably be able to chat to your ICQ contacts soon!

UPDATE: AIM seems to work too!

UPDATE2: There is a tutorial here on how to setup your Jabber Client

UPDATE3: I just recieved this picture from jjkobra. It works with Gajim! AOL adopting XMPP aka Jabber

UPDATE4: It seems to work in Psi too!

UPDATE5: A comment by AOL. 

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A few years ago, ICQ and AIM joined forces and opened their network to communicate to eachother.

A few days ago, MSN opened their Network to the Yahoo Network.

“This first-of-its-kind interoperability between consumer IM leadersMicrosoft and Yahoo! gives our customers tremendous control,convenience and freedom in their Web communication experiences withWindows Live,” said Blake Irving, corporate vice president, WindowsLive Platform at Microsoft. “We’re proud to deliver this latestadvancement in IM services that empower people to communicate withvirtually whomever they want, wherever they want and whenever theywant.”

Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger with Voice users in theU.S. and more than 15 international markets can register to participatein the IM interoperability beta by visiting Yahoo!.The new beta program will be available in Argentina, Australia, Brazil,Canada (English and French), China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India,Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey,the United Kingdom and the United States (English and Spanish).

Personally I am not a fan of Microsoft nor Yahoo Messenger. The solution is Jabber! OpenSource and free! There are alot of Transports which give the user the possibility to connect to other Messenger Networks.

Flosoft Messenger, a Jabber Service, can be found at: http://im.flosoft.biz

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QunuAre you tired of looking for help on all these Forums for help?

Well here is the solution! Qunu.com!

At qunu.com you can find instant help for all your Computer related problems. And the nice thing is, it uses Jabber!

So just register or login with your own JID and start helping out people. You just enter your fields of expertise in your Profile, and you’re ready to go.

If you are only looking for help, no registration is required. Just browse and find!

I haven’t seen any site which was better than this one.

PS: Jabber Rocks!

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