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Review: Jabber messenger bridges digital gaps

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PC World

(IDG) -- Instant messaging is great when everyone you need to reach uses the same system, but it can become a Tower of Babel nightmare when they don't. With the free Jabber Instant Messenger, you're able to chat with ICQ, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger users, as well as with other JIM subscribers.

Jabber.com isn't the first company to try to link with other services, but most of those services (especially AOL Instant Messenger) have been quick to block any kind of interoperability. During informal testing, Jabber.com's new version 1.6.0.3 was able to communicate successfully with the other services, albeit not with complete reliability. JIM even worked fairly successfully with AIM, but AOL subsequently began to block JIM's access to AIM's servers. (AOL Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.com.)

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Since Jabber is open-source, several clients are available, but JIM appears to be the most stable. Its interface is very AIM-like, with a simple contacts list that can be organized into folders, plus toolbar buttons to handle basic functions. JIM allows you to chat one-on-one with another user or simultaneously with multiple users from other services.

To use JIM to chat with non-Jabber IM users, you must first set up a gateway with each service. This entails creating an account for the outside service and then entering the account name and password into JIM's gateway settings. It took several tries to set up MSN Messenger and ICQ gateways.

JIM has fewer advanced features than ICQ or AIM, but it has advantages for users with contacts across the IM universe.

Jabber Instant Messenger 1.6.0.3

PRO: Interoperable with multiple messenger services; clean interface.

CON: Won't work with AIM.

VALUE: Well-designed chat client that bridges (some) digital gaps.



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RELATED SITES:
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