[jdev] What makes Jabber easy

Stephen Marquard scm at marquard.net
Thu Sep 2 08:50:19 CDT 2004

On 2 Sep 2004 at 21:35, Trejkaz Xaoza wrote:

> That there is still so much criticism directed at Jabberd for its
> difficulty to get working, reflects not only on Jabberd itself, but on the
> people who created packages for their distros, which were supposed to work
> out of the box.
> So why don't we direct the attention _there_?  If all Jabber packages on
> all distros worked out of the box, would there still be a good excuse not
> to run it?

For what it's worth, Jabberd2 runs out of the box from the FreeBSD 
ports tree on FreeBSD 4.9x. Sadly however the FreeBSD port for mu-
conference+JCR is still languishing somewhere in the FreeBSD ports 
approval process.

On the topic of Jabber being easy for users, some of this is definitely 
to do with clients adopting sensible defaults.

I've tried several (including Exodus, JAJC, Psi, Pandion), and the one 
that is actually really easy to use is Pandion (www.pandion.be), 
although it's a Windows-only client.

When I installed a Jabber server at a nearby school, it didn't take off 
for months when JAJC was the client available, as it was too difficult 
for people to configure (they needed to select SSL, jabber server with 
hostname different to the domain part of the JID, etc.).

When Pandion 2.02 was installed, Jabber usage increased four-fold 
within a week, because ALL you have to do is enter your jabberid and 
password, and it does the rest (e.g. lookups of DNS SRV records, 
negotiates SSL connection, automatically uses the right chat server for 
conferences, etc.). This is using LDAP authentication where users 
already know their Jabber ID (same as email address / network login) 
and password.

So that to my mind makes Jabber "easy" for users, because they don't 
have to understand for example that there's a separate domain name for 
a conference server.

A lot of available Jabber clients are feature-rich but the volume of 
features detracts from their usability, and they're too complex for  
new users to configure 1st-time round.

Stephen Marquard
ICT Consultant
scm at marquard.net
Cell: +27-83-500-5290

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