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Hazards of early adoption

  • 3rd Oct, 2005 at 3:34 AM

You know how sometimes, you see this really great thing and you think, "oh wow! I have to get me one of those." Now, I'm usually on the trailing edge of technology adoption, as many people can attest. I mean, I haven't even gotten a mobile phone yet.

But Jabber was one of those things that really caught my eye in 1999. An open, extensible, standard point-to-point chat protocol. Nice! So I got myself an account and poked around. It had server-side buddy lists, so you didn't have to back them up or cart them around. You could send messages to people on other Jabber servers, so your friends didn't have to all be on the same host. Excellent!

Oh, except nobody was using Jabber at the time. They solved that one too, by writing transports that would let your Jabber account hook in to your other accounts. So I imported my ICQ buddy list into Jabber, and didn't look back.

Oh, until about four hours ago.

You see, the world went in another direction. Instead of adopting Jabber, people decided to use clients that could talk multiple protocols natively. So instead of converging toward one common network, we still have around five disjoint flavours of instant messanging in the world. When I talk to younger folk, they'll rattle off a list of their account names, in the hopes that their newfound friend will be on at least one of these services.

Crazy. But true.

I won't go into why Jabber transports failed. But needless to say, I've abandoned their use. Poor Bitlbee is now hooked into three different servers at any given time. And I had to spend a good hour dumping out my client-side ICQ buddy list into the Oscar server. (Yes, I am that out-of-date.)

But at least I see which people are on-line now.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
3rd Oct, 2005 13:15 (UTC)
Google Talk, unfortunately, has not set up server-to-server links on their server yet. So I don't consider them part of the public Jabber network.
3rd Oct, 2005 17:08 (UTC)
Have you ever tried to enter a Jabber "room" through Bitlbee? I haven't been able to figure out whether it's possible; it's the one thing that keeps me reliant on an additional chat client.
3rd Oct, 2005 18:11 (UTC)
Jabber groupchats don't seem to be supported yet. I suppose it's something to hack in, if I ever felt the need to do so. But of course, I use IRC, and I my friends idle in channels.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )