Freeing people from Microsoft's grasp: A plan to spread Jabber use.

Forum: LXer Meta ForumTotal Replies: 1
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Jan 07, 2007
11:24 AM EDT
Converting people to use another instant messaging service is a pain. It is usually impossible due to network effects. No one changes if their friends won't also change, and those friends won't change unless all of their friends - some which the first convertee probably doesn't know - change as well.

Of course, it's the people's problem if they use Windows Live Messenger. Or is it? Yes, I can use third-party MSN clients, but that still doesn't mean I wouldn't suffer from the MSN network's bugs. Having the network eat my messages is a pain.

How to get people using Jabber? One way, and probably the best one, is to make them passive Jabber users. In other words, try to get them to have Jabber online when they have MSN online. They don't have to actively use Jabber, but the option to connect using it should be there.

To achieve that, Jabber should probably be made a "set up and forget" thing. You launch MSN, you launch Jabber.

Gaim and Trillian are two good, popular multiprotocol instant messengers. They are the tools for the job. Since we can't do much about Trillian (It looks that the Cerulean folks are going in the right direction, though. I'm going to send them an email asking for the Jabber plugin to be in the base install, though), Gaim is what we have to work with. Here's the to-do list:

1. Better Jabber support. You can't get many common folk to use something that doesn't work. Top-notch GTalk interoperability is vital, considering it's somewhat of an oddball among Jabber servers.

2. Better MSN interoperability. At the moment, Gaim cannot show the "personal messages" of MSN users, and file transfers are slow as hell. Though I think staying away from Winks is good for everyone's sanity, decent Nudge support wouldn't hurt (as long as they can be turned off)

3. Native interface. Whether we like it or not, Windows is the main OS in use today. I'm a happy WinGaim user, but that doesn't change the fact that Gaim on Windows is - whatever the GTK theme in use - just plain ugly. A native interface and some nice icons would be good. Then the program could be judged by it's merits against WLM.

4. We need to bundle WinGaim and Guifications together. People are used to their toaster popups. Having Guifications inform of sign-ins and signoffs and having said messages bolded (so you can see the text. Trust me, it's good that way) is probably ideal.

This way, we can point at WLM and say: "Look, that thing is crap. It's sluggish, has ads, and includes a metric ton of stuff you don't really use, anyway. Now, try Gaim. It's lighter, more useable, and has features that are actually useful rather than annoying."

Then, if the person converts, ask him/her is he/she uses Gmail, LiveJournal, or some other service that also offers Jabber. Then it's "Hey, would you like to try Jabber? It's like MSN, but better on the technical side. Don't worry, once it's set up you can pretty much forget it. If MSN happens to have problems, though, you can at least talk to people via Jabber". Or something. Market it as a "safety net". If the fella is of that type, also explain the M$-freeness side of the thing.

Jan 07, 2007
2:19 PM EDT
Good points. I love gmail's integrated jabber client. I use gaim when I'm at home, but it's nice to have jabber available wherever you are just by logging into gmail.

Another tactic would be to get them using gmail and then jabber them whenever you see them logged in. ;) Then tell them "Hey, you know you can use that gmail chat service without being in gmail..."

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