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Internal Instant Messaging Client / Server Combo?

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the this-message-is-being-recorded dept.

Software 360

strongmantim writes "I manage an internal help desk (25-30 people) for a medium-large company in the healthcare industry. We're looking for an internal, secure, FOSS (if possible) instant messaging / presence awareness client and server combo. Transmission of Protected Health Information is a sensitive issue, so the server has to be able to log any conversations that occur. It is preferred that the client not support outside protocols such as AIM, MSN, Yahoo, etc.; if it does, I will have to promulgate and enforce yet one more policy that my techs not connect to them. All of the computers that will connect run Windows XP. The system should be scalable up to ~100 people (in case we decide to include our entire office in the roll-out). Hardware and OS for the server are not an issue. Oh, and one more thing: It has to be free. Suggestions?"

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360 comments

Jabber is what you need (4, Insightful)

osssmkatz (734824) | about 5 years ago | (#27484519)

The question is which client and which server, and that I don't know. You should be able to lock it down by not allowing anyone to change its preferences.

--Sam

Re:Jabber is what you need (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484721)

Openfire

Not another one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484813)

Hey look, another Ask Slashdot that should have been Ask Google! Wow! You never see those on here or anything. Maybe this could have been an Ask Freshmeat if they still want a solution from OSDN.

Re:Not another one (3, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 5 years ago | (#27484871)

You know, I had the exact same issue this guy is having and, guess what - google gave me that exact answer (Openfire).
Of course, I used MirandaIM because I knew Miranda had Jabber support and it's a decent little client, but yeah, another vote for both Openfire and "just fucking google it next time".

Re:Not another one (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484895)

Haven't had your coffee yet, dear?

Re:Not another one (2, Insightful)

Kleen13 (1006327) | about 5 years ago | (#27484939)

Hey look, another Ask Slashdot that should have been Ask Google! Wow! You never see those on here or anything. Maybe this could have been an Ask Freshmeat if they still want a solution from OSDN.

Boooooo. It's not a rumour, you do suck. Perhaps you should stop pissing in your Cheerios every morning and realize that perhaps he wanted a professional or experienced opinion.

Re:Not another one (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485027)

Hey look, another Ask Slashdot that should have been Ask Google! Wow! You never see those on here or anything. Maybe this could have been an Ask Freshmeat if they still want a solution from OSDN.

Boooooo. It's not a rumour, you do suck. Perhaps you should stop pissing in your Cheerios every morning and realize that perhaps he wanted a professional or experienced opinion.

Or maybe you're as lazy and as willing to offload your research onto others as he is, and thus feel a need to stick up for him. If you want to do that sort of hand-waving you'll find that it's easy to come up with a million excuses for it. Still doesn't mean that what I said isn't true.

It's like front-end tech support. The majority of the calls are asking questions that are answered in page one of the manual, the help file, the README, and the FAQ. But people would rather call tech support and wait on hold for 30 minutes to get these easy answers. Why? Because they're helpless since they refuse to help themselves or even try to. If someone has a genuine mental disability or something of that nature, that would be completely different and very understandable and I would not complain. But that is not what we're talking about here at all.

Oh, and from the very first line of the summary:

"I manage an internal help desk (25-30 people) for a medium-large company in the healthcare industry.

This is someone who should be able to handle Google. I think I've made my point.

Re:Not another one (2, Insightful)

Kleen13 (1006327) | about 5 years ago | (#27485129)

Your point is that he's wasting your time? You probably shouldn't have replied then. My boo stands.

Re:Not another one -- your a moron (-1, Troll)

teknosapien (1012209) | about 5 years ago | (#27485053)

Stop being a dumb L33T3 (or really dumb paper tiger) and actually do something positive for the IT portion of the world. Your type of attitude needs to leave the IT industry, you leave a bad taste in the mouths of the ones that think IT is just overhead. Wake up! Grow up!

Re:Jabber is what you need (5, Informative)

craagz (965952) | about 5 years ago | (#27484847)

Openfire.. so easy you will be surprised. I've just come off a successful implementation at our workplace.
hack out the pidgin plugins. Pidgin Portable 2.5.5 is around 23MB and I removed all languages except English, plugins of everything except Jabber. Compressed it and 8MB.

Re:Jabber is what you need (2, Informative)

flosofl (626809) | about 5 years ago | (#27484979)

I second the Openfire/Spark combo (or other client of your choice). I set it up at work as a quick and dirty IM for our department (flung around the world). It's fantastic for quick questions or collabs that don't need or require email or phone. We've been using it for years (back when it used to be called Wildfire), and have not had one issue with it.

Re:Jabber is what you need (3, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#27484799)

He could set up a Debian box (or virtual machine, whatever) running Jabber under his company's label in about an hour, including the OS install. Add a couple of hours to set up a backup/failover system synchronized via rsync and he's good to go. As for clients, there are a bunch of Java-based Jabber clients that integrate nicely with virtually any web app you've got deployed (with a bit of Perl or PHP glue, in some cases).

Re:Jabber is what you need (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 5 years ago | (#27485005)

If you go that route, you could instead install Xming on the clients and run the jabber client locally, on the jabber server. Kind of high overhead, but full and complete control.

Each department could have their own eJabber server, so granularity would be rather fine.

Pidgin (4, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 5 years ago | (#27484521)

Use the encryption capabilities in Pidgin.

http://pidgin.im/ [pidgin.im]

Re:Pidgin (2, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about 5 years ago | (#27484549)

I love Pidgin, but that doesn't fit the "does not support outside protocols" criteria.

Re:Pidgin (0, Flamebait)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 5 years ago | (#27484627)

Pidgin is GPL, hack your own version so that
it does not support the 'outside protocols'.

It should be relatively straightforward.

Re:Pidgin (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484717)

You don't even need to do this. All the protocols are dynamically loaded (AFAIK, this is the case on Windows as well).

Just remove the files for the unsupported protocols & block all jabber communications with the outside through the firewall (gmail for instance uses jabber).

BTW, suggesting he hack the source instead of providing him with a client that meets his criteria is only useful if there are no free Windows clients that meet his needs. Since there are, at best you are telling him to use closed-source free (as in beer) software. At worst, he'll resort to closed-source non-free software.

If there are no open-source alternatives, offer to create him one by a fixed-cost contract, cause my guess would be that they are more concerned with recurring per-seat license costs than just paying $1000 one time up-front.

Re:Pidgin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484787)

Not everyone is a coder damnit. and even among people who do have the skills necessary... how many do you think actually take a foss app and roll their own? "features" no one cares abount aren't selling points. yes, it's great. No, it is not the solution to every god damn problem.

Re:Pidgin (2, Informative)

Cylix (55374) | about 5 years ago | (#27484729)

Pidgin protocols are supported through plugins.

Removing the respective plugin removes support for that protocol.

There are other measures which can be taken to ensure it stays protocol broken, but it really depends on how far the requester is willing to go.

Re:Pidgin (2, Informative)

erlehmann (1045500) | about 5 years ago | (#27484643)

While Pidgin may be a reasonable multi-protocol client as a Jabber client I would suggest Gajim [gajim.org], which also does PGP and esession encryption (Pidgin cannot do either, AFAIK).

Disclaimer (possible conflict of interest): I contributed the :3 smilie to the Gajim icon set.

Re:Pidgin (1)

hannson (1369413) | about 5 years ago | (#27484949)

The latest version of Gajim is 0.12.1.
 
Is it stable enough?

Re:Pidgin (2, Informative)

erlehmann (1045500) | about 5 years ago | (#27485117)

considering that its been around for 5 years, the answer may not surprise you - or anyone for that matter: yes it is. i know only of one reliable way to crash it and that was a problem with the xmpp specification and has since been fixed. even running svn - which i do - does not necessarily mean there will be any instabilities.

SILC (5, Informative)

Zapotek (1032314) | about 5 years ago | (#27484539)

You can setup a SILC server.
That's what we used to use in a company I worked for and it worked quite nice.

Jabber. (4, Informative)

Mercury (13121) | about 5 years ago | (#27484553)

You're looking for a jabber server and client.

I work for a credit card company, and we use ejabberd on the server end of things.

You probably have some jabber only client options, but those will still be able to connect to other jabber servers like Google Chat.

Live with it, because any IM server worth using is going to have _some_ public servers.

I'll leave the logging up to you, ejabberd can do it, but our company decided that the security issues involved with storing the logs were much worse then not having the logs.

(Having stored, unencrypted, card data for any length of time is something that, on the very optimistic (good luck with the auditor) side requires a great deal of security. And just encrypting the drive it's sitting on doesn't really do away with more then half of that. Health data should be as much of a nightmare, but maybe not.)

Re:Jabber. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27484677)

Arguably, attempting to enforce protocol/connection restrictions on the client end, for any value of "enforce" beyond "make sure that the settings you want are the ones the drones receive automatically on login", is the wrong way to do it. Doesn't hurt to try; but it is really your firewall's job.

Re:Jabber. (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#27484767)

Live with it, because any IM server worth using is going to have _some_ public servers.
Actually, the whole point is that they CAN NOT. Hippa mandates that they do not do that. It would be possible for somebody to copy/paste into the wrong window. For that, it would certainly lead to a firing, and possible jailing. I have consider doing a talk for kopete with an enforced port (via code). It sounds like that is exactly what is needed, though a secured jabberd would cut it.

Re:Jabber. (1)

Sancho (17056) | about 5 years ago | (#27485021)

The original request said that it shouldn't support outside protocols, not outside servers. Finding a pre-written IM protocol that doesn't support an outside server is simply not going to happen. What you'd really want is to be able to use policies or some other technological means to restrict people from connecting to anything but the company server. They're dealing with HIPPA already, so they should have a fairly strict firewall that would take care of this. If they don't, it seems like they should be looking at fixing their infrastructure before implementing IM.

Re:Jabber. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485029)

Hippa mandates that they do not do that.

Maybe "hippa" mandates that, please site where HIPAA mandates this.

Re:Jabber. (1)

teknosapien (1012209) | about 5 years ago | (#27484995)

umm no you dont have to ever go through a public server if your routing is set up correctly in your client/server setup -- if you are already stopping IM via - non-install/network protocol/routing restrictions then your half way there. Any FOSS package you decide to install you can apply those restrictions/rules.

Openfire (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484561)

http://www.igniterealtime.org/projects/openfire/index.jsp [igniterealtime.org]

Works very well. Meets all your reqirements. Client supports Mac, Win and Linux but is a resource hog. It's jabber though so you can use many clients.

Re:Openfire (2, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | about 5 years ago | (#27484641)

http://www.igniterealtime.org/projects/openfire/index.jsp [igniterealtime.org]

Works very well. Meets all your reqirements. Client supports Mac, Win and Linux but is a resource hog. It's jabber though so you can use many clients.

I second OpenFire. We have been (mostly) happily using it for a couple of years now. Trivially easy to setup, can back onto all the major DBs (or has one builtin) and has reasonable - if a bit clumsy and limited - capabilities to integrate with Active Directory.

Re:Openfire (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 5 years ago | (#27484683)

I love Openfire. I've been using it for over a year. Great plugins for logging, and an overall easy to use web interface. I have to agree that the Spark client is a killer resource hog (java based).

Re:Openfire (1)

Chazmosis (831113) | about 5 years ago | (#27484985)

Agreeing with the Above on this one. I've just rolled out Openfire with Spark to my 320 workstations and it just works

Re:Openfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485081)

I second this. OpenFire has support for logging, and I'm pretty sure encryption. It also integrates with Asterisk based PBX systems (very, very convenient), supports many different SQL back-ends, quick provisioning and is open source. It's a great project.

The Spark IM client is a bit resource intensive, but it's quite full featured (and is a very, very powerful tool when combined with the Asterisk integration)

Re:Openfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485119)

I agree, too. We run Openfire at work, with SSL encryption between client and server. Any jabber/xmpp client that fits your needs will work.

As far as locking stuff down, can you not block all the chat protocols at the firewall? Better yet, why not set up white-list egress filtering?

Re:Openfire (1)

SigmaTao (629358) | about 5 years ago | (#27485163)

Agree wholeheartedly.. works very well - have it running on a W2003 server with Windows and Linux clients - using Spark, Pidgin and Pandion clients. (Linux Spark client not particularly stable but Pidgin works very well). Setup very simple. Conversations are SSL encrypted. Lots of server side addons, and server based stats and monitoring are available.

Look for LDAP / Active Directory Integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484565)

I would try to find one that integrates nicely with Active Directory. This way you can have:

- True single sign on. The client should re-use current windows credentials for the person already logged into the workstation.

- Automatic team awareness: a person wouldn't need to "add buddy". Everyone on their team would already be a buddy. Especially handy for new staff.

I don't know of any product that supports these, though.

Re:Look for LDAP / Active Directory Integration (1)

Omniscientist (806841) | about 5 years ago | (#27484687)

I'm not aware of any instant messaging client that integrates nicely with Active Directory other than Office Communicator (hell, it extends the schema), which definitely fails in the "FOSS" department.

I believe Jabber has LDAP support, however I'm not sure if there is any sort of "corporate address book" functionality built in.

Re:Look for LDAP / Active Directory Integration (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27484757)

If you really want heavy AD integration, you probably fall into the grasp of Microsoft Office Communications Server. You can absolutely forget free in that case, though.

FOSS side, I'm fairly sure that at least some degree of LDAP integration is possible, though it has been a while since last I checked.

Re:Look for LDAP / Active Directory Integration (1)

galatian (52029) | about 5 years ago | (#27484841)

Openfire (which has been suggested above) has AD integration. I run it at my school (with 900+ students/staff) and manage all the logins with the central AD server. Easy to set up and configure too.

Re:Look for LDAP / Active Directory Integration (1)

glitch23 (557124) | about 5 years ago | (#27485085)

WiredRed makes an IM client/server called e/pop. It can integrate with ADS and settings are hardwired into the binary which is deployed to all clients. Therefore no worries that a user can change anything b/c only clients with the option enabled (again, in the binary) to change stuff can even see the available settings. It is not free though. If I recall correctly the price is about $15 per user. Because they make their own server it can work in private networks but the last I saw (4 years ago) they didn't use Jabber.

Open Fire (1, Redundant)

TrippTDF (513419) | about 5 years ago | (#27484571)

Open Fire [igniterealtime.org] is a wonderful Open Source server for jabber. I used it in a similar situation a few years back. There are many jabber clients- I'm sure you can find one that meets your needs.

Re:Open Fire (1)

WhoCantTakeAJoke (1257240) | about 5 years ago | (#27484735)

I second. Openfire and Pidgin, Spark, etc.

Re:Open Fire (1)

d3matt (864260) | about 5 years ago | (#27484883)

Third. I've got an openfire server running at my office. It's quite easy to administer (and upgrade). I've used Spark and it's also quite easy to use, but we're using pidgin because we have no restrictions about connecting to outside IM servers.

Re:Open Fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485063)

Seconded ... I'm using this for the IT department at our municipal government ... works wonderfully and so far has never tried to call home or anything beyond the firewall.

IRC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484575)

Why not IRC? It does everything you need it to, is easy to use, is fully open source.

IRC? (2, Interesting)

gaelfx (1111115) | about 5 years ago | (#27484579)

I've always found that IRC is pretty handy as a help service, most Linux distros host live help chat on it. Many other FOSS solutions seem to use it as well, such as VLC, OpenOffice.org, etc. I'm not sure how exactly one would go about setting up a server, but I can't imagine it would cost much of anything and it shouldn't be too difficult to set up. There is a pretty good wiki about it, it should have all the relevant links you could need for finding out how to do it. Cheers.

Re:IRC? (1)

adriel (875943) | about 5 years ago | (#27484663)

I would suggest to use IRC too, the setup is easy. There is alot of guide and freeware availiable for download now days to even run the server on windows.

Run your own IRC Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484581)

Use IRC. It's easily logged, there's a ton of clients, usernames can be enforced, it doesn't need to connect to outside servers. You can have multiple servers to enhance uptime. You easily have rooms where multiple can see what's going on allowing for more free-form input to conversations. Yet you still have person to person communications. Also, you can have bots. Have them setup to answer frequent questions, see who's oncall, all kinds of stuff.

I might suggest IRC (1)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | about 5 years ago | (#27484583)

If you don't expect many people to be using it, you could consider setting up an IRC. I would suggest this tutorial. http://www.howtoforge.com/linux_irc_server_anope_services [howtoforge.com]

This tutorial describes how to set up and run an UnrealIRCD server on OpenSuSE 10.2 and Fedora Core 6. It also shows how to install Anope IRC services. Anope is a set of Services for IRC networks that allows users to manage their nicks and channels in a secure and efficient way, and administrators to manage their network with powerful tools.

Its FOSS, you can setup SSL, and it should be fairly easy to log/manage. With the tools available each person would be setting up their own chat room (just by naming it) and logging should be a snap.

Jabber and one of the single protocoll clients (1)

jeffm2501 (839540) | about 5 years ago | (#27484589)

At our work the IT guys wanted to set up an IM network for similar reasons. They went with Jabber, and one of the jabber only clients (Coccinella, I think). They have it run through SSL, and set to log. They let some of us (the smart ones) use pidgin if we want multi-protocol clients. It works well and is tied into our Active Directory for accounts via LDAP.

We use soapbox (3, Insightful)

alta (1263) | about 5 years ago | (#27484595)

It's jabber based. Free as in beer for both the client and server.

Lets us save logs of all chat sessions between employees, lets employees also save chat if they want to. Lets us do some filtering, overall a pretty good client/server.

http://www.coversant.net/ [coversant.net]

Oh, and I HAVE gotten Digsby to connect to the server, as well as trillian.

Jabber client and server? (1)

DavidChristopher (633902) | about 5 years ago | (#27484603)

Have you evaluated Jabber? We used to use it in our office before they switched for some reason to a microsoft product that's not free (well, we have a corporate thing going on). The jabber client was customizable, and the server was very stable and robust. Also because the server is GPL it meets your FOSS requirement. http://jabberd.org/ [jabberd.org]

XMPP/Jabber (1)

alanwj (242317) | about 5 years ago | (#27484607)

It sounds like XMPP (also called jabber) is what you need. XMPP is an open standard for instant messaging, and there are free/open source implementations for both clients and servers. One option for servers is jabberd. One option for a client is Pidgin (which runs in Windows and Linux).

IRC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484609)

I believe IRC would suite you well. UnrealIRCd [unrealird.org] is pretty easy to use.

openfire / spark (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484625)

Spark + openfire.

I implemented these with Active directory authentication.

Highly recommended, sure a couple quirks here n there with the advanced functions of the client, but for the basic features of needing to chat, and log... its the best i know of.

You're doing it wrong (5, Insightful)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | about 5 years ago | (#27484629)

It is preferred that the client not support outside protocols such as AIM, MSN, Yahoo, etc.; if it does, I will have to promulgate and enforce yet one more policy that my techs not connect to them.

It sounds like your network, which contains confidential medical records, is connected to the internet.
So I have just one question: Dear God, why?

FOSS? One Word: Bullshit. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484653)

No healthcare company of any size is looking for software for internal use that is FOSS.

This story is either:

1. Another fanboy attempt at generating fake 'momentum' in hopes it helps create legitimacy and a snowball effect. Mac fanboys do the same thing in creating fake 'My company switched to all Macs, need advice' threads with similar hopes.

2. An actual Bearded GNU Freak managed to get hired at a real healthcare company. He won't be there long when they catch on to his wacky ideology and what he is trying to do their their internal IT policy.

Either way stop wasting everyone's time with this crap.

Re:FOSS? One Word: Bullshit. (2, Insightful)

Auroch (1403671) | about 5 years ago | (#27484715)

*or* ...
Number 3 ...

The health care company isn't american and understands that being OPEN isn't a bad thing. Americans have a problem with that concept.

Re:FOSS? One Word: Bullshit. (2, Insightful)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 5 years ago | (#27484859)

FOSS? Where did he say FOSS? He never said FOSS. He said 'free'. Most likely free as in beer. What company _isn't_ looking for free software? My guess would be they just don't consider this essential and don't want to waste a shitload of money on it.

Re:FOSS? One Word: Bullshit. (1)

Sancho (17056) | about 5 years ago | (#27485047)

We're looking for an internal, secure, FOSS (if possible) instant messaging / presence awareness client and server combo.

(emphasis mine)

Re:FOSS? One Word: Bullshit. (4, Informative)

drawfour (791912) | about 5 years ago | (#27485051)

FOSS? Where did he say FOSS? He never said FOSS.

Nice job reading. I quote from the Ask Slashdot itself:

We're looking for an internal, secure, FOSS (if possible) instant messaging / presence awareness client and server combo

He didn't say it HAD to be FOSS, but if possible, he would like it.

pidgin, foss, encryption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484659)

This sounds like a custom version of Pidgin. It runs well in Windows, but I'm not aware that the other clients can easily be disabled.

I'm confused what you mean by policy, as blocking outgoing ports for that protocol should be able to stop them.

If you have a developer familiar with GTK/mingw you can build a custom version of Pidgin without support for the undesired protocols. You may be obligated to re-release modified code, so study the developer's license carefully.

Pidgin can work with your existing Novell, MSN, Sametime or Jabber server very well, but the plugins and customizations that Pidgin offers may need to be disabled for your needs as well.

I am not aware of what Pidgin options exist (or which protocols support) for encryption, but there seems to be a site dedicated to it:
http://pidgin-encrypt.sourceforge.net/

I use the Sametime version at a workplace that is very lenient with it's technicians and it works flawlessly with our IBM Domino servers. If you have the infrastructure to support an already existing client that may be a good avenue to investigate, as the Novell, Microsoft and IBM solutions may have the server side cut out for you.

-Tres

Openfire (1)

gbobeck (926553) | about 5 years ago | (#27484661)

I would recommend Openfire. It is a Jabber / XMMP implementation from Jive Software, and is open source (GPL).

See http://www.igniterealtime.org/ [igniterealtime.org]

I can say from experience that it is fairly easy to administer, is multi-platform, and scales nicely. It has a rather nice size of plugins and should meet compliance standards.

Openfire (2, Interesting)

cleveland61 (321761) | about 5 years ago | (#27484693)

openfire is a jabber based FOSS server.
we use it with AD integration. I haven't implemented it yet, but they have plugins supporting full message transcript.

Spark is the client from the same company and it is jabber only.

If I remember correctly, openfire alos supports being a proxy for all other (most?) IM protocol's so even if someone gets a copy of AIM or whathave you on you network, there server can still log the transcript.

Easy to set up, free and robust.

wtf (1, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | about 5 years ago | (#27484697)

I literally pasted the article title (sans "Ask slashdot: ") into google, and the first 4 results are free client/server packages of which some have already suggested. There also appears to be someone else asking this same question to some other forum, with attached answer...

I realized ask slashdot has been for years now less about questions for geeks than kids wanting someone else to do their homework, but when did ask slashdot replace google search?

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485093)

what needs to happen here.... we need to stop replying to these with any helpful info.. with a simple reply of google it. If they googled it then they wouldnt be using us all as there personal sales reps!!

Jabber + Miranda IM (3, Interesting)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | about 5 years ago | (#27484745)

I wrote about this some time ago, right here [aboveaverageurl.com].

The short and simple answer, that should fully meet your needs, is to install jabberd2, configure it as needed (should have a logging module/plugin somewhere), and then to use Miranda IM [miranda-im.org] with only the XMPP components as the client. Miranda is very easy to customize; if you don't want a protocol you simply don't include the relevant DLL.

Note: the links on that page are dead, namely the ones to the MSI installer package that I built. If you have a need for it, feel free to drop me an e-mail (the /. address should be fine).

Sametime (1)

Gates82 (706573) | about 5 years ago | (#27484751)

I've used IBM/Lotus Sametime [ibm.com] and thought it worked quite nice, and is very professional. Not sure what the fees are like, but it does support a myriad of platforms.

--
So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's Sister?

We use Exodus and Zimbra (3, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | about 5 years ago | (#27484775)

Exodus is fairly simple to setup and administer. Zimbra provides much more than just Instant Messaging; we use it mainly for Zimlets and Collaboration; but the IM feature of Zimbra with auto-logging is very useful and sophisticated as well.

intranet web application (1)

Max_W (812974) | about 5 years ago | (#27484777)

Do it as a web (intranet) server application in PHP&MySQL. Install WAMP and write it. It will be much easier to maintain. It will be available by the address, say, 192.168.15.10 . So what?

Can you imagine installing a client on a 100 work stations? Upgrading? Been there. Thank you very much.

Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484781)

It is sensitive, SO you _do_ want to log?
Well thats... bright.

Reason?

OPENFIRE - FOSS Jabber (XMPP) server (2, Insightful)

waa (159514) | about 5 years ago | (#27484811)

It has an intuitive/simple web interface for administration, and meets your logging needs and more. It can also support many gateways such as AIM, MSN, GADU-GADU, Yahoo! etc - But you don't have to enable them if you don't want them. I use this with the PSI IM client http://psi-im.org/ [psi-im.org] - A cross-platform Jabber IM client for MAC OSX, Linux and Windows. Check it out at: http://www.igniterealtime.org/projects/openfire/index.jsp [igniterealtime.org]

Spark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484821)

Spark is an Open Source, cross-platform IM client optimized for businesses and organizations. It features built-in support for group chat, telephony integration, and strong security. It also offers a great end-user experience with features like in-line spell checking, group chat room bookmarks, and tabbed conversations.

http://www.igniterealtime.org/projects/spark/index.jsp

SPONGe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484825)

exemplified by is the worst off and as BSD sinks long term survival to happen. My All major surveys Unite3 States of result of a quarrel BSD fanatics? I've they're gone Came

openfire and spark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27484833)

openfire and spark work like a champ....jabber protocol, with some solid server side security preferences

IRC over ssh (1)

profaneone (316036) | about 5 years ago | (#27484837)

+ssh for secure communictions
+Sessions logged on the server.
+Each person can talk to other people in private - just like "IM"
+IRC client lists who is logged in - presence awareness #1
+IRC clients configured to auto idle after X minutes - presence awareness #2
+Scalable past 100 users
+Permanent channels can be created for each team.
+DCC for file transfer.
+Depending on the IRC client, ascii emoticons can probably be converted to gif animations.

Maybe ?? http://www.unrealircd.com/ [unrealircd.com]

Or is IRC not the protocol you are looking for?

HIPPA (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#27484845)

Obviously, this, or something like it, is one of your main concerns (though you might not be American). I have thought some time ago that ktalkd was interesting because it was NOT designed to be large enterprise wide. It was a simple easy to used talk protocol, with a secured option. The client was ktalk, but it was for 1.0 and 2.0. It seems to me that something like this is really what you want, with an enforced port (code it in), combined with a firewall on that port. that approach would take care of the mistakes. Obviously, crackers could get by, but then again.....

Jabber (a.k.a. XMPP) (1)

Eythian (552130) | about 5 years ago | (#27484913)

Did you even look first? Jabber has been around for years now, and sounds like it'd be ideal. Technologically it is similar to email in principle. It's an open standard, so there are many clients and servers to choose from (I'm a fan of ejabberd myself.)

Any policies you like, such as connecting to other servers or protocols, logging, encryption, whatever can all be enforced from your server.

Psi (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | about 5 years ago | (#27484933)

Open source.
Cross platform.
Cool name.
Teamed with Openfire, golden
BTW -and don't take this wrong- if you really are at a HMO/HCP, you should have policies in place that prevent IM to the Internet already in place. There's this thing called HIPAA [hhs.gov], don't you know?

Openfire/Jabber (1)

racazip (829595) | about 5 years ago | (#27484941)

I set up Openfire sync'd with LDAP, using Pidgin as the client, for my company. Very easy to set up and supports everything you asked for. :)

What is the world coming to? (1)

tracer-nz (1353979) | about 5 years ago | (#27484957)

Is it really too hard to go and see people in person?

Re:What is the world coming to? (1)

Forbman (794277) | about 5 years ago | (#27485139)

Maybe. But, it can be a major pain in the ass to be interrupted in person for some. And most voice mail systems completely blow chunks, so that leaves out telephonic conversations. E-mail, it can be easy to lose messages due to inbox noise. IM? Well, I was a bit skeptical, but it works for some things far better than e-mail.

I'm an old-school Luddite in some ways (oh, the days of burning out actually on Bitnet relay/chat, talk and write)...

AltME - not OSS, but free, secure, and easy (1)

deadzaphod (699097) | about 5 years ago | (#27484993)

This is a perfect use case for AltME [altme.com], which is set up specifically for running your own private, secure server, that logs all messages. It is very easy to install, set up and to maintain (I've been running servers with no problems for a few years now).

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485017)

Tonic ? Free not FOSS no server needed client side logging from the product page : http://www.r2.com.au/software.php?page=2&show=tonic [r2.com.au] You want the power and convenience of instant messaging, but don't need or want the clients to talk to the outside world. Be it a bunch of friends having a LAN party, or a large corporation - instant messaging makes working together easy. Unfortunately, existing instant messengers allow users to communicate with the entire planet, not just your local network. Also check out the latest betas very stable . http://www.r2.com.au/publicbeta.php?page=12 [r2.com.au]

Citadel groupware server has all of the above (4, Informative)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 5 years ago | (#27485039)

You definitely want to try out the Citadel groupware server [citadel.org]. Even if you don't need it for its mail system, address book, calendar, etc... it's got a built in XMPP (Jabber) service that integrates nicely across the entire environment. It also logs all of the instant messages sent through it. Each user can review their own logs too, which is nice. And you have the ability to journal everything that comes through the system, perhaps to an external archiving service (this feature was built with industries like yours in mind, where anything that gets read by anyone *must* be archived).

And it's free software ... GPL 3, to be exact.

Get nailed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485043)

I for one welcome our soon to be sued Overlords

Personally, I anxiously await for the first company to get heavily sued so that some sort of understandable standard is documented.

So many of us are over engineering our systems for the "Fear of HIPPA". Once we cross that evil bridge we can see what is "sueable" and what isnt.

My favor line from an early HIPPA session was "we should protect patient data like a bank protects bank data". What on god's green earth that that actually, describably mean?

By Neruos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27485045)

Since when did /. become the "please help me with my job and solve this for me cause I can not do the research for myself, so I'll post on a NEWS site for help instead of a forum related medium." place.

Not free, but cheap & good... (1)

shewfig (1051592) | about 5 years ago | (#27485067)

There are a couple of commercial products which will handle the job. I'm most familiar with the Barracuda IM Firewall. For about $2k, you'll get everything you've listed - full logging of conversations and file xfers, plenty of capacity, integrated client, plus a few other nice features like keyword administrator notification & message blocking, LDAP integration, and reporting.

The biggest feature you might appreciate is its ability to BLOCK the public IM protocols. The larger models also connect to the public IM networks, so you can log & apply policy to those conversations on a per-user basis. Some people _insist_ on bypassing IT policies, so allowing those folks to connect in a way you control might make both you and them happier.

The factors I think need to be weighed are 1) the cost of your time 2) the cost of a HIPPA violation, and 3) your ability to set up something bulletproof (no offense intended - I wouldn't trust myself to do it right the first time!)

Disclaimer: I used to work for Barracuda a couple of years ago. Some of their technology is crap, but the IM firewall is IMHO one of the best things they've ever released.

Bonjour may be what you need. (0, Offtopic)

SignOfZeta (907092) | about 5 years ago | (#27485157)

Bonjour (aka, Zeroconf) is a zero-configuration link-local protocol that you may find suitable. The protocol is built into Mac OS X and Linux (as Avahi); Windows XP just requires Apple's port of Bonjour to be installed. Once that's set up, you can tell Pidgin, iChat, Adium, Kopete, etc. to announce your presence. Just type in your name, and your Buddy List will instantly populate with all of the Bonjour chatters on your LAN.

It's not as manageable as Jabber or SILC, but from a technical perspective, you can get the entire office chatting in minutes. In my opinion, it's definitely worth a look.

Pluses:

  1. Practically zero configuration -- punch in your name and go.
  2. Totally decentralized -- no server needed. Much less to buy and maintain compared to Jabber.
  3. Buddy Lists are automatically populated -- no need to add anyone.
  4. Bonjour is not available outside of the LAN.
  5. Compatible with IPv4 and IPv6.

Pitfalls:

  1. Pidgin, iChat, etc. all support other externally-available services. (Can the client's preferences be locked? Or use a firewall/proxy to block all outgoing IM services.)
  2. Anyone with Avahi/Bonjour, Pidgin/iChat/Adium/etc., and a LAN connection can just open up their laptop and join in the chatting fracas. (Secure your network -- WPA2 is fine, but since HIPAA's involved, try 802.1x, EAP, RADIUS, etc.)
  3. You can only chat with users on your subnet. (Do a site survey before deploying.)
  4. Chats are not encrypted in transit. (You may wish to encrypt with OTR or PGP.)
  5. Other applications can use Bonjour to advertise services -- some VNC clients, for example, will advertise that the computer is running VNC. (Security through obscurity shouldn't be your only line of defense.)
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