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AIM Now (Mostly) Open To Developers

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago

187

gregsblog writes "Today is a historic day at AOL as we announced a software development kit for AOL Instant Messenger. Open AIM will empower you, as the developer, to write custom clients and plugins. For now, lets concentrate on the Open AIM SDK and get into what it can do for you. First, the development kit is written using COM, so plugins and custom clients can be written for Windows in languages like C++, VB, C#, and eventually J-Script. In the near future we will have solutions for LINUX, MAC and Windows Mobile devices. Why is this important? We now have a solution to provide all AIM users and consumers to build their own IM clients and to extend the features of Triton via plugins. Of course all of this is free of charge. How do I get started? Well my team has provided a quick start guide, and tutorials, in addition to numerous coding examples, from the simple to the complex. Our examples are in C++ and C#. What are the limitations? Basically anything goes, with the exception of writing multi-headed clients."

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That's great but what about step 3? (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857092)

Without advertising, how do they reach step 3?

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (4, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857113)

Maybe there's no step 3 in regards to instant messaging. With Jabber [jabber.org] being open and being used more and more (Google Talk [google.com] is a Jabber account), with tools such as Gaim [sourceforge.net] (heck, even with iChat you can connect to all IM protocols [allforces.com] ), I fail to see how any corp could be making money out of instant messaging protocols...

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (1, Funny)

FST (766202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857120)

I fail to see how any corp could be making money out of instant messaging protocols...

Me too!!!!!!!!

Sorry.

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (2, Informative)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857288)

Right on! And with PostgreSQL as a Jabber backend [blogs.com] , it scales quite well.

It's certainly working out fine for indi [getindi.com] so far... routing multiplayer hearts games over Jabber, good times!

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (1)

Jaruzel (804522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857464)

The only IM market still not-completely tapped, is the Medium-to-Large Enterprise Market. Only now are the main IM vendors starting to roll business style secure IM, and in most cases it's just a tardy bolt on to their main personal IM clients. Notable exceptions to this are IBMs Sametime, and MSs Live Communications Server - but even those have a long way to go before they are as feature rich as their personal counterparts (Sametime is based on AIM).

Neither Live Comm Server or Sametime are free - so with correct marketing the IM vendors can still make money in the Enterprise arena.

Anyone else know of any real contenders for the business secure IM market?

-Jar.

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857641)

Hubconnex has been in use by the financial industry for a while now ( read 2+ years ).

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857775)

Can't they spell "emerge ircd" then?

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (1)

commanderfoxtrot (115784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858073)

We're using Skype for client business engagements at the moment; it works very well.

Simp is also used (Secure MSN).

Re:That's great but what about step 3? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857214)

Phase 3.

Spyware, malware, adware. Once AIM is open to anyone's plug-ins, they will be steathly inserted from webpages and e-mails. You will get all kinds of plug-ins, many of which you won't know about. Those are the ones who make it to step 3.

-Lemur

Well, that'll change everything... (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857097)

... I mean, we've only been using Gaim for about five years now...

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (3, Insightful)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857132)

Well, actually gAIM has a few problems. I've noticed direct connect and file transfer seldom work on it. Maybe this will help fix that.

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857150)

I've noticed direct connect and file transfer seldom work on it. Maybe this will help fix that.

Having had time to RTFA, I'd say it's unlikely the Gaim developers will touch this release. The licensing terms are incompatible; among other things, it forbids the creation of clients that are interoperable with other networks.

One might try arguing that a Gaim plugin using the AOL code does not in itself violate that - it's the end user who breaks the rule when they load in plugins for other networks - but I somehow think that won't fly in court.

I notice you also need separate licensing to create a client that runs on a mobile. Hmm. Something to do with mobile operators not wanting to lose all that SMS revenue from people using AIM instead, perhaps? ;-)

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (3, Informative)

inerte (452992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857316)

Definitively. I've seem some phones that can connect to MSN to send and receive messages, but you have to pay for each.

SMS + IM integration is a gold mine for telcos, and a rogue developer plus a small subscription based website/service can probably pull lower prices. Don't want that happening :)

Yes... (3, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857364)

SMS + IM integration is a gold mine for telcos, and a rogue developer plus a small subscription based website/service can probably pull lower prices. Don't want that happening :)

Yes, it would be just terrible if something like that [getjar.com] were to happen...

There is a reason for this (1)

emj (15659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857912)

Well this would hinder Microsoft from including AIM support in its IM client, and I guess that is quite important to aim?

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (1)

ElGuapoGolf (600734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858246)

AIM on mobile is a huge money maker for the carriers... each SMS (at least in the US) is something costs something like .10, so you figure the average conversation is pulling them in a few bucks at a time.

Shameless plug: I wrote a free J2ME Aim client. Link is on my homepage if anyone is interested.

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857190)

Supposedly those problems were already fixed in Gaim 2.0. Try the betas if you're concerned with those features.

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (1)

chills42 (750137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857572)

I've been using the gaim 2.0 betas, and I've noticed some significant changes with the aim file transfers, they actually work... unlike in older versions.

uPNP fixes a lot of connection issues (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857791)

Try enabling uPNP on your nat device and using one of the 2.0 betas with uPNP support. It seems to have fixed a lot of issues for me.

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (1)

magefile (776388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857797)

I have never, ever had a problem with file transfer after opening port 5190 (or whichever it is), and I'm using Adium - which is a frontend to libgaim. The biggest hassle I've ever had with it was setting up Zephyr, and that's pretty understandable, given the way the protocol works.

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858149)

Are you on the same "make up some dumb capitalization" crack as whoever wrote the announcement? "LINUX" and "gAIM?" Try "Linux" and "Gaim."

Re:Well, that'll change everything... (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858184)

Then you need to try Gaim2beta.

GAIM (2, Informative)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857100)

GAIM [sourceforge.net] allows you to write plugins in a variet of languages including python and C++ (and anything else that can link to dynamic libraries). Of course, I don't really see a massive need for IM plugins. All this announcement means is that we will see a million COM host AIM clients with crappy UIs.

Re:GAIM (0, Troll)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857140)

And thats not even counting the million that keep AOLs default UI...

I'll go on the record saying... (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857727)

There's only one plugin I use regularly, and I think it's quite useful: Off-The-Record Messaging. [cypherpunks.ca] Great when you don't want a pesky, bored sysadmin reading about your private life.

MAC? (4, Funny)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857103)

I can interface with it on the hardware level? Cool...

Re:MAC? (2, Informative)

Frank Palermo (846883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857392)

Apart from all the MAC/Mac jokes, I'm wondering what significance (if any) this has for the future of the AIM client on Mac OS X. The last time the official AIM client for Mac was updated was (according to its download [aim.com] page) on February 18, 2004, i.e. over two years ago. Considering that most people who want to develop an AIM client for the Mac have already done so by using the GAIM core libraries (Adium X being one chief example), what exactly is making an SDK with a small pile of licensing restrictions (you are "not permitted to build Custom Clients that are multi-headed or interoperable with any other IM network" ? Wonder why that is...[/sarcasm]) going to solve?

I appreciate the gesture, but I think a lot more people would benefit if they'd spend their time fixing up the official AIM client for people who don't particularly like iChat or any of the current F/OSS alternatives rather than releasing an SDK that probably won't spur many/any more F/OSS clients because developers will find its license a bit too restrictive.

-Frank

Re:MAC? (2, Informative)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857508)

I don't know anyone that uses the AOL client on OS X. Most use iChat, and some use AdiumX. I stick to iChat since I don't use any advanced features and it integrates into the address book and email apps nicely.

The "official" mac client: (3, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857751)

I think that iChat is the "official" AIM client on Mac OS X. Back when it first came out, there was much hoopla about Apple having reached some sort of agreement with AOL, which I assume probably involved a gym bag stuffed with cash or a horse's head in somebody's waterbed, that allowed them to make a non-AOL but still completely interoperable client.

You'll notice that unlike Gaim, and like the official AIM client, iChat does all the file transfer and direct connect stuff without problems (almost all the time, so basically in the same situations that the AIM program would).

I think this is why AOL's Mac OS X efforts have been effectively suspended -- Apple is doing it for them.

And frankly, given what a pile of turds the AOL client always was, I'm quite happy that they leave it this way.

Think they'll offer AIM certifications? (3, Funny)

Pocket PC Addict (747016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857112)

Maybe they'll offer AIM certifications. Like you could be an CACC... Certified AIM coder and configurer. They'll offer classes for $1200 a pop and provide stats on what the average CACCs make each and every year.

Re:Think they'll offer AIM certifications? (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857262)

I think a more appropriate cerification would be the AIM Registered Systems Engineer.

MAC (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857116)

In the near future we will have solutions for LINUX, MAC and Windows Mobile devices.

Wow. That is really cool that they are planning to embed AIM capabilities directly into the Media Access Control sublayer. That should make AIM even more ubiquitous. It's a shame they have no plans to get this AIM SDK up and running on Mac OS X, though.

BTW, what does "LINUX" stand for? I've never heard of it.

Re:MAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857146)

how about something like...
Liveless Introverted Nerds Under Linux?

Re:MAC (1)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857175)

That's LINUL, you fuckwit.

Re:MAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857252)

Less Ignorant Newbies Use linuX

Re:MAC (4, Funny)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857283)

Linux Is Not UniX

Re:MAC (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857594)

LINUX - Linus with an X.

Re:MAC (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857777)

That would be LWAX. Try again.

Re:MAC (1)

Scratched (912253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857610)

smartass

I don't know what it stands for (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857614)

but it's still for fags.

Re:MAC (1)

Hosiah (849792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857830)

what does "LINUX" stand for?

Liberty, my friends; always, always liberty!

Re:MAC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14858015)

MAC is short for MAC Ain't no Computer

A slight step forward (3, Insightful)

ihuntrocks (870257) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857131)

The overall effectiveness of this will of course be determined by the users who are writing their own clients/plugins. Your mileage may vary. However, I do see this as a positive step forward, if only in an academic sense. With a major company making such an effort to have their software available for community modification, with tutorials and examples, I'd have to say that this is a nice step away from the monoculture software development. Even if you can't get anything truly useful out of it, it is interesting to take a look at what is offered and see what you might be able to learn from it. Never hurts to experiment.

Re:A slight step forward (2, Interesting)

sreekotay (955693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857390)

Just for context, this may feel small from the outside (and perhaps it is), but it is directionally indicative of a big cultural shift from AOL. The one thing to keep in mind is that this is NOT about IM network interop - its about opening the AIM network up for "customization". I expect I'm not the only AOL employee that discusses this further on his/her blog: graphicallyspeaking so (some) more info there...

Funny definition of open... (5, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857138)

"Developers are not permitted to build Custom Clients that are multi-headed or interoperable with any other IM network."

The definition of "almost, but not quite totally useless" seems more appropriate.

  -Charles

Re:Funny definition of open... (1)

Alt_Cognito (462081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857195)

This will be a boon to those doing internal company projects who would like to connect to IM to send messages which need to be received in real time for monitoring things like servers or some other process where a traditional monitoring tool might not work.

Sure, the application might never make it to your desktop, but most apps don't.

Personally, I probably wouldn't use it either as I use OSCAR, but if for some reason OSCAR starts to fail, there is this.

Re:Funny definition of open... (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857221)

This will be a boon to those doing internal company projects who would like to connect to IM to send messages which need to be received in real time for monitoring things like servers or some other process where a traditional monitoring tool might not work.

Why would a company choose AIM over the IETF-ratified XMPP standard, Jabber? There are open-source Jabber servers and clients that do that job just as well, and you don't have to rely on another business to make them work. Do businesses even have the option of installing an AIM server locally?

Re:Funny definition of open... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857372)

Because of the installed userbase... AIM is established and already has millions of users... Jabber is growing tho, especially with gtalk opening up.

Re:Funny definition of open... (3, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857402)

I'm specifically referring to this:

This will be a boon to those doing internal company projects who would like to connect to IM to send messages which need to be received in real time for monitoring things like servers or some other process where a traditional monitoring tool might not work.

The installed userbase is meaningless for things like this. Who cares if AIM has millions of users? You aren't telling Joe Random every time your server goes down, you're telling your server admins.

Re:Funny definition of open... (1)

prell (584580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857774)

Why would people use Windows Messenger for office IM? At least partly because it's built into Windows and is branded by Microsoft -- so it comes with support and guarantees from the people they already give so much money to. And now AOL is trying to compete in this arena. At least that's the way I see it; call it pessimistic, but I don't know that this is an olive branch being extended to the OSS or freelance developer.

Re:Funny definition of open... (1)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857203)

"Developers are not permitted to build Custom Clients that are multi-headed or interoperable with any other IM network."

How are they going to stop people from building multi-headed clients? It would be nice if they would work toward standardizing or creating a common protocol for IM instead always trying to fragment it.

Re:Funny definition of open... (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857266)

All the applications are signed and the key crosslinked into your app can be enabled and disabled by AOL.
If they feel your not doing it right you wont get a valid key.

Its just a way for outside developers to create custom apps for them without having to put the actual dev work in.

All the benefits of open source except for the openness*.

(*sure, you can open source your application, but the end user cannot compile his own version without requiring his own key)

Re:Funny definition of open... (2, Informative)

SWroclawski (95770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857369)

(*sure, you can open source your application, but the end user cannot compile his own version without requiring his own key)

And this is why the GPL3 draft requires that if you have an application that is GPLed, and if it requires a key to run, that you distribute the key to the application author in order to allow him/her to compile the application in a way that's usable to the end user.

Re:Funny definition of open... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857388)

But having the key won't help you - especially if you make modifications.
From what I can ascertain from the docs, you need to register each modified version for signing so that it can be allowed on the network.

Developers should stay away from this crap.

Re:Funny definition of open... (2, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857517)

Using that logic, you cannot distribute under the GPL3 an app created for a third party service that requires a identification code or key, without the distributor creating said codes for every downloader. And that may be against the terms of service. Think 'Google API' for a good example.

Re:Funny definition of open... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857720)

> Developers are not permitted to build Custom Clients that are multi-headed or interoperable with any other IM network."
>
> The definition of "almost, but not quite totally useless" seems more appropriate.

Just write multiple, CORBA enabled clients.

Re:Funny definition of open... (1)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857940)

Basically anything goes, with the exception of writing multi-headed clients.

Which I read as "Writing spam-bomb plugins that piss off our entire user base is perfectly fine, but to hell with interoperability."

Acronyms (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857139)

What do LINUX and MAC stand for? I've always been confused by that one.

Re: Acronyms (0, Redundant)

KURAAKU Deibiddo (740939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857256)

Mac (in the sense that it is used in this article) isn't actually an acronym, it's just short for Macintosh [wikipedia.org] (a type of Apple computer). MAC (the acronym) usually refers to Media Access Control [wikipedia.org] , which is a networking layer.

Linux [wikipedia.org] is not an acronym, either, just a derivation of "Linus' Minix" (Linus Torvalds being the creator of the Linux kernel).

Re: Acronyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857383)

Thanks for clarifying that - this being Slashdot I had never heard of any of the terms used there...

Re: Acronyms (0, Flamebait)

JTorres176 (842422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857485)

Nice job being a smartass to someone who's trying to provide accurate and useful information to a person who is curious and obvsiously doesn't know any better.

How do you find the time to make these posts between your busy schedule of kicking kittens and shoving nuns into traffic?

asswipe.

Re: Acronyms (1)

yoyhed (651244) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857670)

I think the original poster knew very well what Mac and Linux are, and was making a crack about the capitalization in TFA..

How does this change anything? (1)

Zitchas (713512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857142)

I've been using Fire for years now, and from what I can recall, I can't think of a single person who actually uses AIM. We've been going over their network, yes, but I don't know of anyone actually using the software AIM to do so...

And as far as that goes, same thing for MSN.

About all this means, from my POV, is that we don't have to worry about them sporadically changing how their server works to disrupt every other client out there.

Re:How does this change anything? (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857189)

On my college campus I see a lot of AIM installations. I have also seen quite a few Trillian, iChat, and gAIM (and have converted a couple people to gAIM after they complained about movies ads automatically playing in AIM) but AIM is still by far the client used most often.

Re:How does this change anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857351)

That's an American phenomenon. In Europe, MSN rules supreme.

Re:How does this change anything? (2, Informative)

szembek (948327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857368)

I've seen the opposite. I have never seen anybody talking on the AIM network with any software other than AIM. Sure I realize people use other clients, but your average everyday user just goes to aim.com and downloads it. I've used gaim before, but now I don't really bother with chat at all. I just wanted to point out that tons of people do use the AIM client.

Re:How does this change anything? (1)

Zitchas (713512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857399)

I suppose now alternate clients may become more common, since they seem to be encouraging it. Might even make it more popular, I suppose. If they're encouraging it, and providing the knowledge to do it, independents no longer have to worry about their client being blocked out.

I do have to wonder why they are doing it. Maybe they are hoping to get out of the client side entirely. Probably simpler for them if they simply have to maintain the server and make the code to connect to it available, and let a couple hundred freeware types deal with the clients. Cheaper, too. Less people to pay.

Re:How does this change anything? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857607)

I just wanted to point out that tons of people do use the AIM client.

Being a past user of GAIM while I was using Linux as my main OS, I have to admit that GAIM sucks compared to the AIM client. I had constant problems connecting directly and doing file transfers with other AIM users. I also couldn't stand the way it looked on Windows (I haven't used the Linux version since college) and found that the AOL client (filtered through an adblock squid proxy) was much better.

At work I use bitlbee in my SSH session because it keeps all my stuff (via screen) in one window that doesn't show much on the taskbar.

Other than me, I don't know a single Windows user that uses anything other than the official AIM client from AOL. Those weirdo Mac users have a bunch of different clients though ;)

Re:How does this change anything? (1)

CoderBob (858156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857654)

I use Trillian still. Keeps my system tray less cluttered. Granted it does have some interoperability problems (file transfers, direct connections just randomly work/don't work), but for messaging purposes it works fine for me. I even have my personal AIM account and my internal business name on there logged in simultaneously (haven't used the "real" client in so long, I don't know if it supports that or not).

Re:How does this change anything? (1)

Skim123 (3322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14858249)

I use Trillian, too, and used to have problems with the file transfer stuff. There is some good information on the official Trillian site (trillian.cc, IIRC) that talks about how to fix these problems.

If I remember, it's that w/Trillian you have to explicitly open a certain set of ports on your firewall to receive file transfers, whereas MSN/AIM use uPNP (I think that's what it's called, I'm not a networking guy) to automagically instruct the firewall to let traffic through those ports... (or something like that, I really am not too experienced in that areana)

How long (1)

swordstaind (927909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857144)

until you start charging me a cent a line to text multiple people?

Open source is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857165)

Everyone's saying that stuff like GAIM and whatnot is already out, that's true..
but with AOL releasing the AIM protocol specifications, the existing unofficial clients and support official features properly and will be able to interface with all other clients the way they're supposed to be.
And this'll make it easier to make AIM bots without having to pay the people who make bots like SmarterChild hundreds of dollars for their service.

Re:Open source is good (2, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857200)

No, they're not releasing protocol specs from the looks of it. They're releasing a closed source library that people can write their apps around.

BTW, multi-protocol clients a la Gaim and Trillian are verboten with this new library.

Re:Open source is good (4, Funny)

ceeam (39911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857261)

Verboten? Then I will nicht use it on meinen boxen.

Winamp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857174)

Why hasn't Winamp been open source'd?

I can see a lot of uses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857179)

I can see a lot of useful functions for this. I run an enrichment program for kids. I already collect IM data for each student. I could see using this to create a bot to make anouncements to my students. Water pipe broke, tonights class is canceled. Pop it into the bot. Wait a few hours. Check to see who did and did not get the message, then call the remaining few.

Want your grade on the last exam? IM the bot, it matches to your username in the database, perhaps gets a password and gives you the data.

I can see a lot of uses for this.

Re:I can see a lot of uses... (2, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857492)

There are already such libraries, libgaim for instance, which support AIM and many other protocols, and which are open source and cross platform.

Having the sourcecode to libraries is incredibly usefull, if you already developing an app then you presumeably have a reasonable knowlege of atleast one programming language, so you can read the source to the library and get a better understanding of why it performs in a particular way...

I've quite often beat my head against a wall, trying to debug why something didn't behave exactly as the documentation said it should.

libgaim (5, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857197)

From the Gaim Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] :

Recently, the Gaim developers have started to separate the core code--which handles things such as network connections and messaging--from the GUI code, which controls how these actions are presented to the user. After the code split is complete, it will be possible to write client programs using a developer's GUI library of choice. The core library produced by the split will be called libgaim; an in-development but stable version of this library is already in use in the Adium, Fire, and Proteus clients as well as the Meebo web-based application.

So, in other words, AOL are going to have something much more limited than libgaim (AIM protocol only) available in the "near future"? Uhhh... congratulations AOL! Now bugger off, you jerk-burgers!

Re:libgaim (4, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857406)

congratulations AOL! Now bugger off, you jerk-burgers!

You know, they still run the aim servers... for free.

And they stopped deliberately breaking other clients for the most part.

Re:libgaim (2, Interesting)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857925)

So, in other words, AOL are going to have something much more limited than libgaim (AIM protocol only) available in the "near future"?

And legal.

IIRC anyone who's ever agreed to AIM's click-through license has promised that they won't try to crack the protocol. And it's hard to crack the protocol without running AIM. The only previous open library for AIM was TOC, which is very limited.

And if you're going to break the AIM client license and reverse-engineer it, then why not as well break the Open AIM license and get something equally legal but with better compatibility? Or use Open AIM for the purposes they allow you to (if you can manage it) and not break any licenses?

Why not officially open the API instead? (3, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857290)

We don't need no stinkin' SDKs.. why not officially document and open up the API instead? That way we can call it and do what we want on any platform without having to worry about SDKs.

The IETF did release XMPP/Jabber... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857302)

Wow...this is completely assinine. They could have spent the past year by actually making AIM open. The IETF did release XMPP/Jabber as an RFC nearly a year ago. AOL should have dropped this library and added support for server to server XMPP connections. They could also have made client to server connections use XMPP. Not only would that allow them to connect to Google and everyone else, they would have no need to release a library that only the script kiddy next door will use in his new VB botnet controller.

"I was given a bottle of wine. I could see the wine, and they said it was open. I knew better because I was never given a bottle opener to taste the oh so sweet wine."

First Step (2, Funny)

dJOEK (66178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857327)

Is this the first step to a true IM system that is complementary system to email?

If more IM vendors start opening up (Jabber, my personal favorite, has always been open, ofcourse ;-) ) more developers will integrate IM into their applications. In a few years we should have one dominant protocol, and from then on IM will finally become as transparant as email is now.

then again i'll be driving with 4 scandily clad girls in my newest lexus besides copacabana beach.

Still, it's a good fantasy

Re:First Step (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857668)

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Outlook have a built in MSN client?

Re:First Step (1)

dJOEK (66178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857745)

yes, and gmail has a builtin jabber client, and Mail.app in Tiger has integration with iChat
and that's about it. still very small scale and very proprietary.

but you register at a site, and you get an email confirmation.
i bet you have a lot of other applications that send out an email on a certain event.

a lot of those would benefit from IM integration

SPIM is easier filtered than spam, imho, and most IM clients have tight control over buddy lists.

more examples where IM could replace email could easily be found :-)

Excellent openness... but what about... (3, Interesting)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857379)

I, for one, am very glad they're making steps to opening the API to outside developers.

But one critical question comes to mind: In the past, AOL has been very picky and fussy about "non-authorized" tools and processes accessing their "IM network infrastructure." Their TOS does not (or, at least, did not) allow anything other than genuine AOL AIM clients to access their infrastructure.

Does this new development opportunity change the TOS such that non-AOL AIM clients can now access the infrastructure (while remaining within the boundaries of acceptability)? Several companies have banned anything other than genuine AIM clients because of AOL's AIM TOS. Has this changed?

Re:Excellent openness... but what about... (3, Informative)

juberti (128850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857928)

Yes. The rules have changed. That is why this is a big deal.

Any client that properly identifies itself (i.e. does not claim to be an official AIM client and uses an Open AIM key), and conforms to the AIM Developer EULA, will be allowed to use the AIM network, regardless of whether or not they use our SDK.

Now, the SDK provides A LOT of functionality, including full support for file transfer, image sharing, voice, video, security - things that would take a long time to get working right if you are starting from the base protocol - so I recommend that you use the SDK.

More info: http://journals.aol.com/juberti/runningman [aol.com]

Justin

Re:Excellent openness... but what about... (1)

MCron (737313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857950)

AOL's TOS says:
"You may access AIM Products only through the interfaces and protocols provided or authorized by AOL."

AIMCC certainly qualifies as an interface being provided as AOL. So, as long as you stay within their restrictions, third-party clients seem safe.

Well... (1)

DoctaBu (770499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857386)

First step: rid of that kissy face emoticon and replace it with something that's a little less... whoreish. :*

HAHA, April Fools! (1)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857512)

Yeah, I know it's early, but AS IF AOL will just allow developers to make their own AIM clients without some kind of fine print somewhere. 5 years ago or so it was battle of the titans on Trillian vs Gaim vs AIM trying to keep open source aim clients off their network, and now they are open arms? I am wary....

Not OPEN at all! (5, Informative)

capnal (795722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857525)

From AIM's FAQ:

Q: Are there any restrictions on what I can build?
A: We tried to make the Open AIM Program as restriction-free as possible, but in order to help protect our network and users, certain rules apply. We have highlighted some below, but please refer to the Developers License Agreement for details.

        * Developers are not permitted to build Custom Clients that are multi-headed or interoperable with any other IM network.
        * Custom Clients developed for use on a mobile device or via a wireless telecommunications carrier's network and/or wireless services require separate licensing and business agreements with AOL. Any inquiries regarding mobile applications should be sent to AIMCommercial@aol.com.
        * Custom Clients designed for sale to a corporate customer base or to serve a corporate employee base require separate licensing and business agreements with AOL. Any inquiries regarding enterprise use should be sent to AIMCommercial@aol.com.

Re:Not OPEN at all! (1)

capnal (795722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857543)

I'll happily keep to XMPP and programs like Trillian.

AIM bots (2, Insightful)

cejones (574416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857532)

Here come the AIM bots.

Unable to register (1)

amaiman (103647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857540)

Anyone else having trouble registering for a Developer Key on their site? I keep getting the message: "Key was not added since you have reached the maximum number of keys for this type and class.", which appears to be zero, since there's no keys listed under my account...

J-Script? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857555)

Is J-Script and Javascript the same? Or is it Javascript with MS quirks?

Thanks, but no thanks (0, Redundant)

Nephroth (586753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857634)

This is just AOL making a half-assed attempt as not appearing evil, it's about like sticking Stalin in a sundress.

I'm guessing this will be their version of what normal beings call a compromise, sure you can have your own clients, but you have to use our SDK. We'll fill your client full of bloat, and shut it down if you dare to make it useful.

first pORost (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14857686)

Setup for a lawsuit??? (2, Interesting)

RhettLivingston (544140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857845)

With the limitations imposed by the license, there doesn't seem to be much value to this. Thinking out of the box though, perhaps it is a setup for new lawsuits against the other clients cracking into the network. By opening up, even to this limited extent, they may be countering some of the arguments anticipated where other clients are claiming that AOL left them no viable alternative other than reverse engineering the protocols and cracking in.

Open AIM does NOT provide IM interop (0, Redundant)

sreekotay (955693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857933)

From my blog [kotay.com]

"Fundamentally, the newly announced (and extended) Open AIM SDK will enable developers to enhance the AIM network's reach and functionality.

What can you do with it: - Extend AIM Triton at a low level - Embed AIM functionality in your own applications - Create your own version of the AIM client - Embed presence functionality and communications touchpoints in web applications

To be clear: there are some restrictions and limitations on the ways in which you can leverage the AIM services we've made available, as we feel our way through the operational and business implications. But this should open up a broad set of possible applications on top of the AIM network and namespace immediately.

In particular, Open AIM does NOT provide IM network interop with other Instant Messaging networks, at this time."

*Translation* (0)

ninja_assault_kitten (883141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857961)

We're pretty fucking worried about the new MSN Messenger/MS Office/MS Outlook integration that's going to be available in a few months.
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