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Basic Internal Instant Messaging Solution?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-a-bad-idea dept.


sk8dork asks: "I am pretty much _the_ internal IT person at the company I work for and I am recognizing the need for internal Instant Messaging more and more each day. While email is quick and easy to send, it's not always the quickest way to get your message to someone when they're not monitoring their inbox every second of the day. Having come from a position in Dell tech support I've experienced the MS communications solution but was put off by the instability of it and, now that I've looked into purchasing it, the steep price as well. For more stability we often used an internal IRC channel, but most people would either not login or they'd just be put off by its complexity. In this new company, where close to no one is 'computer savvy', I am in need of an Instant Messaging solution that is easy to use, secure, limited to our network, and inexpensive. I'd like to stay away from the mainstream IM clients such as Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ and others. We're running Windows Server 2003 for Small Business (sorry) and will be soon upgrading out of the SBE to regular Windows Server 2003. Any helpful information will be greatly appreciated."

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Open Source (5, Informative)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529326)

Jabber [] along with Exodus [] works wonders. When I worked at a small/mid sized (200 employees) business I configured this across the board along via VPN. It was secure, fast, stable and as good as any IM client and server I've come across. I configure employees into groups in accordance with their office (e.g. NY, Miami, Mass, etc.). Workers were able to transfer files when necessary, vent gripes without worrying about snooping, etc.

Re:Open Source (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529345)

The other advantage of Jabber is that you can setup your server to be able to interact with other jabber servers on the Internet. So for example, can send a jabber message to, without having to log into the gtalk server (actually Google might be blocking this, but it would definitely work to

I wish I could get more of my friends over to Jabber. I can have the power of running my own server with the flexibility of being to talk to anyone on the Internet. Just like e-mail, but with instant messaging.

Re:Open Source (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529374)

Indeed. I had employees using their AIM, Yahoo accounts on Exodus as well. Well, those employees I trusted. There are a slew of other functions as well including group chats, broadcast messages (via plugins), etc. I stood away from clustering with any servers though since it was meant to be an internal messaging system. The configuration is easy and the only issue I came across was having to explain to the older employees how to accept files and send them. Yes it was as simple as reading the prompts, but hey! We all know how comp-phobes can get... It's definitely worth looking into though. Exodus was the client I chose because it was clean and simple... As for the server I chose Jabberd2 and had it running on Windows SMB 2003 before I tossed it the Windows version for the Linux version since I was doing LDAP, VPN's, and a slew of other things...

Re:Open Source (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529610)

Nope, Google works with the wider Jabber net. No group conversations though.

Jabber Inside + Outside Firewall (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530411)

My company was recently acquired, and our new Texan overlords use an annoying homebrew IM system :-)

But before that, we used a Jabber-based system that included one server inside the firewall and one server outside the firewall (probably in a DMZ), which meant that I could use the corporate IM system from work and also from home, on or off a VPN connection, which was amazingly convenient. It also meant that I could start up the IM client when I booted my laptop, and if I was at home, that meant that it could log in without waiting for me to start my VPN client. And it had all the Jabbery goodness I'd expect, though I didn't try using a bunch of different clients just for fun.

Re:Open Source (2, Interesting)

wordisms (624668) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529354)

I recommend giving the IRC servers you have now a try, but use Gaim [] to access them. It works very well and is very familiar to most users who use other IM clients at home.

Re:Open Source (2, Interesting)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529501)

While I also suggest using some sort of local jabber server with Gaim, it'd probably be a good idea to install some sort of encryption plugin, like Off The Record [] , to make sure no one's intercepting conversations from the inside of the network even.

SSL is enough (1)

XNormal (8617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530234)

An SSL connection to your jabber server is enough. No need for end-to-end encryption. If you don't trust your own internal server, what DO you trust?

Re:Open Source (4, Informative)

gi-tux (309771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529355)

Or pickup the software from JiveSoftware [] . They have a client and server. The server can even tie into you Active Directory Domain if I remember correctly. I used an earlier version of their server with both Exodus and Gaim (before they had their own client).

Jive rocks! (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529386)

I've used it and prefer it over Jabberd2 what I ended up using. :( My coworkers didn't understand that point and click web based administration (imagine that!). Jive definitely rocks. If the person asking this wants even more security along with VPN's (if he has them) he could set up proxies, etc.. Come to think of it, if he doesn't have VPN security, he may just want to use SASL or TLS. I know I wouldn't want to be sending propietary messages over the net without encryption.

Jabber indeed. (1)

Big Sean O (317186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529363)

You can set up your own Jabber server behind the firewall. You can take your pick of the various IM clients to use -- most of them implement Jabber.

When I was interested in such things (2002), I bought and read O'Reilly's Programming Jabber. No doubt it's dated by now, but it's my recollection that it was thorough and helpful.

Re:Jabber indeed. (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529385)

O'Reilly's book is visibly dated, and in any event I never found its style particularly enjoyable, but Sam's Jabber Developer's Handbook [] published a year later is still quite usable.

Re:Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529415)

I second the parent's choice. I had a jabber server (ejabberd) running for our small group of 5 people. The boss is so happy with it he wants it installed for the whole company (about 800 across several continents). Exodus, Psi, Gaim, Tkabber were all the clients we tested including LDAP integration, C2S and C2C encryption.

Re:Open Source (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529457)

Indeed, ejabberd is a fantastic server. It's the first one (and possibly still the only) to feature full XMPP compliance, and offers features that others don't. I run this one myself.

For your solution, look no further than Jabber.

Re:Open Source (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529852)

Another huge advantage of Jabber (on top of having several clients & servers, most IM functions of the concurrence and the ability to bridge to the global Jabber networks including GMail as well as to Hotmail and Yahoo servers) is that it's the only IM with ICQ that can still send messages offline...

Which allows you to get pretty much rid of e-mail for anything but the cases when e-mails are required.

Standards - Jabber or SIP/SIMPLE (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530418)

There are really two IM standards that matter - the better developed one is Jabber, and the emerging one is the SIP standard used for VOIP, which is a proxyable presence server that can support various media including text, VOIP, and video. Other than that, most of the choices tend to be proprietary, so you use clients like GAIM that tap into them. A number of the bigger IM services are moving from proprietary-only protocols to one of those two standards, and if you're doing VOIP anyway, it may make sense to have your VOIP presence server / directory system also support IM.

Well, you could use (2, Funny)

Who235 (959706) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529328)

Net Send and find a gui?

Re:Well, you could use (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529498)

"Net Send and find a gui?"

Heh. At a company I worked at a couple of years ago we had net send disabled becaues we kept getting ads through it.

Well, since I'm wasting space with this post, I'll ask a question: Did Microsoft finally fix that in XP, or did they just disable the service by default?

Re:Well, you could use (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530007)

Heh. At a company I worked at a couple of years ago we had net send disabled becaues we kept getting ads through it. Well, since I'm wasting space with this post, I'll ask a question: Did Microsoft finally fix that in XP, or did they just disable the service by default?

It's called "use a firewall".

Re:Well, you could use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529964)

You need a firewall, not MS to to fix that...

+5 funny? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530584)

That would be WinPop.

DBabble (1)

Doytch (950946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529331)

Have you heard of DBabble [] ?

IRC is too complex (-1, Troll)

Daxster (854610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529332)

All the later chat protocols have been more complex than the IRC protocol :P
Get them to install mIRC, and give each one an identical configuration script. Set it up to auto-join a server and channel(s) on startup, and then add mIRC to the windows Startup list.

IRC ... (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529343)

/slap boss

Re:IRC is too complex (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529396)

Troll?!? seems a bit unfair to me! Makes a valid point.

IRC++ (2, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529442)

Despite the trollish tone of the parent, the point is valid.

Possibilities, off the top of my head...

1) Different channels for different departments
2) An "all" channel where you can broadcast messages to everyone
3) Short, simple, impromptu meetings that can easily be logged
4) A variety of clients with varying degrees of friendliness, from mIRC to GAIM; or develop your own to fit the needs of your company

Jiveserver (5, Informative)

s0abas (792033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529335)

We use JiveServer (Wildfire) [] and the associated spark client.

It uses the jabber protocol and as such, can be used with a variety of IM clients.

Re:Jiveserver (3, Informative)

#undefined (150241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529410)

let me second jive software's wildfire jabber server. []

it's java so it runs anywhere. i'm currently running it as a service on a windows 2000 workstation.

the web admin interface is nice.

i'm running the old version (jive messenger) as the newer plugins and expanded database support haven't been reason enough to upgrade and i don't consider security a big enough issue on an intranet. don't let my downplaying of the new plugins discourage you, but instead it should speak highly of how well the basic server fulfills communication needs (instant messaging & chat rooms).

my only other suggestion would be to use psi [] as the client. it's cross-platform (windows, macosx, linux), coded with qt, so that should easy your it support if there's multiple platforms. of course spark is cross-platform too, being java, but i don't have any experience having found psi sufficient for ~4 years.

Re:Jiveserver (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530675)

I would also recommend Psi as the client. Besides all those goodies you mentioned (cross-platform, easy to support, free and open source, open standards) there is the big advantage of Psi being, along google talk, pioneering the jingle protocol.

For those who don't know, jingle is an extention to the XMPP protocol which delivers voice chat, which is nice.

Re:Jiveserver (1)

MTgeekMAN (700406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529437)

We also use the Wilefire [] server and spark.

I do have one problem with spark though, its fairly slow to load on our machines (I work as IT at a high school 400mhz - 800mhz is our average machine speeds...)

I just tried teh Exodus client from [] and i have to say im really likeing it just for the load times.

btw even here on my home machine spark seems slow :/ (athlon 64x2 3800+ 2gb ram ... )

Re:Jiveserver (3, Informative)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529445)

I would also recommend Wildfire (formerly Jive).

I set up a Wildfire server at Loyola University Chicago, and it was exceptionally easy and secure. Since we use LDAP authentication in our computer science, we were able to instantly have user accounts pre-loaded. For Windows users, Wildfire should integrate with active directory very easily.

I would also recommend using Spark or Gaim as a jabber client.

Of course, the Spark admin plug-in for Wildfire is a good addition, as it provides a localized download area for the Spark Client and it helps to keep users up to date with the client.

Re:Jiveserver (1)

uhoreg (583723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530069)

Wildfire won a ServerWatch product award [] in the Real-Time Communications category, ahead of MS Live Communications Server.

It may also be worth looking at ejabberd (which is what now uses).

The classic paradox. (0, Troll)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529336)

Work, money, time.. you need at least two. Either pay up for internal Windows Messenger, whose client is already on all your desktops, or develop your own simple IM server and client putting in your own sweat and blood.. or pay someone to develop a non-MS solution. You have to weigh the potential benefits of an IM solution. For most people, just keeping their email open and minimized is good enough. If they don't reply to you quickly enough, well that's not email's fault, they can ignore IM windows just as easily.

Re:The classic paradox. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529393)

Or, as others have suggested ... just grab a Jabber server and client and go.

Jabber ( [] ) is a mature, stable and cross-platform instant messaging tool. No need to roll your own.

Re:The classic paradox. (1)

RevDobbs (313888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529435)

I've got your MS solution right here: Using Windows Chat in Windows XP [] . May work for Win2k3, YMMV.

You're welcome.


Jabber (5, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529338)

I mean, honestly. []

Yes, you can get a server for a Windows platform, yes you can pay for it too if it helps.

The old-fashioned solution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529340)

I use this novel instant communication technique called talking.

See I get up, or just raise my voice (depending on the situation) and talk to the person I want to have an instant communication with. It is pretty easy to have one-to-many instant messages, too.

It is nice in that this instant messaging technique continues to work even if the server or network goes down.

One the down side, it only works for short distances, but you can get the phone plug-in for longer distances. But with the phone plug-in it is tough to see if the person you want to send an instant message to is "on-line".

The other downside is you can't change your avatar (aka buddy icon), and I don't like the way mine looks. Some people try to hack this sometimes (Halloween for example) but it rarely looks right. You can get your avatar professional altered but that cost a lot of money.

Re:The old-fashioned solution (2, Insightful)

carpeweb (949895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529472)

Not trying to be flamebait here, but I would have modded this up.

How big can the place be if the guy is the only internal IT person?

A shovel and a backhoe are both "technology" solutions. If you're digging a swimming pool, the backhoe is the better technology match. If you're planting two shrubs in your back yard, the shovel is the better technology match.

Why can't a cell phone work here? Does the "instant" message need to be in text and not voice? I'll grant that it might be too difficult to teach people to text message. If that's the case, I'm pretty sure a significant fraction of them will refuse to use IM and leave voice mail.

What's the magic of IM, as opposed to anything that will solve the underlying problem?

Re:The old-fashioned solution (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529539)


Re:The old-fashioned solution (1)

arkaino (972287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529683)

Why can't a cell phone work here? Does the "instant" message need to be in text and not voice? I'll grant that it might be too difficult to teach people to text message. If that's the case, I'm pretty sure a significant fraction of them will refuse to use IM and leave voice mail.
That may be due to "conversation richness". I think text conversations make people rethink before saying anything.

What's the magic of IM? (0, Redundant)

cmdean (325819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529801)


Sharing your request with eveyone in your segment.

Sharing your answers with everyone who may benefit.

Making a request of a shared pool of resources

Being able to get a choice of answers

Getting an immediate answer from whoever is both capable and available



Re:What's the magic of IM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529886)

Easier to log all communications for later reference and/or lawsuits.

Re:The old-fashioned solution (1)

solid_liq (720160) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529912)

Actually, it can be quite usefull even in a small company with only one IT person. I used to work for a company where I was one of several programmers, and there were a few electronics engineers there as well. We had multiple office rooms and offices, and we only had one IT person. We used IM for communicating on our designs. It's rather difficult to copy and paste lines of code, URLs, chip docs and schematics with speech! ;)

We might have had more IT people if the majority of our employees weren't so technically savvy, though. :P

logging (1)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530165)

actual conversations aren't logged and easily searchable. Also, you can't simply paste a chunk of code into an actual conversation, or transfer long URLs.

"hey bob, what's up? Oh, right, yeah, just go to Reply&threshold=1&commentsort=0&mode=nested&pid=15 529472 [] and you'll find what you need. See ya tomorrow. Yeah, 188393. Right. commentsort equals zero, you got it. Later."

Re:The old-fashioned solution (2, Funny)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529563)

Sure, it seems like a reliable solution. But it doesn't work when you need it the most, like when all the air has been sucked out of the office. What are you going to use then?

Re:The old-fashioned solution (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530022)

Sure, it seems like a reliable solution. But it doesn't work when you need it the most, like when all the air has been sucked out of the office.

Correction, sir. That's blown out. []

Re:The old-fashioned solution (1)

Ambidisastrous (964023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530365)

Yeah, I kind of agree, for a company that's small and decidedly not tech-savvy. My company made an attempt with Skype, with these results:

  • About half of the old codgers were cool with the VoIP side of it.
  • Less than 20% figured out the text-based chat mode. And these were engineers! One guy thought it had something to do with online dating.
  • Everyone still uses phones and the intercom system.

So, if you're willing to put some effort into training everyone on Jabber, go for it. Otherwise, just make sure everyone has a phone, and let the managers play with their BlackBerries if they have them. (Just my humble recommendation.)

We use that all the time at my office (3, Funny)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530659)

File transfers are a bit slow though. Also, outsiders tend to get confused when I stand up and say: "Hey Mike, here's that file you wanted. 10101011101011010100010101010011010101010110101010 01010010101010101010101010010101110101010101101010 10101100101101010100101101011101010101101101001010 10101010010001010100101001010010100101011010101010 10100101111101010101110101010010101000001010101000 00101010010101000101010000000000000001101111111111 11010101010000000110010101010100101010010101001010 10010101010010101010010101010010101011010101010101 010010101".

Warn me next time! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15530840)

Warn me next time, I can't see sick shit like that while at work! >: (

10101011101011010100010101010011010101010110101010 01010010101010101010101010010101110101010101101010 10101100101101010100101101011101010101101101001010 10101010010001010100101001010010100101011010101010 10100101111101010101110101010010101000001010101000 00101010010101000101010000000000000001101111111111 11010101010000000110010101010100101010010101001010 10010101010010101010010101010010101011010101010101 010010101".

Rendezvous? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529341)

However you spell it, isn't Rendezvous basically what you're looking for? I mean, that's the simplest way to do messages and file-sharing over a LAN, right? I think it's called Bonjour on a Mac. I've only used it once or twice, but it seems pretty simple.

Re:Rendezvous? (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529570)

Rendezvous is no more. It's called Bonjour now. Those are just Apple's fancy names for what everyone else calls "zeroconf".

Zeroconf has nothing to do with IM or file-sharing. It's a network service configuration protocol. Think LDAP-helper here.

Jabber (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529347)

Even if one assumes that "we have a windows server, so everything must be on Microsoft's platform no matter what", I'm pretty sure there are a few legally free servers available that run on windows, in addition to the reference implementation and a few others that could easily be run on a scavenged box running Linux.

XMPP is well documented, and it's easy to set up an "internal only" server for in-house use. You can also add more servers and link them together later if you end up needing to, for example, set up servers in widely separated offices.

Wildefire is the best (2, Informative)

penfern (760298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529348) []

The best jabber implementation that I have used is Wildfire by Jivesoftware. It was really really easy to install and setup (even with LDAP support), and our company has been using it for months and months. It's really great to have an internal IM server.

Telephone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529351)

Odds are your office already has them, and guess what everbody knows how to use them. K.I.S.S.

Re:Telephone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529433)

The good part about about IM is that you can set up your IM server to log everything and then be able to search it through a wweb interface. This is extremely valuable for finding those little bits of information dropped in a chat and never correctly documented.

It is extremely expensive to that with telephone calls.

ICQ Groupware (3, Informative)

bstrunk (535976) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529357)

ICQ offers a groupware product, designed to be used on internal networks only. Best of all, its freeware. roupware.htm []

Re:ICQ Groupware (2, Informative)

GuruBuckaroo (833982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529969)

The ICQ groupware beta - which is abandonware, and has been for years - is buggy, limited to 200 clients, and has absolutely no support. Go for something Jabber-based - I use jabberd2 and GAIM in our environment, but we're a mixed shop - FreeBSD/Samba (with OpenLDAP for the userbase), with Win2K/2K3 Servers where necessary. Jabberd works nicely in this, since it can use the LDAP database for authentication.

More of an adversarial company than a software co. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529359)

"I've experienced the MS communications solution but was put off by the instability of it..." [and] "... the steep price as well."

Sometimes it seems to me that Microsoft is more of an adversarial behavior company than a software company.

Today someone called from Microsoft, inviting people at my company to come to some kind of educational event. She had inaccurate information about my company, even though we have been selling Microsoft products for more than 20 years.

The previous caller from Microsoft thought we were in New York. I'm guessing Microsoft's customer relations management software is no better than the communications software.

Taxpayer Karma: If you contribute money to kill people, expect your own quality of life to diminish.

Bonjour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529378)

Probably not a lot of Mac-heads around here, but at work our office is all running iChat via Bonjour. The greatest thing is that there are never any contact lists to manage - everyone on the subnet simply show up on your contact list. Beautiful. Just start up iChat, plug in your display name, and away you go.

Beats registering for accounts and logging in.

RealPopUp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529394)

Its free and probably just what you need []

Wildfire and Psi (1)

plankers (27660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529401)

Wildfire and Psi.

Re:Wildfire and Psi (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530671)

Phear my psionic powers and pyrokinetic skillz!

Uh what? An IM client you say?

Good IM's. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529405)

Use Jabber, or Rendezvous if you're on a LAN.

LanChat (1)

BandwidthHog (257320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529408)

We used to use an app called LanChat at a previous office. Dead simple, does what the name says.

There is Waste too... (1)

wingfoot (769619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529465)

Waste may be an option: [] I haven't implamented it, but a while back I was looking at it to use for my dev team. It's opensource and I believe it was created by the NullSoft (Winamp) guys. I haven't looked at it in a while, so I don't know how stable it is but you could give it a try.

Re:There is Waste too... (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529879)

Last time I tried it it was quite stable, and you can't beat it security-wise. The interface kind-of sucks though

Re:There is Waste too... (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530490)

The interface is godawful, setup complexity is worse, and there is no centralized administration. This is hacker-friendly software, not suitable for average business users.

Re:There is Waste too... (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530632)

Setup complexity? Didn't notice it, found it as easy & straightforward as installing a Jabber server + jabber clients.

'...or they'd just be put off by its complexity.' (3, Funny)

Spamicles (731847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529474)

I'm frightened to live in a world where IRC is considered complex.

Have you tried Tonic? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529491)

Have you tried Tonic [] ?

We use it at work for instant messenging. It has a number of features similar to MSN/ICQ, etc but its LAN only and best of all its free!

We have about 60 users online and the performance is very good.
Their latest beta builds are improving nicely with features such as multichat so hopefully a new version will be released soon.

Two words (0, Redundant)

gcranston (901577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529510)

net send

as in: C:\> net send [user] [text]

or: C:\> net send [computer] [text]

It's more than enough for messages of the "Call me when you get a chance" variety. Anything more usually belongs in an email anyway.

On an unrelated note, this is handy if the professor's computer displaying the lecture on very large screen is also connected to the campus network and you want to put "Bob smells" up over his presentation.

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15530130)

If you replace the username with *, it sends it to all the computers on the network.

So one time I made a batch file in notepad that said "NET SEND *" followed by a quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Saved it in a random teacher's folder, about a month later she clicked on it (several times!). Hilarity, in-school suspension ensues.

Not for us. (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530183)

We disable the message service (because of broadcast messages), and we consider it extremely bad behavior in our shop to send people these sorts of messages. If you need to chat with someone, email them, use IM (if available), or just walk down the hall...

In short, "net send" is off limits in our office.

Uh. It's built in. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529513)

You've almost certainly got an instant messaging solution installed and fully functional on every one of your desktops right now. It uses less screen space than almost any 3rd party app and it supports single sign-on without configuration effort. Here's how to send someone a message using it:

[windows+r] net send {username} {message text} [enter]

P.S. The UNIX guys have a similar utility called "write" that's been on every UNIX-ish system I've ever used.

Re:Uh. It's built in. (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530718)

And how exactly are you going to use that in a business environment where the users are MBAs lesser business types?

"You need IM? Oh sir just open a command line and..." *plonk* fired.

Real Men(TM) (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529516)

Real Men(TM)use net send to get the message across. As an added bonus, most people won't take the time to reply.

Um secure? (-1, Troll)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529522)

If you want something blah blah blah and haven't defined secure well enough. Once you decide what you want, security becomes a near all-or-nothing endeavor. GAIM is what you want for secure and a heterogenous collection of messengers ppl are bound to come from. Why PSI and NET SEND are even being suggested, is pure moderation trolling.

Re:Um secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529998)

Sarcasm, no?

Psi supports encription (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15530406)

JFGI before you spout more shit. []

Campfire (1)

mindtriggerz (914619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529527)

I have to say that Campfire [] is really cool. Although it is hosted, and not exactly IM, it's easier to set up and more productive than Jabber or IRC.

Wildfire Info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15529533)

More info about the Open Source Wildfire server -- it recently beat out Microsoft's LCS to win the ServerWatch best Real Time Communications server award: 6 []

It runs great on Windows and can integrate with Active Directory for authentication and user data.

e-pop seems to fit (1)

maskwa (266045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529623)

We use it where I work. Dead simple to use. Works a treat over the entire country. I wish I had more to offer as a rewiew but I am a mere fork-and-spoon operator in sector 7-G.

More info at []

look at ejabberd (1)

mogrify (828588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529735)

I recently set up ejabberd [] and JWChat [] (AJAX-based web client) at my office. ejabberd authenticates against our Windows domain using LDAP, and using JWChat means there's no client to install. I tried a couple of other jabber servers, but ejabberd was the easiest to integrate with JWChat.

I haven't had much buy-in yet, but that's another story.

Jabberd (1)

Soong (7225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529772)

I set up jabberd in an afternoon. Adding the jabberd 1.4 chatroom server module to jabberd 2 was a little annoying, but now it's up and hasn't given any trouble. It even comes with a decent example /etc/init.d/ style script which works with fedora core and probably other systems with little modification.

Before IM came to the office... (0, Troll)

Slashdot Junky (265039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529800)

Before IM came to the office, people did actually use the phone and their feet. Both are still well suited. Implement both will cost nothing more assuming an existing phone system is in place. Another reader noted that phones don't show who's "online". My response to this is that even if the other party is "online", this doesn't mean they will respond to the IM sent.

My advice to you is keep it simple and more secure by not implement IM at all. Tell you user base to let their fingers and/feet do the walking. The exercise is good for people sitting for most of the day anyway.

-Slashdot Junkly

I'm going to go out on a limb here (2, Interesting)

gregw51 (152615) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529858)

and suggest a (gasp!) commercial solution. Not free, but supported: Sametime [] . Commercially supported by IBM/Lotus, fully secure, with a built-in web conferencing system, and works on your Windows 2003 server. Can be completely stand-alone, or you can have it authenticate to your company's LDAP directory. The nice thing is you buy only the number of clients you need, with no need to purchase server software. Clients are $47.59/user, and allows you to use the stand-alone Sametime Connect client (Windows, Mac or a Trillian Pro plugin), the browser-based chat client, or connect via your Blackberry if you're already using their Enterprise server 4.1 or later.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb here (1)

jabagi (83535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530142)

We are currently trying to disable MSN/Yahoo etc and make Sametime widely used in our company. v6 isn't that bad but v7 (which is about to be released) seems to be very good with connectors for AIM/Gtalk/Yahoo (and probably MSN). IBM is also trying hard to develop clients for Windows Mobile OSs. It also has very good web conferencing (whiteboard, app sharing, voice - video) options. I suggest that you give it a go.

Re:I'm going to go out on a limb here (1)

MishgoDog (909105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530349)

We use sametime at work, and I find it much more effective than msn/icq/yahoo etc. There are a couple of extended client versions available offering more functionality than the original (though this functionality is intended to be included in Sametime 7.5)
Notes Buddy [] and
IBM Community Tools (ICT) []

Quite a reliable system, I've found!

Score one for the Empire (1)

Deskpoet (215561) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529861)

I know you commented about the instability and cost of the "MS Communications solution"--by which I assume you mean the Communicator/Live Communications Server combo--but you may wish to look at it again. LCS 2005 is actually quite stable for an MS app.

Where I work, I recently switched from a Unix group to a Windows one--trying new things, learn new tricks, blah blah blah--and was given a project to establish federation using LCS. In researching LCS, I was actually pleasantly surprised at the SIP RFC compliance (Ok, there are some MS extensions, but at least they echo the SIMPLE working group), as well as the general functionality and stability of the application. If you're working in an MS shop, the presence capabilities of Communicator/LCS blend nicely with other MS apps, and if you're planning on passing support off to another organization, the management of LCS--whether doing federation, PIC, or remote access--*is* simple enough to do.

I agree the license cost is steep, but you may be able to get the accountants to buy off on LCS/Communicator for the security (TLS end-to-end) and the SOX compliance (logging, etc.) features alone.

Try this.... (-1, Troll)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15529941)

First, since we're all a bit introverted we need help communicating... tips+for+effective+communication&btnG=Search []

See that device on your desk with the coiled cable connecting a "handset" to a "base unit". There's numbers on it. Sometimes it makes a "ringing" sound?

It's called a phone. Pick it up, dial the persons number and talk to them. A simple film from 1927 will help []

Or to be even less introverted.

walk over to their desk and talk to them. how+to+talk+to+women&btnG=Search []

Or... if you insist...

On behalf of the entire /. community I would like to thank you for carrying on the tradition of "I can't use google, so I'll ask /."

Here... I'll even do it for you: open+source+instant+messaging+platform&btnG=Search []

Thank you for your continued support.

Don't use AIM (1)

DarkNemesis618 (908703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530015)

Jabber or IRC would both work. I would reccommend against AIM, MSN, & Yahoo simply for the fact of viruses. I'm knowledgeable enough to pick up those spoof IMs that contain links to viruses, but those less computer inclined may not realize that their buddy is really not sending them that IM. On a business network with nearly everyone using AIM, the virus could prove dangerous. Learning from experience, educating the users on this matter may prove useless. (At my job, we constantly tell people to make sure they leave their computer logged off and turned on when they leave so we can push out patches, updates, etc. You'd be suprised how few actually listen) So beating their brains with "be careful with IMs may not be successful either. Just a thought.

What are the dangers of IM? (2, Interesting)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530606)

What should one watch out for in IM clients like MSN? My daughter started using that, but I never have.

I warned her about fake links in emails and fake email senders, and showed her how easy it is to send a mail

  From: Saddam Hussein <>

(After which we played a while sending fake emails to her friends, seeming to come from other friends, teachers, etc. so for email, I think she and her friends got the message... Next exercise will be to spoof the school web site)

But having no experience with IM, I don't know against what to warn her, much less how to demonstrate it.

e/pop (1)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530184)

We use e/pop [] at the law firm where I work (I'm not in IT, my only exposure is to the client). It's about as basic as you can get, and even senior partners can operate it (we have a few that weren't even on email until 2-3 years ago). No other connection with the software, just use it and know that it's 'good enough' for us.

Jabber... (1)

pen (7191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530198)

Just chiming in to say, Jabber. I work at a large financial institution and that's what we use. It works great. I use Pandion for my client.

NetMeeting (1)

ikejam (821818) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530374)

Pretty rudimentary but it comes with windows....


Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530441)

What? You're not using an IBM VM mainframe where you work? :-P

Oh, the havoc we used to wreak with CTCP SMSG...

SILC (1)

jnieuwen (524859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530454)

We use SILC [] for communication.

AltMe (1)

SixArmedJesus (513025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15530685)

AltMe [] is a client that's a bit more than just IM written in a language called Rebol. From their website:

AltME provides an integrated environment for a range of communication activities including file sharing, alerts, calendars, contacts, user management, journalling, task tracking, shared document creation, and much more.

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