Jabbering Away With I.M.

Question: What is Jabber?

Answer: Jabber, a technology first developed in 1998, enables compatible software programs to exchange instant messages over the Internet. Unlike AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), MSN Messenger or other software products that don't let users poke around in the programming, Jabber's programming code is open source — which means that anyone can see inside the software and improve it.

Google Talk, an instant-message and audio chat service, is one system that uses Jabber for its instant messaging function. Although the Google Talk software is Windows-only, Macintosh and Linux users can tap into the system with other instant-messaging programs like iChat for Mac OS X or Psi for Linux. (Details for doing so are at www.google.com/talk/otherclients.html.)

The Jabber Software Foundation has links to other Jabber programs and networks for instant messaging, along with information on how to get started, at www.jabber.org.