Why can't we all just get along?

Why can't we all just get along?

Posted by Brad Wood
Sep 14, 2008 12:53:00 UTC
Can anyone tell me why there is no widely adopted protocol for instant Messaging software? Every web browser and web server use HTTP. Want to transfer files with your favorite FTP client? No problem, they all use the same protocol. What about sending and receiving E-mails? There's always POP3 and SMTP. Telnet and SSH are the same story. Sure, there's some different flavors, but most all clients are interchangeable. Why then, must I sign up for AIM, Yahoo, Skype, ICQ, and MSN just to keep in touch with everybody? Trillian sure helps, but I still have to have all those accounts. Why? Why can't we all just get along?



You forgot GTalk. :P I lost my ICQ password a long time ago and so haven't used ICQ in a while now... and just recently installed the GTalk client, but only because Josh Cyr doesn't use any other messengers.

Jake Munson

People have tried to fix this. Jabber is a good solution, but nobody uses it. Google tried to fix it too, but as long as AOL refuses to play nice with the others, it will always be like this. However, some say that microblogging will pass IM in importance soon. But that might continue to be owned by twitter...hope not. There is already an open microblogging platform that's gaining steam (http://laconi.ca/), hopefully it takes most of the eyeballs from twitter before too long...or we'll be in the same boat as IM.

Gary Fenton

I'm with you on that. The only solution is JBuddy, a library and API for CF so you can communicate regardless of the IM network, but you pay per network so it isn't cheap if you want to include AIM, YIM, MSN, etc.

At least on the client side we have Trillian which works with all networks.

Each network has its own strengths too. Skype is best for video quality and GTalk is best for audio quality. MSN has poor latency and network reliability even when just typing.

Adam Cameron

What you're describing is not a protocol issue, it's just that different providers offer different services. I have half a dozen email accounts provided by different service providers. All are SMTP/POP; however I still need a separate login for each of them. And this is entirely reasonable. The thing is there's an infrastructure behind the client-server connection I make, which transports my email to your mailbox, even if we're not within the same mail system. That latter bit is what's missing in the instant messaging realm.

Even if all the instant messaging services suddenly adopted a uniform protocol, you'd still need your login to use each of their services.

I suppose what the services really need is an intra-service gateway, so MSN Messenger users can reach Skype users, etc; that way one would only need a login for the one messaging service of choice, and one could communicate with people on different messaging services. Again, this is not a protocol issue, as it's immaterial what the protocol from client to server, and between servers is, provided the gateways translate it. I agree it would be easier if there was a common protocol.

-- Adam

Henry Ho

Is getting there, I think?



after a while it doesn't really matter because you end up using tools like Pidgin or Aidiium. my 4 accounts are now seen as one.

it does have issues (which Adam alluded to): incompatable services, usually by Microsoft (webcam, file transfer, etc)

another is that it keeps the sysadmins on their toes. they might have blocked MSN at work but there's three other services to try and knobble.

meh, my 2c

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