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Instant messaging is becoming one of the most popular communication platforms on the Internet. It allows real-time messaging between individuals and groups of individuals.
Instant messaging is not brand new to the Internet, however. As early as the 1980s Internet Relay Chat (IRC) has been available on the Internet and provides a venue where users can conduct conversations on a predetermined channel. IRC does not provide the privacy that newer instant messaging (IM) platforms provide where you can talk to a single individual.
A number of IM platforms and client software packages are available for use on the Internet. There is AOL Instant Messenger, MSN (Microsoft) IM, ICQ, and Jabber. All these platforms function similarly. You use client software to determine whether a "buddy" is online and then you can chat with him using a text window. Some IM platforms now provide support for voice and video communication and provide the capability to transfer files between users.
NLD provides the Gaim Instant Messenger (preinstalled on your system), which is an open source IM client that can be used for AOL, MSN, ICQ, Jabber, Yahoo, and other IM accounts. To use Gaim you must have already signed up for an account on the platform you want to use. For example, if you are going to use Gaim for AOL Instant Messenger, you need to have an AOL IM account.
AOL IM: www.aim.com
ICQ IM: www.icq.com
MSN IM: www.msn.com
Yahoo IM: www.yahoo.com
Jabber IM: www.jabber.com (for open source software, www.jabber.org)
You need an IM account to use Gaim for instant messaging. Check out these websites to establish an account.
Jabber is both an open source and a proprietary IM platform. An open source server and open source clients can be used to configure a Jabber communication network either on a corporate network or on the Internet. Mention Jabber to your network administrator if you want to earn a few points. It has a lot of possibilities for inexpensive and secure real-time communication within a corporation. Check out http://www.jabber.org for more information.
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