Because Jabber is an open protocol, it doesn't belong to anyone in particular, so there is no single company driving its destiny (although there are companies using Jabber). Jabber uses a decentralized approach, so the system is more robust. In fact, anyone can run a Jabber server if he wants to. This is a boon to companies that may want to run a private, secure instant messaging network.
Whether you choose to run Jabber, Yahoo!, MSN, or something else, the ideal instant messaging client is a multiprotocol client, one that lets you talk to all these services without having to run a client for Jabber, one for AOL, one for Yahoo!, one for . . . well, you get the idea. In this chapter, I'm going to cover two superb Linux instant messaging clients. One is a great multiprotocol client that handles all your favorite chat services. The second is a powerful IRC client.
What's IRC, you ask? IRC is Internet Relay Chat, and next to your telephone, it is possibly the greatest real-time communication system in the world. I'll tell you all about it shortly.