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ICQ 22%
AIM 22%
MSN 55%

Votes: 9

 Overview of Instant Messaging Applications

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jan 27, 2002
In this hectic world that we live in, there often comes a need to communicate with our colleagues in real-time, wherever they may be. Email sufficed as the medium for most of the 1990s, but is rapidly being overtaken by new advances in communication software - the instant messenger. This overview will thoroughly explain every rivaling product in a fair, balanced, and adequate way.


More diaries by Yoshi
AOL in Negotiations to Buy Red Hat
Major Linux Bug Discovered... 16 Months Later
My Chat With Tim Mathews
Who's Copying Whom?
Cisco's SecurityThreat
Sun's Ulterior Motives
This Has Gone Too Far

One of the very first instant messengers in the field was ICQ, created by an Israeli company named Mirabilis. The name itself is Jewish for "I Seek You," a cute little phrase that grabs your attention if you repeat it a couple of times. When you first download and install ICQ, you will be given your own "UID," a 12 digit identification number that Ariel Sharon's government uses to track website usage. You can then input data about yourself, such as your real name, birthday, nickname, and hacker website.

That's right; ICQ is used primarily by Russian hackers who exchange SMS messages (Seamless Message Send-through). SMS messages are a cryptographic "hash" of the hacker's "datagram packet", which is just techno-speak for "Linux DOSing programs." ICQ has also been criticized for its usage of "peer to peer" datagram technology that Mirabilis licensed from Novell. Mirabilis has been threatened with lawsuits several times from RIAA executives for their inclusion of peer to peer datagrams, but they manage to escape the heavy hand of the law, quartered away safely in Jerusalem.

Conclusion: While ICQ has many useful unique features, such as "birthday reminders," I would be hard pressed to recommend this item of Jewish surveillance to any of my friends, its obvious record industry patent infringement not withstanding.

AOL Instant Messenger

AOL's entrance into the instant messaging foray came with their introduction of AOL Instant Messenger. Built with the knowledge of the ICQ Network's shortcomings, AIM is based on a protocol backend codenamed OSCAR (Ostensible Short Courier and Router, which allows the messages to be sent directly to a username, rather than an IP token). This inclusion proves sufficiently more security than ICQ's usage of the "Peer to Peer" technology of questionable legality. Upon the installation of AOL Instant Messenger, you will be asked to enter your AOL username and password to log on to the network.

After logging on, the user is presented with a myriad of stock tickers, ads, and embedded CGIs. While this may prove useful to the power user, average users such as you and I find these features useless. Unfortunately, AOL felt necessary to include their own form of IP theft - "Aimster," they call it. Aimster is their proprietary music and movie trading service, piggybacking on their OSCAR routing technology. AOL was forced to spin-off their Aimster service to a third party when purchasing Time Warner Enterprises, Incorporated, which is merely a slap in the face to the side of goodwill, as they later went on to release GNUtella.

Conclusion: While AOL refrains from implementing peer-to-peer thieving technology into their service, their history of violating patents and copyrights forbid me from recommending this tripe to anyone. Avoid at all costs.

MSN Instant Messenger/Windows Messenger

Despite being a late entry into the market, Microsoft once again manages to prove their superiority and excellence in every field they enter. Having sat back and watched AOL and ICQ launch their products into the public mainstream, Microsoft knew what to expect, and built their application around their desires. MSN Messenger utilizes a datagram protocol similar to that of OSCAR to route messages to individual email addresses, called SMTP (Simple Message Transfer Protocol). Rather than relying on your AOL username or an Israeli social security number, MSN requires only your email address to function. This allows every user to have their own redundant nickname, such as (*)~KYLE~(*) or even ~*Richard M. Stallman*~.

With the advent of Windows XP, Microsoft packaged a new version of the software with the OS, renamed Windows Messenger. It now features voice chat, file transfer, whiteboard and application sharing, features that no other messenger software includes to this day. It also implements Microsoft's new .NET Alerts technology, allowing you to receive an alert when you get a new Hotmail message, a message when you have been outbid on eBay, and even news of the latest Linux root exploit. All of these features are unparalleled by any instant messaging client on the market to this day, and with none of the patent infringement.

Conclusion: Microsoft's offerings in the field of instant messengers once again reigns over the rest. Microsoft continues to show that innovation is the key to success in the markets they enter, and the sheer number of useful features they have implemented into MSN Messenger puts every other client to shame. If you ever happen to find anyone in the position of entering the instant messenger market, I urge you to point him or her in the direction that every patriotic American would choose. To do otherwise would be letting the terrorists win.


funny but.... (none / 0) (#1)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 07:37:48 PM PST
A few of the links don't go anywhere. Internet Explorer simply gives me the Page Not Found deal. The links are:

Microsoft is hardly a new comer. You forget NetMeeting.

Also could you provide some information or links regarding information about OSCAR beyond links to a children's book?

Anyone else have a question?

me, me, me! (none / 0) (#2)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 07:41:41 PM PST
Yes, I have a question.

What's the matter Yoshi? Slow day? This is not nearly as funny as your other attempts at journalism. I mean this is just horse shit.

obviously (none / 0) (#3)
by Yoshi on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 07:54:31 PM PST
What's the matter Yoshi? Slow day?

Of course it is. I spent hours looking for a good topic to cover. Not a single one was worthy. Hell, not even this nerd-o-rama article which mentions the 'pp' as a currency. You can't make that stuff up. So, rather than writing something topical, I ditched history to focus on something that would benefit everyone - an unbiased look at rivaling Instant Messengers.

only 3? (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 08:03:11 PM PST
I can think of a few you left out but I'll just mention this one.

Yahoo! Instant Messenger

Anyone else?

Yahoo!? (none / 0) (#5)
by Yoshi on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 08:18:28 PM PST
Yahoo!? Who uses that? I don't know about you, but I'm not going to tell all of my friends to switch to another messaging program just because it implements "IMVironments." Frankly, Yahoo! is merely a clone and will always be such. Additionally, until I see anyone who uses it for more than a chat frontend, I refuse to recognize it as a competitor in the field.

AFK (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by MessiahWWKD on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 11:53:50 PM PST
Yahoo! Messenger is terrible! It has all the problems of AOL Instant Messenger. Not only is MSN Messenger the most secure instant messenger, but it is also the most advanced, except for not having IMvironments, which, like Linux, are overrated.
Guardian angel, heavenly friend, walk with me 'til the journey's end.

Works for me. (none / 0) (#6)
by Yoshi on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 08:32:01 PM PST
A few of the links don't go anywhere. Internet Explorer simply gives me the Page Not Found deal.

Clear out your cache and delete your cookies and try again. They work for me.

Microsoft is hardly a new comer. You forget NetMeeting.

By that means, you could say that AOL has had AOL Chat longer than ICQ has been in existence. NetMeeting isn't an instant messenger.

Also could you provide some information or links regarding information about OSCAR beyond links to a children's book?

I'm not going to be your tour guide to illegal hacking. If you're implying that you want me to find you a resource about OSCAR's secret encryption datagrams so you can read other people's messages, you're dead wrong, buddy.

nope (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 09:02:19 PM PST
I mean like a definition site or tech encyclopedia which defines OSCAR. I have visited a couple.

Niether Webopedia nor TechWeb Encyclopedia have any information.

Maybe you can suggest a site or two.

IP Token Datagram Circuit Switching (none / 0) (#8)
by doofus on Sun Jan 27th, 2002 at 10:02:07 PM PST
-- CARNIVORE archive: yes --
-- Echelon encryption: enabled --
-- IP Token tracking: Off --

Yoshi, while I appreciate your numerous attempts at education and "righting the record" via-a-vis networking technologies and software development, I think you may need to consider a discussion of IP tokens and Ethernet Token Ring ATM packet switching.

There are a lot of folks here who obviously need some grounding in the fundamentals of internet archtitecture given the large numbers of "is not!" types of comments you receive to your enlightening articles.

Just a suggestion which you may, of course, accept or reject as you see fit.


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