Open Source, Multi-Platform, Secure IM Client
I saw a question recently from somebody who was looking for a secure Instant Messaging client that was both open source and could be implemented across several platforms. While I haven’t had a whole lot of need for Instant Messaging and I have no idea why most people would need secure IM except for planning those Orlando vacations getaways where you leave the (presumeably grown) kids at home (or send them someplace else for their vacation), I’ve done a bit of reading and checked out some software.
The big winner that answers all of the stated requirements is to use a Jabber server and Pidgin clients with the OTR plugin.
Jabber is an open source IM server that’s been gaining in popularity in the last year or more, enough so that Jabber has been bought by Cisco. While that means that there’s no doubt all sorts of changes going on, including the fact that a casual look at Cisco’s site didn’t turn up an easy to find section about Jabber, there are plenty of open source implementations of the Jabber protocol.
Openfire (formerly know as Wildfire) is an Open Source freeware package that’s not only stable and reportedly easy to use, it’s also under active development which usually means it’s here to stay.
Pidgin is an IM client that has the ability to connect to accounts on a variety of servers such as AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, MySpaceIM and of course, XMPP (also known as Jabber). There is quite a number of plugins available for it to customise it for your needs.
Pidgin is also available in a Portable Apps version that can be installed on a flash drive.
One of these is the OTR pluggin. The OTR plugin, which is also available for several other IM clients including Miranda, KDE’s Kopete, mICQ, and several others.
Like I said earlier, I don’t have much, if any need for Secure IM these days but if I did then this is the solution that I’d use.
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