A maker of open-source instant messaging software for the Windows platform said this week that it will enhance its server software to incorporate the .NET Server and Linux platforms.
Tipic Inc. makes an instant messaging server that supports the TIMP XMPP/Jabber protocol, an open-source protocol for message exchange. Tipic is releasing a multi-platform version of its TIMP IM Server for Linux, said Marco Palombi, CEO at Tipic, which has offices in New York and Milan, Italy.
The company is developing its product with support from the Mono Project, which is a community initiative led by Ximian Inc., a Boston-based open-source software company. The Mono project wants to create Linux and Unix versions of the Microsoft .NET environment.
Using a Jabber client, a user can talk with a client that is using the ICQ/AIM protocol, Yahoo, MSN or IRC. Microsoft is moving to support the Internet Engineering Task Force's Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) in its upcoming real-time communications server technology, code-named Greenwich.
Greenwich won't ship until sometime after .NET Server 2003 becomes available in April 2003, so the technology probably won't make it into the marketplace until late 2003 or early 2004.
Instant messaging has its own protocol and transport, and interoperability between protocols has always been an issue for users. Microsoft's Greenwich technology will likely be a closed platform, and vendors such as Tipic are presenting an alternative to customers.
"[Tipic] is saying IM is more like Internet e-mail or Web browsing, and it should be open to everyone," said Dana Gardner, an analyst at Aberdeen Group in Boston.
Palombi that said Tipic's software will not just give customers IM access to individuals, but also real-time access to applications such as stock quotes and inventory control on a shop floor. If something changes within an application, the application can be configured to alert the end user, he said.
The TIMP server offers customers secure connections using the Secure Sockets Layer between the client and the server. It also integrates with Microsoft's Active Directory, so users can have the same Windows names and passwords, and with Microsoft's Exchange APIs, so users can have an alert on their mobile phone when they get an e-mail sent to their Exchange account.
Palombi said that the TIMP server costs about $6,000 per 1000 concurrent users. He claims that the software can be installed and ready to use in 10 minutes.