Some people prefer the free XMPP protocol (Jabber) over proprietary solutions like Skype/Google for (text-) chat.
For using Jabber, you need two things:
- an account on one of the many Jabber-Servers. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, you can chat with people on every other server.
- an Jabber client. I recommend Pidgin.
How to install Pidgin:
Linux (Debian/Ubuntu): open a console, “sudo aptitude install pidgin pidgin-otr < enter >”, and you’re done installing.
- go to https://pidgin.im/download/, and choose the “offline installer”.
- it redirects to SourceForge, where after a few clicks you should have downloaded an ~30MB installer.
- Open the installer you’ve downloaded.
- A Windows warning should appear (Do you want to run this file?), Click “Run”.
- Agree to the Windows warning about “is this program allowed to make changes to your computer”
- The Installer starts,
- click forward,
- check accept the GPL,
- click forward
- click install
When you have installed Pidgin, start it.
- It ask if you want to create an account - click “add”
- as Protocol, choose “XMPP”
- as Username, choose what you want (without spaces or special characters).
- as Domain, choose a server, e.g. “swissjabber.org”. you can find others here.
- Resource: leave empty
- Password: Choose a password you haven’t used elsewhere (this is important for other services too ^^)
- At last, check the box at the bottom “Create this new account on the server”
You now have an account yourself, to add others (called “Buddies”) to chat with click in the menu on top “Buddys” → “Add Buddy”
- Add the username you wish to add - you can add me for testing, mine is “Michael.Maier@student.tugraz.at”
- The user gets a request for authorisation and has to accept (if he is offline, nothing will happen now)
- when he has accepted, you get a dialogue (in the bottom of the Pidgin window) too, click “authorize”.
Usernames are always like an email-address - except the part after the “@” is used for the Jabber server someone uses.
Repeat this for each account you wish to add.
To chat with someone, double-click his name, a new window opens.
- You write in the Lower Smaller Box, the chat log appears in the upper, bigger box.
That is the basic functionality.
It is advised to add your Jabber username on your introduction page in the “who is who”-board, as I did for myself.
If you want enhanced encryption, read on:
Some people prefer to use OTR (Off-The-Record)-Encryption - this is enabled by installing a plugin:
Linux: Should be already installed (that was aptitude install pidgin-otr…)
Windows: go to https://otr.cypherpunks.ca/#downloads
in the section “OTR plugin for Pidgin”, download the “Win32 installer for pidgin 2.x”
A Windows warning should appear (Do you want to run this file?), Click “Run”.
check accept the GPL,
uncheck the “show readme”, Finish
You have to restart Pidgin to load the plugin.
in the menu “Tools”, click on “plugins”
Scroll down, and check the “Off-The-Record-Messaging” Plugin
When you have a chat window open, you now have a new menu entry “OTR”. Here you can click “Start private conversation” to enable end-to-end encryption.