I’ve been saying this for almost 4 years now, but alas the topic has come up once again: I hate Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger Network (a.k.a the Microsoft Network, MSN) and so should you! I’m referring to the protocol, not the client. (The client is just as bad, but I can get by with alternative applications.)
To better explain why, I’m going to spare all the geeky talk for later and use analogies to get my point across first:
For the sake of argument, assume that you have a cell phone and you’re subscribed to Carrier A. You then wish to call, or send a message to, a friend who happens to be a subscriber of Carrier B. Naturally, you would expect your messages to get across, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to keep in touch and your provider would be severely restricting you to their network.
Similarly now, consider email communication: Let’s say that you have an email account provided by Google, and you wish to send a message to another person who is a Yahoo user —or any arbitrary email provider for that matter. You would expect messages to flow back and forth regardless of whatever server-techno-jumbo transactions occur in the middle, because that’s how things should work for everyone, right?
Well, this is not the case when it comes to Instant Messaging (IM) Services like MSN and Yahoo because they’re not standard. In order to communicate with other people, all members must be part of the same network, and this means that if the network goes down (and it does more than anyone’s liking), everybody goes down with it!
“Jabber is an open, secure technology for decentralized instant messaging and a whole lot more.”—Jabber.org
With Jabber, you can be your own IM provider, (much like having your own email provider) and talk to other users on different networks. Users on one network are essentially independent of other networks that their friends are using.
What does all this mean to you? If you’re still using MSN, Yahoo, AOL or any other closed, centralized or proprietary IM services (you probably have one of each since people are on different networks!), please consider switching to Jabber as your primary IM. Urge your friends, colleges, relatives, and everyone else you know to make a little effort and move to a this robust platform so that everyone can communicate freely without any of these restrictions.
You can click here to get started on Jabber.
Note: I’m aware that some people have already expressed their love for Windows Live Messenger, but the 2009 version is already expected to add Jabber support.