Jabber

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Jabber is a set of streaming XML protocols and technologies that enable any two entities on the Internet to exchange messages, presence, and other structured information in close to real time. The first Jabber application is an instant messaging (IM) network that offers functionality similar to legacy IM services such as AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo. However, Jabber is more than just IM, and Jabber technologies offer several key advantages:

  • Open -- the Jabber protocols are free, open, public, and easily understandable; in addition, multiple implementations exist for clients, servers, components, and code libraries.
  • Standard -- the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has formalized the core XML streaming protocols as an approved instant messaging and presence technology under the name of XMPP, and the XMPP specifications are moving forward rapidly within the IETF's standards process.
  • Proven -- the first Jabber technologies were developed by Jeremie Miller in 1998 and are now quite stable; hundreds of developers are working on Jabber technologies, there are tens of thousands of Jabber servers running on the Internet today, and millions of people use Jabber for IM.
  • Decentralized -- the architecture of the Jabber network is similar to email; as a result, anyone can run their own Jabber server, enabling individuals and organizations to take control of their IM *experience.
  • Secure -- any Jabber server may be isolated from the public Jabber network (e.g., on a company intranet), and robust security using SASL and TLS has been built into the core XMPP specifications.
  • Extensible -- using the power of XML namespaces, anyone can build custom functionality on top of the core protocols; to maintain interoperability, common extensions are managed by the Jabber Software Foundation.
  • Flexible -- Jabber applications beyond IM include network management, content syndication, collaboration tools, file sharing, gaming, and remote systems monitoring.
  • Diverse -- a wide range of companies and open-source projects use the Jabber protocols to build and deploy real-time applications and services; you will never get "locked in" when you use Jabber technologies.

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Also see: JabberRss

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Is there a way to import my [[ICQ]]/AIM/MSN/Yahoo "contact list" into Jabber?
	
Recent versions of the MSN and Yahoo! gateway will automatically import your contact list from the non-Jabber service
when you register with the appropriate gateway. Other gateways currently do not support auto-import.
However, you can use the Jabber roster utility for importing your contact list.

from: http://www.jabber.org/user/userfaq.php#id2780988

Jabber Roster Utility: tool helps with importing existing ICQ/AOL contact lists into your Jabber roster as well as mass adding/removal of contacts and roster migration (from one Jabber server to another).